Plastic Ain’t so Fantastic

Plastic Ain’t so Fantastic

It is now believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea. (1)

Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year.

This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth.  And the number is rising.

  • If you joined them end on end they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times.
  • 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found.
  • Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic.
  • A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate. An animal that dies from the bag will decompose and the bag will be released, another animal could harmlessly fall victim and once again eat the same bag.
  • The floods in Bangladesh in 1988 & 1998 were made more severe because plastic bags clogged drains. The government has now banned plastic bags.
  • In Ireland they introduced a 15c plastic bag tax and reduced their usage by 90% in one year. It is now 22 cents.
  • The #1 man made thing that sailors see in our ocean are plastic bags.
  • There are believed to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.
  • There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to current circulation. These gyres contain millions of pieces of plastic and our wildlife feed in these grounds.
  • It can take anything between 20-1000 years for a plastic bag to break up. I mean break up as they break up into smaller pieces. They don’t break down and those that do, break down into polymers and toxic chemicals.
  • It costs US$4,000 to recycle 1 tonne of plastic bags and you get a product that can be sold on the commodities market for US$32. We must stop them because recycling is not viable.
  • It takes just 4 family shopping trips to accumulate 60 shopping bags.
  • World wide, 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day.
  • Every year, 6.4 million tonnes are dumped into the ocean. This is the same as 3,200 kilometres of trucks each loaded with garbage.
  • At least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
  • Ocean acidification is a growing problem
  • Scientists have identified 200 areas declared as ‘dead zones’ where no life organisms can now grow.

In Australia

  • Australia alone uses 6.9 billion plastic bags a year of which 3.6 billion are plastic shopping bags.
  • If you tied 6.9 billion plastic bags together end on end they would travel around the world 42.5 times.
  • Australians dump 36,700 tonnes of plastic bags into our landfill every year. That equates to 4,000 bags a minute or 230,000 per hour
  • Only 10% of Australians take their plastic bags for recycling
  • It costs the Australian government in excess of $4 million to clean up plastic bag litter each year.
  • If each Australian family used 1 less plastic bag each week that would be 253 million bags less a year.
  • Less than 1% of plastic bags in Australia are reused.
  • If you imagine a piece of plastic 1m wide. As a conservative guestimate, a length of this plastic 40km long is produced each day and this is for one brand of toilet paper packaging. For bread you can triple the length (120km long)

Bottled Water Story

More than a billion people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Most countries that buy bottled water have the luxury of quality tap water, yet despite this:

  • Australians spend more than half a billion dollars a year on bottled water. Australia produced 582.9 million litres of bottled water in 2009-10
  • Producing and delivering a litre of bottled water can emit hundreds of times more greenhouse gases than a litre of tap water.
  • In many cases, a litre of bottled water is more expensive than a litre of petrol.
  • Australia recycles only 36% of PET plastic drink bottles. Assuming the 582.9 million litres of bottled water produced in 2009-10 is in litre bottles, according to these figures, 373 million of those bottles will end up as waste.
  • In South Australia , which has Container Deposit Legislation, the plastic bottle recycling rate is 74%. A 2007 national Newspoll commissioned by Clean Up Australia found that of those polled, 82% support a CDL scheme of 10c on bottles.
  • Australia ’s annual use of bottled water generates more than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the same amount that 13,000 cars generate over the course of a year.
  • Approximately 15,253.79 tonnes of PET was used in the packaging of bottled water in 2009-10.
  • The manufacture of every tonne of PET produces around 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). In Australia , bottling water has thus created more than 45.7 thousand tonnes of CO2 in 2009-10, excluding the significant amounts of CO2 produced in the transportation and refrigeration of bottled water.
  • Approximately 52.5 million litres of oil was used in 2009-10 to produce the PET used to package bottled water in Australia , excluding the energy used in transportation and refrigeration.
  • More energy is used to fill the bottles, move them by truck, train, ship, or air, refrigerate them and recover, recycle or discard the empty bottles. The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in the use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil. Therefore, more than 145.7 million litres of oil was used in the production, transportation, refrigeration and recycling/disposing of bottled water in Australia in 2009-10.

Prevention is better than a cure.

 
Sources
(1) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150109-oceans-plastic-sea-trash-science-marine-debris
(2) Clean Up Australia provided most of Australian Statistics.
(3) Plastic Pollution Coalition Website and articles provided a lot of the rest.

