Oct 072017
Startling Facts About Ocean Pollution You Need to Know Right Now One of the major environmental issues that we get to hear about today is about ocean pollution, and how it is taking its toll on marine life. This problem is no more a thing of tomorrow. The denial mode might seem comforting, but the fact is, we are already at the receiving end. According to the data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), approximately 1.4 billion lbs of trash is dumped in the oceans every year. On an average, 8 million items of marine litter are disposed in oceans every single year; approximately 5 million of which are either thrown off board or lost during a storm. It is estimated that 70 percent of the total marine litter is deposited at the seabed; the remaining 30 percent either keeps floating in the ocean or is washed ashore (beach trash). Interestingly, pollution caused by marine transportation only accounts for 10 percent of the total ocean pollution; even that is down from 12 percent in 1990. As a part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup campaign, 598,000 volunteers collected over 9 million lbs of trash from various sites across the world in 2011. In oceanography, 'ocean pollution' is described as pollution of ocean water due to accidental, or deliberate dumping of harmful materials, such as crude oil, ore, or toxic materials, in it. Around 2 million plastic bottles are used in the United States every 5 minutes. Marine debris include a wide range of items – right from cigarette butts and plastic bottles to abandoned fishing nets and oil spilled by vessels plying in these oceans. Marine animals either ingest these debris by mistake or get entangled in them, and end up dying in most of the cases. Shorebirds and other terrestrial species are directly or indirectly dependent on the marine biome, and therefore, are vulnerable to ocean pollution. In their annual Beach Sweep report, the 'Clean Ocean Action' comes up with a list of unusual items found in beach trash — which they call the Roster of Ridiculous. In 2011, this list had some really unusual things, including car bumpers, hair curlers, wax teeth, fire extinguisher, and even a water cooler. Approximately 80 percent of the total ocean pollution is attributed to land-based activities, i.e., non-point sources, like untreated sewage, industrial waste, agricultural runoff, surface runoff, etc. (more…)
Aug 232017
A Tsunami Hits the Recycling World, and We’ll All Feel it Soon  August 22nd, 2017  David Baggs Whether you felt it or not, the earth shaking actions that unfolded recently will ultimately have an impact on every one of us. Late last month, China notified the World Trade Organization that by the end of 2017 it will ban imports of 24 types of rubbish as part of a campaign against "foreign garbage" and environmental pollution. Anyone who cares for the planet or is a ratepayer or who relies on kerbside recycling or a reliable supply of commonly recycled plastics for manufacturing will likely sooner or later be affected by the additional costs and environmental burdens that this recent decision by China will create in the short to medium term while the developed world waste processing and manufacturing industries change gears and re-establishes recyclate reprocessing for use in their products. The decision creates massive  policy and physical challenges for all levels of government and industry. The official announcement to the WTO foreshadowed that China will forbid the import of four classes and 24 kinds of solid wastes, including plastics waste from living sources, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper and waste textile materials. The major China HS categories being banned include the following types of materials: Scrap or waste plastic Waste of wool or of fine or coarse animal hair, including yarn waste but excluding garnetted stock (garnetted textiles are typically waste materials that have been reduces to a fibrous state for reuse in textile manufacturing) Garnetted stock of wool or of fine or coarse animal hair Cotton waste (including yarn waste and garnetted stock) Waste (including noils (short fibres), yarn waste and garnetted stock) of man-made fibres Used or new rags, scrap twine, cordage, rope and cables and worn out articles of twine, cordage, rope or cables, of textile materials Slag, dross (other than granulated slag), scalings and other waste from the manufacture of iron or steel Ash and residues (other than from the manufacture of iron or steel), containing arsenic, metals or their compounds ‘Other’, including unsorted waste and scrap. The five types of waste plastics that China is banning have China HS individual codes as shown as below: 3915100000 – Ethylene polymer scrap and waste 3915200000 – Styrene polymer scrap and waste 3915300000 – Vinyl chloride polymer scrap and waste 3915901000 – Polyethylene terephthalate 3915909000 – Other related waste (more…)
Apr 032017
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)   </p> </p></div> <p> The couple were profiled in a recent episode of Indonesia’s Game Changers, a series about inspiring individuals whose creativity and perseverance wrought changes around them. (Link: <a data-cke-saved-href="http://video.toggle.sg/en/series/indonesia-s-game-changers/ep3/483743" href="http://video.toggle.sg/en/series/indonesia-s-game-changers/ep3/483743">Watch the full episode here</a>) </p> <p> The diner, which seats about 30 people, serves dishes like mangut rice with catfish and rice with boiled egg for between US$0.40 and US$0.80 each. </p> <p> Opened in January 2016, the diner was the brainchild of Mr Agus Junaedi, the former head of Jatibarang Landfill. He was tasked in 2014 by Semarang’s mayor Hendrar Prihadi to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the landfill. Some 800 tonnes of waste end up in this landfill every day, and 40 per cent of it is plastic waste. </p> <p> Mr Agus said that price of plastic was drastically devalued at that time, at around US$0.04 per kg. “Naturally, no one wanted to collect plastic waste. So, we thought, why don’t we get the scavengers to pay for their meal with plastic waste” he said. </p> <p> <img alt="" data-cke-saved-src="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/blob/3645178/1491092442000/igc-landfill-4-data.jpg" src="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/blob/3645178/1491092442000/igc-landfill-4-data.jpg"/> </p> <p> <strong>FREE METHANE GAS FROM TRASH</strong> </p> <p> Mr Sarimin said he and his wife have doubled their daily income by opening the diner, compared to just scavenging alone. (more…)