World continue to fight plastic waste but isn’t it too late?

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When in supermarket cashier offers a plastic bag, not many of us decline. Every minute two million plastic bags are being used, despite the fact many of us know what kind of damage for the environment they cause. The first use of plastic was at the beginning of the 20th century but today many of the products that were created back in the day is still there somewhere and they won’t be decomposing for hundreds of years. This kind of pollution is just a drop in the ocean of what humans leave every day. Mountains upon mountains of trash and waste are accumulated and there are one to none ways of stopping it.

Plastic is one of the biggest killer of our ecosystem. Today it seems to be everywhere and to avoid it is getting harder and harder. From disposable cups of coffee to bottles of water or plastic bags. Rapid use of plastic could be explained by it’s cheapness.  Production of it is way cheaper than recycling and every time oil prices are falling down, cost is production is getting even lower,according to Marketplace. This just highlights the problem we must deal with today: our planet is drowning in the sea of plastic waste. In the natural environment plastic decomposes in around 450-1000 years, for example simple plastic bottle decomposes in 450 years but plastic bag – in 1000 years. Often plastic is not the only problem. Electronic waste and home supplies, even kids’ toys and batteries decomposes in around 100 years – that is more than all of us will live. Cans of canned food or soft drinks decomposes in 50 years. From this point of view, more inventive would be to use glass. You could easily and rapidly recycle it but the downside is – if you leave any kind of glass waste in the open field – the chances are it will never decompose. In wastelands paper and food waste decompose the fastest – in around 6 months. Now everywhere in the world the amount of waste and what is being done about it is different. No less difference is in the points of view of those who are in charge.

USA

The US for many is the land of dream and success. Fast pace of life, capitalism and power of purchase – because of it everything could be easily bought and thrown off. This lifestyle is beginning to cause harm not only for the country but for planet as a whole. US leaves the biggest amount of waste – around 2kg per day for one person. More than a half of these waste are domestic nature but many are industrial too. Until 2018 the largest amount of waste from USA were collected by China. From 2020 China won’t take any foreign waste and decided on careful regulation. This cause big problem for US as it faces too many recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Country in which lives around 4% population produces around 30% of worlds’ wastes. Unable to cope with the huge amount of trash local officials started to burn it in some states. Recyclable paper, plastic – everything goes into the fire. This happens in many states, Washington included. This way not only whole recycling process is destroyed but air is also polluted. In the local market only a few materials are worthy of recycling. That would be metals, some type of plastic. The country does not have time tested system for recycling, so after China closes its’ doors the US have to find new ways to secure clean life without compromising environment requirements. With the European Union turning towards a complete abandonment of plastic, the US also expects its use to be significantly reduced by 2030. However, in a country where plastic is everywhere, it can be very difficult to accomplish. Now the US has to deal with the already existing mountains of rubbish:  recycling companies are being built, ecological ideas are being spread. More and more people are refusing plastic bottles and using reusable containers, calling for paper or material bags. These ideas are spreading among people with a large number of followers: bloggers share a variety of ideas on how to reduce the amount of waste left by human beings. Hopefully, it will work in the near future.

China

The capital of the country, Beijing, has been facing a tremendous amount of garbage for many years. As much as 40% of the waste from the house goes to dumps. In recent years, dumps grown rapidly and  has become difficult to maintain. It expanded so close to residential areas that people feel an unpleasant smell and health problems. By 2018, China was no longer able to cope with its own waste and passed a law restricting the entry of foreign waste. For many years, the state was like a “big world dump”, a large part of the waste came not only from neighboring countries, but also from the United States, adding 12% to the annual amount of waste. From 2020, China will no longer accept foreign waste and has now seriously started to fight the country’s waste problem. In the capital, residents are encouraged to sort and are receiving points that can be exchanged for household items, such as boxes for household items or toilet paper. Kids from China are being taught recycling too: for example, how to turn the leftovers of lunch into fertilizers. It is likely that, by abandoning foreign waste, China will develop a proven mechanism and system for managing and sorting waste.

