Environmentalists today are working hard to make Planet Earth a zero waste planet. But will their hard work formalize into reality?
Will they ever be able to achieve their dream, especially when millions of people do not have any awareness on how to smartly manage their waste?
Zero waste living is a noble idea and one that requires everyone to participate. It means contributing nothing to landfill, reducing what we need, reusing things as much as we can, spend as little as possible to be recycled, and convert garbage into compost.
Zero waste lifestyle requires that we completely redefine the system. Today we live in a linear economy where we consume resources from the earth and then dump them all the waste into a giant hole in the ground. Going zero waste is about making the shift to a circular economy where we do away with the idea of trash by coming back to nature where there is no trash and everything is usable. In the circular economy, we do not discard resources, but we create a system where all the resources can be brought back fully into the system.
Producing less trash, eliminating demand for wasteful products, replacing plastics bags with reusable cloth bags, using less paper, recycling electronics and converting food waste and biodegradable materials into compost can help us in reducing our trash and carbon footprint on Planet Earth.
Lauren Singer, an environmental activist, blogger, and entrepreneur has switched to Zero Waste lifestyle in New York City. She has been on this journey since 2012. She documents her journey on Trash is for Tossers – a blog that shows how leading a Zero Waste lifestyle is simple, timely, fun, cost-effective, timely and entirely possible for every person.
“America needs the good old global warming to cope with the massive West Coast snowfalls.” This is one of the statement on climate change with a mixture of scepticism and indifference from the US President Donald Trump. This is part of the withdrawal from the climate agreement concluded at the COP21 in Paris and the concomitant interruption of contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund.
The Paris agreement included specific objectives such as reducing the global temperature below 2°C and limit the CO2 emissions, and more general results, based on an innovative, multilateral, responsible and transparent approach by the single nations and by the High Ambition Coalition. The ultimate goal is to cope with “one of the biggest current threats to the future of our planet” as defined by the UN Secretary General António Guterres. That means global warming.
The “Fossil fuels” option
The United States, the second world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is a key player in the climate change scene. The Obama administration cuts global emissions by 2.6% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016, on the other hand, the Trump administration has turned in the direction of a dramatic ending for the future of our planet.
The reasons given by the American president to explain the withdrawal from the Agreement are based on the negative economic implications for American citizens and businesses. However, recent studies made by the World Bank have shown that in the long-term the use of fossil fuels will lead to higher spending on health-care and therefore they will reduce labour productivity, which could instead increase with investments in the renewable energy sector.
The Trump Attitude also faces an internal opposition by States and Companies of the economically dynamic regions that have declared they want to continue with the commitments made in Paris and, where possible, also to go further. However, the Rust Belt States – crucial to the victory of Trump and where the President declared he wants to restore the coal and steel mines.
Positive signals on the world stage
The U.S. environmental policy also clashes with the policies of other states, from those of the Green Scandinavia as Sweden that intends to be the first country in the world without fossil fuels by 2020, to the small but significant changes that are taking place in the Middle East. Saudi Minister of Energy, Khaled Al-Faleh, has recently declared that Riyadh is trying to reform the energy system and aims to get 10% of electricity from renewables by 2023.
The positive signals that emerged on the world scene at the national level are reported in multilateral forums, and new incentives for them are proposed by international organizations. Historically, the United Nations have been a champion of environmental protection, from the Brundtland Report (1987), through the Agenda 21 on climate change (1992), and thanks to numerous international guidelines and agreements, proposing an indissoluble link between economic development and environment. This link is inspired by the concept of sustainable development, namely it is able to meet the needs of present generations, without compromising those of future generations.
The UN instruments recall the principles of soft law such as the environmental impact assessment, the polluter-pays principle, the precautionary principle, the procedural obligations as the urgent notification of global environmental issues and the principle of development sustainable. However, these policies are also accompanied by international agreements and, even if environmental standards are not yet provided under general international law, the national liability for environmental damage is governed by the same rules used for the international responsibility of unlawful act.
