Humanity is developing at an accelerated pace. Every day people create new things, ideas, devices which make our life easier and more advanced. At the same time these innovations have negative effects. And some of them create problems on a global scale like rubbish problem. It is one of the biggest world problems of the 21st century. It daily increases its tenure, influence and volume and is an ongoing process and has a huge impact on our health, environment and wildlife.
For example, billions of plastic bags are thrown away in the world each year. Animals eat plastic bags, especially marine creatures thinking that they are food which cause their death. Besides most landfill sites are nearly full. Their smell has a bad effect on our health. A vivid example is the critical situation in Yerevan at the Nubarashen landfill site. The residents nearby houses complain of the unbearable smell of the rubbish which is a danger for their lives. And it is a typical situation in many countries.
And here is the question. How to solve this problem? Our ancestors buried their rubbish in the ground because at that time rubbish consisted of natural raw materials. It was decomposed in the ground in short time. But today our waste consists mostly of plastic materials and toxic things and the process of decomposing takes several decades. So we should develop new approaches and, of course, a culture of purity.
Many countries are trying to create new solutions and find effective ways out of the situation. Some of them are successful.
The first way is recycling. Germany is the best example of recycling. The Germans are very organized, they sort garbage in five different bins and now it is their lifestyle. Other example of successful recycling waste was created by Shigeru Ban, Japanese architect, who constructs buildings out of recycled paper. His works can be found in different countries. One more example is special events. They can be festivals or exhibitions of different subjects and things which are made from recycled materials. In such way people get aware what they can do using waste.
The second way is reusing. There is a special date in New Zealand when people put their rubbish out into the streets. It may be their old furniture, boxes, bicycles and other unnecessary things which other people may need.
The third one is producing less rubbish. For example, in 2006 the people of Zanzibar stopped making plastic bags. Thus they take care of their environment producing less air and water pollution.
Now I suppose you will be surprised but the next option of solving the problem of rubbish is a natural way. Many families living in country sides have domestic animals. These animals often eat people’s rubbish including paper. So they can be our garbage saviors!
Another way is the use of social media, different websites and platforms where people can present or give their unnecessary things to other people. One of the most popular virtual places is Freecycle. It is a global network which was created in 2003 and now it has more than 9 million members in 110 countries who are giving and getting stuff for free.
Armenia faces the same problems. There are more than 500 landfill sites here which create problems for people and wildlife. The government has tried to realize different projects and cooperate with foreign companies. And now we have good news. A new garbage processing factory is planned to be constructed in the town of Kapan. Plastic waste will not only be sorted, but also prepared to be recycled and reused in the construction sector. It will be a serious step in lessening the problem of garbage in Armenia.
Another example is made by public organization “Eco waste”. Its members announce promotions, organize garbage collection (paper, glass, plastic bottles, etc.) and sorted it. After that waste is sent to paper and glass recycling companies.
As I have already mentioned plastic bags are a huge problem in the world including Armenia. And in this direction, we have positive solution. The government of Armenia announced that we should go from plastic bags to paper or tissue ones at the end of this year. Of course, it is right way but not enough. It needs total invasion because people’s habits are difficult to change at once. We should do the following things.
The first advice is an agitation. It can be special lectures called “Be a clever citizen” for pupils at schools where young people will be explained and shown why it is important to care about our environment. In such way we can bring up new generation and educate them a culture of purity.
Also we can make social videos with the participation of famous people and distribute it by TV, YouTube Channel and social media. Besides we can stick social advertising on the banner boards in the city, at the metro station and at bus stops. Moreover, we can involve celebrities of Armenian origin in this project as promotors of the movement and they will encourage people to become more attentive to their surroundings.
The second suggestion is to keep things for somebody else. We can open a special area (building) where people can bring their unnecessary objects, clothes, old boxes, books, furniture and other things on special dates. Other people can take them. We can create social community and post things with photos. In such way old things will have new owners.
The third option is to make website where people will share with other people their ideas on how it is possible to use unnecessary things. They can make videos and show step by step how they get new incredible compositions using waste, thus, informing other people how the old things can get second birth and become useful in different cases.
The fourth variant is to create special kind of lottery where people can win money for recycled rubbish. For example, different bins are created for paper, glass, plastic, etc. Each person gets a ticket from the machine when he throws away recycled rubbish in a definite bin. Every week computer chooses several numbers and their owners win some money.
The fifth one is to support scientists who are working out the way of using special microorganisms which are capable of decomposing plastic. Recently some researchers have announced that they have discovered some of them like mold, big wax moth larva, new kind of bacterium Ideonella sakaiensis, flour worm. At present they are trying to find optimal conditions and opportunities for large-scale application. At this point the government should pay more attention to this kind of projects by investing in them. These kinds of steps will lead to innovative approaches to the solution of this problem.