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India

Anywhere where many people lives it is tend to be lots of garbage, it is the truth, impossible to avoid. India is a densely populated, huge country, but with a low level of development. From the capital, Delhi, to western Mumbai, Indian cities and villages are full of trash. Bhalswa is a dump near Delhi, the largest in India, and it is surprising that it is still not closed. Garbage has long exceeded the limit, but the government is not taking any actions. There are over 26 million Indians living in the capital, and each person on average emits less than 1 kg per day of garbage. Even though the number is very low given the large number of population and the unchanging government promises, India continues to be surrounded by waste.Rapid urbanization makes it more difficult to implement high-quality waste recycling. Over the year, India collects around 62 million tonnes of garbage, many of which are left in the wild, putting both the natural environment and human health at risk. In cities, for a fee, waste can be sorted by workers, but there is no such option in rural areas. The construction of recycling plants and equipment is increasing in the country, but many of them are still not fully operational.

Russia

For a long time, little attention has been paid to recycling and collection in Russia. The legacy of the Soviet Union – the huge dumps were started to be handled and transferred only by the opinion and proposal of the European Union experts. However, in recent years, major cities, especially the Moscow region, have been struggling with trash flows. Russia emits about 60 tonnes of rubbish per year. Billions of them are usually dumped in landfills, legal or not, and only less than 10% are burned or recycled. There are protests in the country against huge garbage dumps near the settlements. However, the habit of using sorting garbage bins is extremely difficult for many people.

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Countries in Africa

Although many African countries do not recycle garbage for purely economic and social reasons, Algeria and Botswana is among the most littering countries in the world. Here, many wastes just get back to the dumps. On average, 98 million tonnes of waste from 108 are left in landfills. There is also a big problem with electronic trash – old phones, computers, household items from the western world are often found in dumps in Africa, such as Ghana. Such waste does  contain toxic substances, emits toxins that are harmful to nature and people.  Millions of people working in waste management are forced to face harmful materials each and every day, often without protection. There are no recycling companies at all, but in recent years, at least the big cities in the states are taking initiatives, but not always the right ones. In 2016, Cairo was reported as one of the most polluted cities. Local people, who encouraged the authorities to deal with waste more efficiently, started feeding them to domestic animals, especially pigs. This, of course, did not become an effective way of solving the problem, and it was met with critical opinions especially from the Muslim community. But not all is that bad. In the future, African smart cities are planning to implement environmental reforms and ensure proper waste distribution by exploring the capacity of existing dumps and preparing plans for new ones.

Ocean

All the waters of the world are already polluted today. Water is not only contaminated with agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, plastic. It also destroys the natural flora and fauna of our water bodies and today it is one of the biggest problems. In the oceans you can find everything from small plastic bottles to car size lumps. The Pacific Ocean is the most polluted – especially in the area between the United States and Japan, which is called The great Pacific Garbage Patch. In 2018, the world’s first purification system was sent to this place. But there is no rest in the waters. There are still states that are getting rid of waste, namely by striking them in water, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. They contaminate water much more than the rest of the world put together. Plastic is damaging the wildlife of the ocean and can enter the human body through fish and seafood. It is difficult to stop such pollution and the only real way is simply to reduce the use of plastic: avoid plastic bottles, bags, straw.

According to the World Economic Forum report, nearly eight million tonnes of plastic are released into the oceans each year. This is equivalent to throwing the contents of garbage trucks into the ocean every minute. It is predicted that in 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

Over time, the plastic decomposes into smaller portions called microplastics and marina and poses a threat to animals in the water. The most common cases are eating or entangling in the plastic, all of which usually leads to terrible injuries or even death. It takes hundreds of years to completely decompose plastic products.

The use of disposable plastic in the European Union will be banned from 2021 onwards. Businesses will have to choose environmentally friendly plastic shifts. Each individual can contribute to the reduction of pollution. Replacing a plastic bag, buying a reusable water bottle is just the most commonly known way to live a less waste life. Today we can choose from both recycled clothes and eco friendly vehicles. Everyone can choose different and in personally acceptable ways to contribute to our Earth’s conservation.

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