Years of thoughtless dumping of wastes by man has resulted in the effects staring right in our face now. The world is currently facing a deadly garbage crisis, which is suffocating cities and undermining economies. And this includes both the developed and developing world. According to World Bank figures, approximately 1.3 billion tons of municipal waste is generated every year, and volumes are likely to increase to over 2.2 billion tons by 2025.
The global waste crisis is becoming bigger and bigger for us and the environment. Increasing urbanization and growing population that is demanding increased consumption of resources are the main reasons for this issue. The future seems grave as well. This is because public waste systems in cities cannot keep pace with urban expansion. Moreover, rapid industrialization is taking place in nations that have not yet developed the appropriate systems to manage the various types of wastes. Furthermore, the growing trade in waste brings with it several challenges such as complexity and cost.
One of the major environmental trash is plastic. Nearly 8 million tons of plastic trash ends up in our oceans, according to Plastic Oceans, a non-profit organization. According to a recent news, many countries are closing off their beaches to tourists. Thailand shut down Maya Bay. The Philippines also announced the temporary closure of Boracay. This is because authorities have been compelled to shut down beaches so that they can manage the mounting heaps of trash and plastic, some of which ends up being swept to the oceans. According to oceanographers, the issue is having an impact on the idyllic paradises as well as the ecosystem.
Another recent news is that the Mount Everest has turned into the world’s highest rubbish dump due to years of commercial mountaineering. So, man hasn’t spared the mountains as well. The wastes upsetting the well-trodden route to the summit of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak include fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and even human excrement. “It is disgusting, an eyesore,” said Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who has summited Everest 18 times. “The mountain is carrying tons of waste.” The issue has worsened with the number of mountain climbers soaring.
The melting glaciers brought upon by global warming are causing the dispersal of waste matter that has accumulated on the mountain since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first successful summit. Several efforts had been made to deal with the issue. 5 years ago, Nepal implemented a $4,000 rubbish deposit per team that would be refunded if every climber brought down at least 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of waste. According to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), in 2017, climbers in Nepal brought down about 25 tons of trash and 15 tons of human waste. This season even more quantities were carried down. However, that is just a small amount compared to the total amount of rubbish dumped every year.
Environmentalists are concerned that the garbage on Everest is also affecting water sources down in the valley. Pemba said that operators need to hire more high-altitude workers to make sure that all clients, their kit, and rubbish get up and down the mountain safely. They are now considering setting up a biogas plant near Everest base camp that would turn climber poo into a useful fertilizer.
As more studies and research are being carried out to understand the various effects that humans have on the environment, more people are realizing the fact that the safety and well-being of the environment and survival are intricately linked to each other.