10 shocking facts about the garbage
Have you ever thought about what happens to garbage after it goes into the waste bins? Where do plastic bottles, bags, and paper cups end their lives? How long does it take before the waste we collect disappears altogether, only to give way to a new one?
Probably, each of us once committed a minor offence and threw rubbish past the bin. Most people do this thoughtlessly, regarding the problem of a significant amount of waste to be too global, so that a cigarette butt that was thrown out in the wrong place or an empty pack of cigarettes could seriously affect anything. But in fact, it is such seemingly “insignificant” trifles that cause enormous garbage mountains to accumulate. Within a short period those can not only turn the entire territory of our state into one big dump but also severely threaten the whole ecosystem of Kazakhstan. To shed light on the seriousness of the problem, below we gathered shocking yet straightforward facts, which, will hopefully make people understand the gravity of the situation even in aimlessly tossed garbage in the street. And to impress you, even more, we decided to visualise all this. Do you recognise familiar places?
Cigarette butts are the most common garbage on Earth.
This number can cover 4.5 times the territory of the Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Karaganda, 150 hectares in size.
Karaganda Culture and Recreation Park.
If each family throws at least half of this number, then in a year it will be possible to build a bottle tower competing in height with Baiterek.
For example, to contaminate Big Almaty Lake, it would take 20 750 000 batteries. This is only 2 750 000 more than the overall population of Kazakhstan.
Big Almaty Lake, Almaty.
Waste is a valuable resource. The amount of accumulated plastic and glass in Kazakhstan’s landfills is enough to generate electricity sufficient for lighting a city of Pavlodar size during a year.
Glass and plastic from Kazakhstan landfills can illuminate the city of Pavlodar throughout the year.
For comparison, this is the budget for the maintenance and operation of Baikonur Cosmodrome for more than two years.
Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kyzylorda Oblast.
The territory of Lake Zaisan equal to 1,810 km² can be turned into a garbage pile if only 129,285 people will throw garbage during a year.
Lake Zaysan, East Kazakhstan region.
Polyethene bags are one of the most dangerous types of garbage and can destroy an entire ecosystem. A bag thrown into the water can remain there for up to 100 years, and every third seabird or fish has plastics or polyethene in its stomach.
The Caspian Sea, Mangystau region.
This is enough material to rebuild 20 Kazakhstan Boeings and 20 Fockers.
Aircrafts at the Astana airport.
Hygiene products, such as diapers, napkins and absorbent diapers are not less than 1% of all garbage in the world and are a serious environmental problem.
For comparison, the number of discarded diapers and absorbent napkins can cover 7 hectares of the City Square in Uralsk.
City Square, Uralsk.
For example, 37,500 landfills 2 hectares each are capable of contaminating a natural park with an area of 150,000 hectares.
Sairam-Ugam State National Park, South-Kazakhstan region.
Thus, if people do not stop treating the problem of a significant amount of waste carelessly, the streets of our cities will soon resemble quarters of the “City of garbage collectors” in Cairo. The territory would be littered with polyethene bags along with food waste, plastic and glass bottles, disposable cups, and other long-disintegrating trash in the natural environment. Among this waste, rats will be running wild, and in the summertime, insect population will be spinning out of control. This post-apocalyptic scene could be a place where our children would have to grow. They would go to school through the littered streets, play on huge dumps, bathe in dirty and muddy water instead of pure mountain lakes. Imagine a picture where among a huge uncontrollable dump a group of boys play the game “Hit a rat with a rock”.
The first, who strikes the rodent gets ten points. Do you believe that this picture is way too post-apocalyptic and unreal? But, unfortunately, it is more than real. The amount of garbage generated grows steadily every year. The day is not far off when the problem will pass the point of no return, and those few companies that work with waste disposal will not be able to cope with waste volumes. People should stop thoughtlessly throwing garbage, and cluelessly believe their candy wrapper, an empty pack of cigarettes or a cigarette butt would not make global statistics. Every time you feel narrowminded, take note of the fact that if a million people think similarly, it will become a global problem.
As you can see from the above facts, the post-apocalypse garbage scenario is just around the corner. If only we do not start thinking about how to preserve the ecology of our country now. After all, this is our home and our land. When we are gone, our children will live here, and the legacy we leave them with depends only on us!