The role of OSCE and civil society
In this struggle to put the interests of the planet before any other national interest, the United Nations are not alone. In addition to numerous institutes and agencies dependent on U.N., we must highlight the role of numerous NGOs and the OSCE as a permanent diplomatic forum (Leads by Italy in 2018). Through the coordination of economic and environmental activities, the OSCE implements projects aimed at the safe management of climate and hazardous waste, promoting dialogue between participating States, energy efficiency and green growth.
As stated in November 2017 at Bonn’s COP23, states are taking the right path thanks to the joint and multilateral action. At the same time, a greater awareness at the level of civil society becomes necessary since important economic and geopolitical actors can not be left out.
According to that, subsidies, agricultural reforms, sanctions in the event of climate disasters and support for green innovation must be supported by a civic culture capable of environmental education inclusion. Recent studies made by Yale University demonstrates that the 40% of people in the world have never heard about climate change.
With the environmental education we can solve this gap and drive companies to become more resilient to climate problems, we can show the great economic possibilities of renewables to international investors and face local problems with global technologies and tailor-made solutions. A greater awareness of the problem is not only the key to overcome the huge effects of climate change, but also an opportunity to undermine the inertia that prevents states from moving towards a cleaner, fairer and more productive development. A development that support the life of our planet.
Among other things, car tyres, synthetic clothing and even tea bags contain microplastics.
The problem with any kind of plastic is that it eventually becomes tiny but never disappears completely. In the oceans even the largest and most stubborn pieces of plastic are broken down by the waves and sunlight until they are smaller than five millimetres in diameter – about the size of an ant. At that time, they are classified as’ secondary microplastics’. This type of plastic, which was once a drinking bottle, equipment for fishing, disposable cutlery and so on, is even more common than’ primary microplastics’, which were small from the outset, such as the micrograins contained in toothpaste.
Micrograins are the best known cause of contamination by small pieces of plastic. But that also means that there are other, less obvious sources for microplastics in everyday life. We call them ‘hidden microplastics’, and they fall within this category:
Car tyres are made of rubber and approximately 60% plastic (styrene-butadiene). The friction, pressure and heat caused by driving, the tyres wear out so hard that plastic dust is formed. Blowing that dust into the atmosphere can contribute to poor air quality. This is seen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a cause of premature death.
The dust can also flush to rivers and oceans via sewers. It will probably be eaten there by filtering animals such as mussels, which will end up in our food chain. The industry could go back to natural rubber rubber latex, but that would put too much pressure on the environment: growing rubber plantations are already a catastrophe for endangered species in South East Asia.
Outdoor sports equipment, leggings, fleeces and sweaters made of acrylic, polyester, polyamide, spandex or nylon release up to 700,000 microfibres per wash. And once they end up in the water, it is difficult to filter them out again. More still, research has shown that in many countries the tap water now contains microfibres.
In the USA, for example, 94% of the steel microfibres contained. They end up in the air because of friction or as dust from the dryer and can then be inhaled. It is also suspected that the lungs can absorb the toxins in the fibres. In nature, the microfibres are eaten by fish and other animals, which prefer them to’ real’ food. A solution can be to provide all washing machines with filters and to choose natural fibres.
The fluffy exterior is made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the same material that plastic milk bottles are made of. Just like car tires, the plastic is worn away by use, making it dusty.
Pods or tablets for dishwasher or washing machine
All kinds of detergents and abrasive disinfectants contain microplastics such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), the same granules banned in cosmetics in France and the United Kingdom. It would be better to use a natural material, such as ground coconut shells.
The filters are made from cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that is not biodegradable. They can emit microfibres and, when used, they also emit large quantities of toxins, including nicotine. Cigarette butts are a major polluter in the oceans and are most frequently collected when cleaning up beaches.
Glitter is a favourite part of craft lessons, but not innocent. It is made from PET or polyvinyl chloride film (PVC) and is very difficult to break down. Instead, you could use glitter of biodegradable film made from eucalyptus.
All these products are usually made from polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene – or from a mixture of these plastics and natural fibres. They cause so-called “fat mountains” that block sewers and are not broken down. They are also a source of plastic microfibres. A traditional flannel version made entirely of cotton is an environmentally friendly solution.
Many tea bags are not fully biodegradable because they include a polypropylene “skeleton”. This skeleton then breaks down into tiny particles when the paper is decomposed in the compost heap or soil. Ask the producer if your tea is free of plastic, or switch to loose tea.
