Eco theme - Wastes

In nature the waste originating from one organism represents food for the other one or a king of resource. Macro-organisms and worms transfer the leaves and dead animals into humus which in its turn is food for vegetation (plants).
The formation of these cycles in our environment needed some million years, while the life type of a man today destroys very fast this natural balance created excess quantity and increasing quantity of wastes.
"Waste is a by-product of a man's activity and is defined as any substance which is got rid off by the owner, intends to get rid it off or shall get rid off".
There are the following types of wastes:

According to the source

Medical and so on
According to the fractions:Paper, transport means, metals, plastic, tires, accumulators and so on.
According to the properties:
• Inert
• Hazardous
• Solid
• Liquid
According to the general definition hazardous are the wastes which potentially are creating threat and put under the risk the health of people and environmental safety and are characterized by the following properties: inflammable, reactive, poisonous, erosive, infectious and eco-toxic.
There are seven main categories of the risk-full wastes, these are:
• infectious wastes: blood and blood products; things contaminated by blood, serum and plasma; things contaminated in the diagnostic and research laboratories; secretions of persons ill with severe infectious diseases, including their food wastes; vaccines; contaminated wastes of a man, bed-clothes and other materials.
• Anatomical wastes : parts of human body, organs, tissues, embryos and other similar surgical wastes, materials of biopsies and autopsies, animals skeletons contaminated by human pathogens, organs and tissues.
• Sharp things: surgical instruments, syringes and needles; sharp instruments: scissors, shaving devices, blood transfusion systems, contaminated glass debris, test-tube with blood and other similar materials.
• Chemical wastes: solid, liquid and/or fluid chemicals: solutions, re-agents, film developing substances, ethyl oxide and other chemicals which may have toxic, corrosion, inflammable, fluid or carcinogenic properties.
• Pharmaceutical wastes: all types of expired treatment means, all types of substance wastes that have been used in chemical-therapy, which may be gonad toxic, mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic.
• Radio-active wastes: all types of wastes, which is contaminated by any radio-active isotope
• Containers (tanks) under the pressure: tanks containing the fluids under the pressure or tanks containing aerosols.

The modern ideology and concept of this field

is presented with three "r"s:

- Reduction – decrease the quantity of the accumulating wastes, wastes minimization;
- Reuse – reuse those components which have preserved
their properties for use;
- Recycling – after the processing of the components their return into production cycle
The concept of minimization and recycling plays particular role not in the field of medical wastes, but also in solid municipal household wastes management field in general and facilitates to the saving the resources and their keeping as well as to the reduction of the areas where the wastes are kept, protection of environmental units and activating the management of control technologies. In addition, such an activity might be beneficial as well. for example, well developed Hon-Kong with the population of 6 million people, in 1993 without any extra costs recycled and exported 1, 3 mil ton of municipal wastes from which the net financial benefit of the country constituted 2, 2 billion UD dollars.

Why is the use of polyethylene (plastic) bags a problem?

Some facts about the use

- The active production of polyethylene bags started in 70s of the last century;
- Every day in the world is produced 4-5 trillion polyethylene bags;
- In China every day is used 3 billion of polyethylene bags (2008);
- In Georgia presumably 20 million.

Why do plastic bags create a problem?

- Because it is not bio-degradable (1000 years need that they were degraded)
- It is produced from polyethylene which in its turn if produced from oil-product;
- Its re-cycling is difficult (there is recycled on 1% of it)
- For the production of 100 million bags it is necessary to use 430,000 gallons of oil (1627 t)
- During its production the exhaust pollutes the atmospheric air;
- During degrading (if it is taking place) it is contaminating the soil and underground waters with toxic substances and reaches the food chain;

What is the specific damage of the environment?

- It is easily transferred by the wind into forests, seas, oceans, rivers and lakes. About 1 billion of sea fouls and mammals are killed annually because they have swallowed the plastic bags;

How are plastic bags in the world fought?

- Since 2001 in Ireland the plastic bags are taxed by 15%;

Result: its use decreased from 1.2 billion to 100 million. Relevantly 18 million liter of oil was preserved.

- In one of the biggest supermarkets of Canada the price of the plastic bags is 5 cents
- From June 1, 2008 in China the production of thin plastic bags was prohibited and their use in supermarkets;
- In San-Francisco the use of disposable plastic bags was announced illegal in big supermarkets and pharmacies. Supermarkets were appealed to use easily degradable (one month) bags;
- There are arranged awareness raising campaigns aimed at the change of the behavior of society;
- It is propagated to reuse and decrease the wastes or recycle them and compost in order to reduce wastes in general which finally shall be put in the plastic bags all the same.

In different countries for the achievement of positive attitude of the society towards the wastes management various methods are used.

- In Barcelona the process of collection of the wastes separately looks like an interesting play in which people of different ages are actively involved, including the children. For each component of wastes is allocated a sack of different colors, which after becoming full are brought to the destined place. After the completion this process the children are awarded with different sweets, while elder people receive thanks and gratitude from the local authorities.
- In Switzerland there are 37 enterprises for burning the wastes, which provide cities with electricity and hot water. Each of these enterprises gives 10% of electricity for a city with 150 thousand populations and completely ensures this amount of population with hot water.
- In Zanzibar with the aim of defending the interests of environment and tourists, production and import of plastic bags was prohibited despite the fact that the country monthly loses 400 thousand US dollars of income.
- In Germany 45 mil. tons of household wastes are produced out of which 10 mil tons is burned in ecologically safe garbage burning plants, 21 mil. tons is processed for the reception of new materials that should be wrapped and for reception of raw material for chemical plants, while 14 mil. tons are taken to 300 municipal landfills.
- According to the country legislation, since 2003 any trade establishment is obliged to receive used vessels whether of glass of plastic, metal containing wrapping materials and others. In addition, in the streets and public places there are located of different size and colorfully painted four section garbage cans and tanks which ensure the collection of different types of wastes in a separated way. Through such a method annually there are collected 6 million tons of wrapping materials, 2 million tons of glass, 1605 million tons of paper and cardboard.
- In Japan out of pressed wastes and garbage are produced briquettes for the construction of artificial islands. Among the tourists particularly popular is artificial island Odaiba constructed of the materials obtained through the processing of wastes in the bay of Tokyo. From that place Tokyo panorama is very well seen and the island is connected with the city with the rainbow bridge.

Countries where plastic bags use either is prohibited or is taxed:

- France (for the time being only Paris)
- Ireland
- China
- Part of Great Britain
- Italy
- Australia
- South Africa
- India
- Bangladesh
- Taiwan
- Uganda
- Kenya

What alternatives do there exist?

- Cloth bags
- Nylon bags
- Baskets
- knapsacks
- Other bags produced from bio-degradable materials

What can we do ourselves?

- Every time we are shopping to have a bag with us in order to escape the use of a plastic bad;
- Similar products put in one bag;
- Try not to throw away the bags only after one use and use them again in future days;
- Use paper for wrapping instead of a plastic bad;
- Reduce the amount of garbage at home by buying little waste producing products and compost;
- Spread information about the harm polyethylene bags are bringing;
- Let our voice reach the authorities with the request that the use of plastic bags is maximally reduced
- Become our eco-friend and vote for making them out of use.

დაფინანსებულია ნიდერლანდების საგარეო საქმეთა სამინისტროს მიერ Matra-ს ცენტრალურ და აღმოსავლეთ ევროპაში სოციალური გარდაქმნების პროგრამის ფარგლები

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