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Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Role of landfill pollution in global warming matrix

Role of landfill pollution in global warming matrix

August 28, 2017 

When issues of pollution are discussed, reported and presented, it’s normally the discourse of air pollution that supersedes that of landfills. Without undermining the role of air pollution in the global warming matrix, I’m convinced that landfills are equally demonic in nature, scope and content. So many people are engaged in pollution activities, consciously and unconsciously. Issues of pollution are experienced, day in and day out. Why nations tend to give prominence to air pollution without taking into account land pollution is still a mystery.

guest column: Peter Makwanya

Both air and land pollution are strange bad fellows and agents of destruction of high proportions. Landfills are sites designated for dumping rubbish, garbage and other sources of solid waste, while air pollution is a result of burning fossil fuels, bushes and garbage. Normally, when many people don’t see any smoke, to them there is no pollution. They need to see chunks of grey matter caressing the skies for them to actually ascertain the presence of pollution without taking into account activities of landfills comprising solid and liquid waste, garbage, market waste, obsolete electronic products and mine dust.

For quite some time, landfills were the most common means of disposing solid waste, especially in urban areas but currently, due to overpopulation of urban centres and the broken down of service delivery systems and poor governance by municipalities, mainly in the developing countries, landfills have become more of a sore-sight. When one looks at the large amounts of garbage and industrial waste (solid and liquid), deposited into human lifelines and sources of livelihoods like streams, rivers, dams and lakes, one would usually pose a question on whether the municipal correspondences or reporters are still available in developing countries.

Of course, one cannot deny the fact there is accelerating air-pollution as a result of burning bushes, like what is currently obtaining during this time of the year, complemented by fossil fuel mining, thermal power production and burning garbage. But the activities that take place on and under the ground due chemicals and industrial waste as well as decomposition of materials that release toxins, land pollution should not be ignored as well.

As many local authorities struggle with issues of bad governance, increased urbanisation, population growth, urban wetland farming and poor service deliveries, waste disposal systems are poorly managed, leading into the damage of the land, the environment and underground ecosystems balance. According to prevailing research, landfills emit about more than 10 toxic gases which include the dangerous methane, a greenhouse gas which contributes significantly to global warming. Also due to truancy and insolence in the mining industry, where gold-panners and other small-scale miners have been christened as artisanal miners in Zimbabwe, land degradation and dust pollution goes on unabated, especially in the advent of week arresting powers and environmental policies.

From the local perspective, before people can be articulate and be knowledgeable about climate change issues, it is significant that they become proficient on issues of pollution first. It is not helpful to bombard the local people and harass them with confusing climate change vocabulary before they cannot identify even the basic forms of pollution, whether land or air. The environment is the people’s immediate reality hence they need to know how best to manage basic issues of pollution within and around their contexts of situations. Also being conscious about the quality of water they drink and the cleanliness of the air they breathe are other critical considerations to take into account.

It is the environment which is with the confinements of the grassroots, as such, there are issues that they can easily identify with and relate so as to make sense of their worldviews. But the locals, who are indeed the custodians of the environment, are not given a chance to manoeuvre as they are always at the mercy scientific experts as omniscient narrators and politicians as architects of graft and confusion. When the locals see politicians hogging the limelight through grandstanding, they will simply withdraw into the background and as a result they will end up thinking that issues of managing and understanding pollution are not for them, as the common souls but for the elite.

Furthermore, the locals have been managing their environment, ever since, through appropriate implementation of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) without having to worry much about issues of atmospheric physics and GIS.

Carbon dioxide as greenhouse gas remains the widely known and the leading pollutant with high potential for causing global warming. Why pollution is very much prevalent in developing countries is because of the glaring development and technological gaps separating the developing countries from the developed countries. While in Europe it is the norm to cycle to work and travel in solar powered trains that are pollution free, in Africa it is a different thing altogether as they are so obsessed with driving, especially second hand cars that emit lots of carbon, with the potential of doubling pollution.

All in all, it is significant to re-orient each other on all forms of pollution so that people stay well informed and sustainably knowledgeable of these factors.

 Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on: petrovmoyt@gmail.com

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Diner In The Landfill Lets Patrons Pay for Lunch With Plastic Waste – Video

INDONESIA: The Methane Gas Canteen is an eatery like no other – it’s situated right in the middle of the Jatibarang Landfill in Semarang, Central Java, surrounded by mounds of putrefying waste, household rubbish, broken glass and plastic.

Every day, while men, women and children dig through mountains of trash collecting plastic and glass bottles to sell, husband and wife team Sarimin and Suyatmi are busy cooking.