Plastic dust from thermoplastic paint used for road markings, ships and houses is spread over the ocean surface. Fortunately not all paint contains plastic: go looking for paint with linseed oil or latex as a binding agent.
Paper cups are coated on the inside with a layer of polyethylene. Just like tea bags, the paper is completely broken down, but the plastic falls apart when the cup is thrown away or composted. Such mixed materials must therefore be treated by a specialised recycling company. You can also always bring a refillable bag.
According to the Plastic Soup Foundation, 311 million tonnes of new plastic are currently being produced each year. Approximately half is for single use and is thrown away immediately. Most plastics are not biodegradable. We neet to combat plastic pollution in the ocean becouse is growing at an appalling rate. Plastic production is expected to increase enormously in the coming years as the world population and economy continues to grow.
Watch this this documentary shot on more than 20 locations. Explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter and a team of international scientists reveal the causes and consequences of plastic pollution and share solutions.
This is quite unfortunate for us that around the globe, oceans are going through a tragedy of plastic pollution. The amount of plastic that is finding its way to our oceans and beaches is terrific. About 40% of the world’s oceans are affected by billions of pounds of plastic.
For the eradication of plastic pollution of our oceans two organizations; Volvo Ocean Race and Clean Seas have taken a step ahead. These organizations have united for the noble cause to dig the solution of plastic pollution. Their main motto is to make the waves plastic free.
What is Volvo Ocean Race?
We must first know that what is “Volvo Ocean Race” in actual. Volvo Ocean Race is a yacht race that takes place around the world. It was established in 1973. This race takes place after three years. The initiating sponsor of this race was British White-bread brewing company. That is why on a formal note it is also called “White-bread Round the World Race.” Currently, its name, i-e. Volvo Ocean Race is because of its owner, a Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo car. In this race, 7 teams are participating. It started from Alicante, Spain in October 2017 and will finish at The Hague, Netherlands in June 2018. It is considered to be one of the toughest sailing events in sports history. Hundreds of local students are taking part in this race. They have a focus on interactive education and empowering the next generation.
What are Clean Seas?
Clean Seas is a campaign which was launched at the earliest time of this year, i-e. January 2017. Clean Seas wants to enlighten the plastic pollution project. It wants to aware people around the globe that how plastic pollution is increasing on a daily basis. Torn and twisted pieces of plastic swirling in seas and oceans have been giving us alarming signals about the level of plastic pollution. Clean Seas wants the public and private sectors to help in improvising the plastic management and stick to the noble cause of getting rid of plastic pollution by redesigning, reusing, recycling and recovering plastic.
Hence, for the betterment of seas and to put an end to plastic pollution, Sweden has joined hands with this campaign. Clean seas, a global initiative by UN Environment aims to minimize and end the litter harming marine life. The head of the UN Environment Erik Solheim appreciated the generous gesture of Sweden. He welcomed the strong support and emphasized that this support will help them in carrying out concrete actions.
What is plastic pollution doing to marine life?
The marine habitats around the globe are rich in breathtakingly beautiful sights. The marine life offers undiscovered species as well as known lives with varying appearances and survival tactics. Unfortunately, the human carelessness is busy in increasing the ocean debris which is proving to be fatal for the underwater life. When plastic from terrestrial sources enters the water, it kills fish, seabirds and other marine mammals. According to surveys, around 250+ species are affected. So far the worst impact has been on turtle species (86%), followed by 44% of seabird species and 43% of other marine animals. Plastic pollution has been too cruel to these harmless species. Upon ingestion, suffocation, entanglement, drowning, and infections, marine species find it fatal to fight with plastic pollution. Oceanic currents transport the plastic objects, including the plastic bags, gloves, balls, wrappers, and ropes, etc. Migration of these objects marks the beginning of plastic pollution. Only humans are to be blamed for these fatalities. The good news is that several organizations are carrying out important work by providing solutions to get rid of plastic trash in the sea.
What these campaigns want us to do?
