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A Plastic Friendship: Dumping Commodified Trash
By admin June 25, 2018

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Source: Pixabay

Every year, the world generates a total of 1.3 billion tons of waste – a number that is expected to rise to 4 billion tons by 2100 as global consumption increases and waste is mismanaged.

A tenth of our waste is disposed of through incinerated and another four-fifths is dumped in landfills, while the remaining million tons are left to float into oceans and other ecosystems. Only 9 percent of all the plastic we ever generated is recycled.

Developing countries have long been the dumping sites for trash that is mostly accumulated in Developed nations. But in 2017, China announced that to deal with its own growing waste problem, it would no longer accept being the world’s largest buyer of junk. By 2030, this could leave 111-million tons of plastic that will need to be disposed of unless their production is significantly decreased.

Nations like India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Nigeria – where trash remains a commodity – will be forced to take more in, despite the burden this already bears on them. Landfills are located near extreme poverty where thousands make a living sorting through miles and stories of garbage, at the expense of health and sanitation. In addition, these overflowing dumps will have a greater risk of leakage and contamination of the environment. The needless accumulation of waste and our inability to adequately dispose of it has financial, environmental and social ramifications. Management strategies in landfills and recycling facilities must be assessed globally, but efforts to decrease the overall production and consumption of plastic and other types of waste should be seriously considered as a priority on the geopolitical agenda.

 

Further Reading

China Just Handed the World a 111-Million-Ton Trash Problem

Drowning in Garbage: Landfill photos from six cities that highlight the global waste problem

The world’s trash crisis, and why many Americans are oblivious

TIMELINE: Canada garbage shipped to the Philippines

 


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