Their customers? Cash-strapped scavengers who have the option to pay for their meals with plastic waste instead of money – part of the community’s novel solution to recycle the non-degradable plastic and reduce waste in the landfill.

Mr Sarimin, 56, weighs the amount of plastic each customer brings to the diner and calculates how much it is worth. This value is then deducted from the cost of the meal, or any surplus value refunded to the customer.

“I think we recycle 1 tonne of plastic waste a day, which is a lot. This way, the plastic waste doesn’t pile up, drift down the river and cause flooding.

“This doesn’t only benefit the scavengers, it benefits everyone,” said Mr Sarimin.

WATCH: How this works (2:08)

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Diner in the landfill lets patrons pay for lunch with plastic waste – Channel NewsAsia

‘Plastic soup’: Invisible pollutants from everyday objects contaminating oceans, study says

A trip to the seaside can provide beautiful vistas and a relaxing escape, but the seemingly pristine waters of the world’s oceans are hiding invisible pollution from everyday products including clothing and tires, according to a new study.

The research, released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Tuesday, examined the effect of primary microplastics on the world’s oceans.

Primary microplastics are plastics that enter bodies of water in the form of small particles, as opposed to larger plastic waste which is easily visible to the naked eye.

Read more

30 plastic bags, 1 dead whale: Shocking toll of vast ocean pollution laid bare

Sources of the invisible pollution include car tires, synthetic textiles, marine coatings, road markings, personal care products, plastic pellets and city dust, according to the study.

Although such pollution isn’t easily seen, the report states that between 15 and 31 percent of the estimated 9.5 million tons of plastic released into the oceans each year could be primary microplastics, making them a large contributor to the ‘plastic soup’ clogging oceans.

Almost two-thirds come from the washing of synthetic textiles and the abrasion of car tires while driving, according to the study.

The report noted that in developed countries which practice effective waste management, primary microplastics are a larger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste.

Tires were found to be the number one culprit of the pollution in the Americas, Europe and Central Asia, while synthetic textiles were the main source in Asia.

The situation is particularly worrisome in the Arctic, the biggest source of seafood for Europe and North America.

“It seems the microplastic is freezing into the sea ice, and since you actually lower the melting point of ice when you have small particles in it, you have a quicker disappearance of sea ice,” Karl Gustaf Lundin, who heads IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Program, told AFP.

He pointed out that when the ice melts, it releases plankton that attracts fish, allowing the plastic particles to “go straight into our food chain.”

Read more

10,000 metric tons of plastic debris enter Great Lakes every year – study

Lundin said that although few studies have been done on the impact of tiny plastic particles on human health, “we have to assume that there probably will be considerable impact” because they are small enough to move through human membranes.

IUCN director General Inger Andersen called the report a “real eye-opener, showing that plastic waste is not all there is to ocean plastics.”

She went on to note that daily activities “significantly contribute to the pollution choking our oceans,” stating that they have “potentially disastrous effects on the rich diversity of life within them, and on human health.”

Anderson said the report shows that humans must look beyond waste management in order to fully address ocean pollution, and called on private sector leadership to undertake the necessary research and development.

Marine project manager for IUCN’s Global Marine Program Joao de Sousa said the findings have “important implications for the global strategy to tackle ocean plastic pollution, which currently focuses on reducing plastic waste.”

He went on to state that solutions must include product and infrastructure design, along with consumer behavior.

“Synthetic clothes could be designed to shed fewer fibers, for example, and consumers can act by choosing natural fabrics over synthetic ones,” de Sousa said.

Lundin also stated that tire makers could revert to using mainly rubber, while textile manufacturers could stop using plastic coatings on clothes. He also suggested that washing machine makers could install filters to catch micro and nano plastic particles.

 

Turning Ocean Garbage Into Gold | Science | Smithsonian

Ocean Legacy has a task not even Sisyphean would envy: picking up, sorting and recycling the vast amount of plastic that ends up on our shores.

This article is from Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at hakaimagazine.com.

 

On a sunny afternoon in September, a barge roughly the size of a dump truck pulls into Delta, British Columbia, piled high with marine debris. Foam, plastic bottles, frayed rope—all of it hand-picked by dozens of volunteers from the western shores of Vancouver Island and stashed inside 200 giant white bags. “Too bad that ain’t gold,” a bystander remarks from the dock. “You just wait,” replies Chloé Dubois, standing on deck, “one day it will be.”

