Global CommunityHumanity Adding Solutions
THE RAISING PROBLEM OF PLASTIC WASTE
While plastics are yet to be considered a significant disposal problem in much of the first world (largely because these materials are landfilled), organizations in the global south have demonstrated considerable concern in regards to the detrimental effects of plastic products, notably the terminal waste generated by their disposal. Direct disposal (littering or dumping) and incineration (burning) of these wastes is a common practice in the global south. Each is harmful to the health of people and the environment.
For example, dumping in rivers, streams and even urban drainage systems pollutes watercourses and causes flooding. When these waters are unsanitary, they carry disease into the household. The burning of plastics encourages airborne pollution, the majority of which is extremely toxic and can cause a host of health problems (cancer, asthma, etc.).
Although landfilling and recycling programs "vanish" the waste problem, each has considerably negative consequences: landfills leak and often contaminate the ground water with toxic liquids and residues. The recycling of plastic is often accomplished by exporting waste materials to Asian countries where recycling facilities are often likened to "sweatshops" where by laborers prepaid little for dangerous work. The increased push for unfettered trade and neo-liberal policy has scudded in intensifying these problems.
As the plastic industry grows there has been a correlating increase in toxic pollution (both to the environment and to humans) and corporate control over governing bodies intended to protect citizens and the environment from harm.
Why should we say No to plastic?
Theoretically, if plastic is used correctly and put for recycling it is ok to use. The problem is that plastic is not being recycled, with recent statistics showing that worldwide only 10% of plastic is recycled.
The remaining 90% is either ending up in landfills or is incinerated resulting in a waste of resources. In time, plastic starts to decompose forming smaller particles.
Recent studies show that these particles are ingested by plankton - the most basic element in the food chain. Once it is ingested by plankton, the plankton gets eaten by fish resulting in chemicals from the plastic being released in the fish.
Plastic can even be eaten by birds, even before it gets to the smaller organisms. This is especially true for birds that spend most of their time at sea looking for food. The bird then gives this plastic to its chicks. The chicks' stomach is filled with plastic so it thinks its stomach is full but it is not actually eating so it dies.
"The repercussions of plastic are not so simple as to say it only goes in one food chain. It spreads out all over."
How does plastic end up in the sea?
If plastic waste is placed in landfills there is nothing from stopping it from ending up in the sea. If it starts raining it will seep its way through the land ending up in the sea.
The same happens with plastic found in the street, after the first rainfall it will end up in the sea through drains. Furthermore, wind also carries plastic waste into the sea.
About 80% to 90% of the plastic found in the sea originates from land.
How does plastic effect humans?
Since fish eat plastic and humans eat fish certain chemicals propagating from plastic do end up in humans. These chemicals have also been found in other large organisms such a turtles and dolphins.
A study is currently ongoing to see if the plastic that ends up in humans is of a high enough percentage to cause harm. No conclusive studies have been carried out, yet it is known that these chemicals are carcinogenic.
Can we live without plastic?
No, at this moment in time it would not make sense but we can live without single-use plastic. It is very difficult to avoid plastic with everyday items as most items we buy are wrapped in plastic.
What is single-use plastics?
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and most food packaging.
Straws are one item which is used in abundance with America consuming about 50 to 100 million straws per day. With other items made of plastic which are not single use has a life span and it will be reused. We are generating a lot of waste which we can do without.
How plastics waste contribute to Energy Recovery?
While our nation’s recycling rate has shown year-over-year growth for decades, the unfortunate reality is that most of our nation’s used materials is buried in landfills, entombed for untold generations. This is an incredible waste of resources—that “garbage” we regularly place at the curb could provide a key to a more energy-efficient World.
That is one reason why Enzedshare community is championing efforts to recover the captured energy in plastics through waste-to-fuel technology, that create EN590 (Euro V) fuel. Our modular patented system can convert 5 tons of plastic waste into 4,000 litres of renewable Diesel fuel—per day.
Can our nation make the shift from viewing used plastics and other materials as waste… to mining them as a resource? Will these technologies help spur our nation to tap the energy potential of plastics and other wastes… instead of burying them in landfills?
Join us today at www.enzedshare.io
I am so Happy that I am part of San Pedro La Laguna Guatemala and I amazed how people react when I said I dont use plastic bags or.. Straws... it is really hard to do it but if a small town like San Pedro La laguna in Guatemala is doing it .. why here in the United States specially here in NY there are not laws like in San Pedro la Laguna .. we need laws to stop humanity to use those type of products... single use of plastic