High amounts of solid waste is mostly an urban phenomenon. Rural communities usually produce less waste because they produce smaller amounts of manufactured goods and have lower populations. Solid waste can be incredibly harmful to the environment in countless numbers of ways. Though some waste will eventually rot, some will not, which can cause the waste to smell and produce the explosive and harmful methane gas. It can also lead to contaminated water and diseases from hazardous pathogens, such as hydrogen sulphide. In the past, the idea of managing solid waste was not common, because of the little impact that humans had on the environment in the 18th century.
As time went on, and nations became more industrialized, populations grew and cities were soon overcrowded. When people discovered what solid waste was doing to the environment, the lack of management of waste became a large problem. As of now, the world generates 1.3 billion tons of waste each year, and the amount of globally produced solid waste is estimated to double by the year 2025. Since the amount of natural resources is depleting, the idea of managing waste is exceedingly common and worldwide actions are being taken in order to reduce waste globally.Nationally, China has made a series of attempts to reduce the amount of waste within its region, with some being effective and others failing to achieve its goals.
In 2008, China banned the use of thin plastic bags and plastic foam, but enforcement was not strict enough to stop people from manufacturing those goods. Subsequently, this prohibition was lifted later in 2013. In that same year, China also established strict restrictions on electronic waste, which brought a cleaner atmosphere. In early 2017, China placed another ban on 24 types of solid waste materials from being imported to China’s seaports and took effect in January of 2018. This ban included all plastic materials, as well as waste paper and recyclables. China believes that waste from different countries is hazardous and will increase the amount of pollution in south-east asian countries.There has also been several actions taken internationally, and the UN has done many things regarding waste management.
In 2016, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) met in Beijing, China, to discuss waste management disposal, and other problems regarding waste in the 11th International Conference on Waste Management and Technology. UNEP also made negotiations with 15 different countries to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which protects humans from toxic mercury emissions coming from waste. In 2012, UNEP met with several different governments from Africa and addressed the devastating e-waste problem in the countries of Africa. They formed a “Call To Action” initiative, which improved the problem by a large margin. It called many of the governments to develop national systems to improve the collection, recycling, and disposal of many types of e-waste. UNEP they also increased the number of governments addressing waste management by 50% in the last 5 years.
As the country with the highest population in the world, China is the largest generator of waste in the world, and its rate of waste of production is rapidly increasing day by day. For many years, the world has imported billions of tons of waste to China, in order to recycle it in China’s facilities. Governments in the U.
K have relied on China’s large production of recyclable materials as a way to recycle their own large productions of waste. China is home to some of the world’s largest landfills in cities such as Shanghai and Tianjin, but many of them are predicted to reach their full capacity by 2020. Also, most landfills cannot stop harmful chemicals from seeping through the ground, contaminating groundwater. Incinerating waste, however, causes another set of problems. When waste is incinerated, it is burned at high temperatures until it is converted into residues and gas. Burnt plastics generate harmful substances such as dioxins, and other gases, which cause pollution and acid rain.
Fumes from incinerators also contribute to the pollution of China’s big cities. Because of this, the Chinese government would prefer to incinerate waste in clean and safe ways, but the process would require high amounts of means. Consequently, big cities like Beijing and Shanghai burn it cheaply, in order to save money. China believes that there are many measures that can be taken by governments around the world to reduce amounts of solid waste.
First, creating laws that require waste-managing companies to better sort out recyclables and non-recyclable items would let more items thrown away to be recycled. Also, using more tax dollars to fund the clean incineration of waste would allow waste to be taken care of, without harming the environment with toxic gases and substances. In addition, programs that require citizens to pay for their garbage is a proven way to decrease the amount of waste thrown away, and increase the rate of items being recycled. Most importantly, educating students about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling will help raise awareness about waste management.
Though the amount of waste in the world is rapidly increasing each day, a solution will appear with enough time and effort.