Dubois, the executive director of Ocean Legacy, one of a handful of organizations that took part in what was dubbed the largest marine debris cleanup in Canada over the summer of 2016, is startlingly passionate about plastic—something people throw away every single day. The month before the barge’s arrival, I joined Ocean Legacy’s cleanup of Mquqwin/Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park and saw Dubois work 12-hour days sorting foam, dragging giant necklaces of buoys across the scorching sand, and moving crinkly sacks so full of water bottles they dwarfed her meter-and-a-half height. She cleans with full knowledge that the beaches will be covered in plastic again in a few weeks’ time.

Read Full Article

In world’s poorest slums, landfills and polluted rivers become a child’s playground | PBS NewsHour

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in Yangon's suburbs in Myanmar in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in the suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar, in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Worldwide, more than 340,000 children under age 5 died from diarrheal diseases in 2013 due to a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. That’s 1,000 deaths a day, according to the UN’s statistics. What’s more, the No. 1 killer of children between the ages of one month to 5 years, pneumonia, can also be spread through a lack of hygiene.

Although much improvement has been made in the past decade to aid children across the globe, there are still alarming numbers who do not have access to clean water, proper sanitation or even just a way to clean their hands — especially after coming in contact with waste and feces.

“A gram of feces can contain ten million viruses,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Programme Division at UNICEF. “Many diseases are transmitted by pathogens going from feces to food and fingers and so on, making children ill.”

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the Sabarmati River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

One of the most basic hygiene problems that haunt developing communities is lack of adequate toilets. Around the world, about 2.5 billion people do not have proper toilets. Among them, 1 billion people defecate in the open — in fields, bushes and bodies of water — putting themselves and their community in danger of fecal-oral diseases, like hepatitis, cholera and dysentery.

Children are especially susceptible to these diseases when their home and “playgrounds” are overrun with rubbish and human waste. In countries throughout Asia, children can be seen swimming in polluted stagnant waters, digging through trash and playing amid toxic substances at landfills.

“When you have children running around barefeet, then coming in contact with excrete, it’s really easy to catch the worms and this of course impacts their development and growth,” said Dr. Aidan Cronin, Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program at UNICEF Indonesia.

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in a slum area of Bangladesh's capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in this slum area of Bangladesh’s capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Reuters photographers have been capturing scenes like this for the past decade. But even some of the oldest photos in this series picture grisly scenes that, sadly, are still the reality in urban slums today.

Not only do these conditions promote the spread of deadly childhood diseases, another major health problem that affects children’s lives is stunting, often caused by malnutrition but also by intestinal worms and internal inflammation from fecal-oral contamination.

Stunting has become a huge obstacle for many children’s physical and cognitive growth, ultimately affecting their development and ability to learn. In Indonesia alone, nearly 9 million children suffer from stunting, said Cronin.

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila December 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila, Dec. 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

In Indonesia, UNICEF have recently launched a campaign called “Tinju Tinja,” which means “punch the poo” in Indonesian, in support of the Government’s five-year plan to have a completely open defecation-free country. In an attempt to engage the urban youth, the campaign has one of the local rock stars, Melanie Subono, literally fighting the “poo monster” as the main image to spearhead the campaign.

“It all starts from acknowledging that [open defecation] is a serious problem,” Cronin said. “The more you engage with communities and work with them with their specific issues, the more sustainable sanitation is.”

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

One way to help children is through education and schools, said Dr. Jody Heymann, Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. A lot of progress has been made to make primary schools free and available for children around the world. In Indonesia, UNICEF works through primary schools to teach kids the importance of sanitation and hygiene by putting in clean toilets, hand washing stations and soap so that the kids can form a habit of cleaning.

“I think when we see [these] images, we should be asking not only ‘why isn’t there a playground? What’s leading them to the dump?’” said Heymann. “But the bigger question of what’s keeping them from being in school, gaining education that would give them lifelong opportunity.”

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

Sana, a five-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Sana, a 5-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai, India, in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu October 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, southwest China's Guizhou province September 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, in southwest China’s Guizhou province Sept. 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in Tondo, Manila in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in the Tondo section of Manila, in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri October 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri, Oct. 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi November 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi Nov. 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amidst a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amid a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage during Easter Sunday in Manila April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage in the Philippines’ capital city on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati river after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati River after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

In world’s poorest slums, landfills and polluted rivers become a child’s playground | PBS NewsHour.

Source: In world’s poorest slums, landfills and polluted rivers become a child’s playground | PBS NewsHour