It is, from the beginning to the end, humans who are supposed to make a difference. Our simple acts which individually might not hold significance, but on a collective scale, they do a lot. Humans ruined the marine life with plastic pollution, and now we have to reverse the tragedy put our best efforts to remove the last piece of plastic from oceans. Authorities and governments must take initiation on a grand scale. One such effort includes a complete ban on usage of disposable plastics near the oceanic boundaries.
Clean Seas campaign joined by Volvo Ocean Race is taking strong concrete steps to make oceans plastic free. We all must show our moral and practical support to win this fight against plastic pollution,
Plastic Bank is one of the most popular programs that was first found in 2013 by David Katz & Shaun Frankson to give a solution to stop ocean plastic. Plastic Bank has a mission to stop Ocean Plastic by inviting many people to earn money by collecting some waste from the ocean to clean up the sea. Plastic Bank has a hope to get rid of plastic garbage from the ocean and save the sea species life from contamination.
As we know that our ocean today is no longer clean because of plastic bags which are floating on the sea and kill many sea species. Everybody must take responsibility to clean up the ocean from plastic garbage. In this case, Plastic Bank will try to facilitate the people to collect some garbage from the ocean and make some money from the waste.
Do you want to get some extra income while saving our environment too? Fortunately, you are able to join this Plastic Bank program and you can also invite others to do the same and earn some money from collecting some plastic waste. Nowadays, there are about one million people who support this program and you can even find this Plastic Bank solution on social media networks. This can be the best way to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and find the value in the waste found where you can send the plastic garbage to collectors.
Plastic Bank is not only helping the environment, but they also save the life of sea species so that they can regenerate and have a better ecosystem. Now, it is our turn to be aware of our ocean condition for a better environment. In addition, it is also will be very beneficial for the human health and it also gives a beauty value and makes our world look wonderful again. Plastic Bank will never stop this program until the ocean is clean totally and they also invite people for not littering and care about the environment more.
Vehicles are considered as the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emission. However, it shows different fact. Today, meat and dairy companies are known to emit more greenhouse gases than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Some oil companies like Shell and Exxon are not the only companies that we have to worry about, but meat and dairy companies also give a bad impact toward our environment.
Some meat and dairy companies in France and Germany argue that milk and meat are needed today regardless of the greenhouse effect they release. The facts show that the needs of milk and meat in both countries are more than enough. In fact, they can also produce milk and meat for export to other countries. Not only the greenhouse effect, these meat and dairy companies also have made the loss of some small-scale farmers.
We know that feeding this planet is also important, but saving our environment is also necessary. The government and politicians has to take lead in reducing the carbon emissions, they only needs to make a regulation and reduce the numbers of meat and dairy companies and then divert it to small-scale family farmers. Certainly, this can also help people financially.
A sustainable farming system based on local production, extensive grazing and ecological farms will only be truly sustainable if we drastically reduce meat and dairy consumption. Doing this the demand for meat and dairy will decreased.
Other solution is to stop consuming products from big meat and dairy companies, mostpeople have opted to start a vegan diet, but is something that corresponds to a personal decision of each one, according to its economic possibilities and its ideological premises. There is no biological criterion that can say that a diet is better than another if it is balanced alternatives, but it will definitely have a big positive impact on the environment and climate change.
In an effort to reduce the impact of Global Warming, regional leaders and mayors are required to take lead in reducing the carbon emissions and keeping global warming below 2 degrees. This is based on the Paring Climate Agreement that is signed by the National Government. There are also some alliances that join this meeting to talk about global warming and find the solution.
It is undeniable that the local people in the cities have a big role to meet the goals, there is a lot of tips to help you protect the environment. The regional leaders will only control and take some steps to handle this issue while the local people will help the local leaders reach the purposes. It is all because 70% of global greenhouse gases are coming from energy and transport. In addition, there are so many people who live in cities and it will increase by 2050.
Mayors in many cities from all around the world have a duty to introduce regulations and laws in order to fight global warming that cause’s climate change. In this case, Oslo becomes one of the world countries that are willing to take an action to find a solution to this global warming issue. Oslo has many cities and they are about to reduce the emission level-up to 1.3 billion tons of Carbon dioxide by 2030.
