Getting rid of garbage gyres - its not plastics but people's attitude

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Sunnuntai 11.3.2018 klo 11:52 - Mikko Nikinmaa

The waste in the seas and also in the terrestrial environment is without doubt a big problem. In this one has taken plastics as something that is the evil. Plastics are undoubtedly a problem, because they are highly stable and, being light, float and are thus easily seen. However, plastics are not the only stable pieces of trash. Similarly, all the metal-made products last almost to eternity. For plasticts to be an environmental problem, they need to reach the environment. If they did not, they would not be a part of the environmental problem.

Plastics are usually made of oil. We are still currently warming up a lot of houses with oil. If all the plastics were collected as part of the waste and burned to produce energy, no plastic waste would be generated and the need for oil would decrease. Is this done in most parts of the world? No, in the best case the plastic waste is a part of the waste ending up in waste dumps, where it is virtually eternal, and in the worst case barges filled with waste are tugged out to the open sea, where the waste is just dumped to the water. Out of sight out of mind. However, this being the case, it is actually wrong to blame a set of good products for generating a problem, when the problem is in our way of waste handling. Further, if the plastics were effectively collected, most of them could be recycled, obliviaing the need of producing new plastics to be thrown away.

Undoubtedly, there is much unnecessary use of plastic materials, and thus, plastic production can be radically diminished. However, there will always be a need for a light-weight, durable material for various appliances. And different plastics are just that, and they can be either recycled or disposed by burning so that no waste is generated. So the real problem is not the plastics, but our way of treating waste. The environment should not receive any permanent waste. People should stop throwing waste, but instead collect it all and either recycle or burn. In addition to plastics, another big permanent source of waste is metals. If they were not thrown in the environment bt recycled, the need for mining with all its environmental problems would markedly decrease.

Avainsanat: plastic pollution, waste treatment, garbage dumps

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