The people who live near the sea or beach will get the bad impact of global warming. Since the carbon emission gets increase every day, the air temperature will also increase and will make the ice in the north and South Pole melt. In this case, the sea level will be rising and it will get even worse by 2100 that increases the sea level up to 2 meters. Nowadays, there are some areas that already get the impact. For example, most of the people in Solomon Island who live by the sea already get an impact on rising sea level.
Finally, Global environmental issues must be solved immediately because it can give a bad impact toward our environment. Local governments, leaders, and mayors from all around the world have to take a quick action to solve this issue. In addition, the people in the cities also have a big role in helping the government to reach the goal.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is one of the most frequent causes of premature death in the world with seven million annually making it the main environmental risk of our time.
The planting of trees is not always a viable solution, especially now that the space within the cities is increasingly reduced due to the population that exists in the urban agglomerations.
For 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities so achieving a viable form both economically and in practice is vitally important. To meet this challenge, the company Green City Solutions created a project made by German designers who use moss to combat air pollution.
Moss fulfils the function of a natural filter thanks to its ability to capture and store all polluting particles in the air and to use them as nutrients for their growth. This particular moss, is cultivated in a specialized farm in the city of Dresden.
Benefits of installing a City Tree in your city
The City Tree has a square frame of metallic color of about 40 meters of height, inside there is a cultivation of moss leaves without trunk above a movable structure. Each of these synthetic trees is capable of consuming 250 grams of particulates in the air per day and will capture 240 metric tons of CO2 per year, just as 275 trees would.
This project is already being implemented in several metropolises around the globe such as: Modena, Oslo, Hong Kong, Glasgow, Brussels and several German cities, each with specific conditions for the way to combat pollution works.
Hopefully the governments of other countries take the initiative and awareness to implement this kind of projects to clean up the air of cities
According to the NGOPlastic Oceans the propagation of plastic products in the last 70 years has been surprising. We are now producing closely 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.
The initiative that aims to end with the ocean waste is called The Ocean Clean Up. They are like barriers (large) that prevent floating debris from following the natural course of global marine currents. Placed in strategic points, these barriers would capture a large part of the floating matter that passes through where there is one of these.
The Ocean Clean Up technology will be able to block and catch plastic trash on the sea meanwhile the pipe is also able to follow the wave stream in the form of U-shape. Once there some plastics caught by the floater, and then a vessel of the Ocean Clean Up will come and take the whole trash using a pump and belt.
After cleaning up the trash from the sea surface, it will save the sea species from danger. Meanwhile, the plastic garbage will be collected and then it will be recycled to be converted into high-quality products such as chairs, cell phone, car bumper, toys, sunglasses, and much more.
They currently have a prototype installed in the North Pacific. The operational design, however, is believed to be operational until the mid-2018.
In this modern era, there are so many electronic devices that have been manufactured and they now become garbage that can pollute the environment. Many people do not know what to do with their broken phones, computers, and televisions, so they just throw their unused electronic devices to landfill. Meanwhile, these unused electronic devices can actually be recycled so they do not pollute the environment. Fortunately, there is an important solution to solve this electronic garbage problem, especially for those who live in India. It is E-Waste Program that can help people in India solve their Electronic waste issues.
E-Waste is a program that aims to train waste pickers in India to be recognized as a formal waste picker to collect some electronic waste such as smartphones, TVs, computers, and others so that these products can be recycled. The waste pickers will use special waste boxes in green accent and then they look for electronic waste from home to home or through socialization. There are about 2000 garbage pickers who have been trained to deal with electronic garbage for the purpose of recycling and safe disposal. Certainly, this program is very beneficial for society and environment.
Benefits of E-waste Program
This program can help Indian citizens provide new jobs so they can meet their daily needs. This program was initiated by Chintan in collaboration with Delhi’s Pollution Control Committee to train waste pickers so they can improve their ability to collect garbage to keep the environment clean and uncontaminated. Another benefit is to collect e-waste for safe disposal because electronic garbage contributes bigger impact toward the environment pollution. This program is also part of going green program to protect the world from dangerous materials that may damage ecosystem and nature. Next, once the waste pickers collect some electronic garbage, then the garbage will be recycled to reuse again or it may be converted into high-quality products that are useful for all of the people.
This effort will reduce methane emission, reduce overall energy consumption, generate green jobs for waste pickers, and much more.
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