Trash – A Problem In Your Country?

Sewage and garbage being poured into the ocean

Garbage Disposal is a Problem

 

Ecuador, city of Palora, I see a couple walking down the street. They go across a bridge. Before they finish crossing that bridge they throw a bag of trash into the River.

Over-ripe oranges? Probably. Diapers? Maybe. Kevin’s excrement after raw fried chicken? I hope not.

 

Brain Game

On city streets you find a caramel wrapper. Which then subconsciously opens the way for John Doe to drop his sticky note with five numbers on it that he’s been holding onto for three weeks. Later leading Jane Doe to subconsciously drop her ink-less pen she used to write the 5 numbers.

That’s the problem with trash and the human psyche. We see someone else not care about the planet and think “Well they don’t care so why should I? Even If I did try they would keep trashing.”

I’m staying in Ecuador right now and it’s dirty. I mean I thought Seattle (WA, USA) was dirty (which it is, it’s ridden with needles and pot… oh and Starbucks cups), but Ecuador is filthy there is trash in the streets, rivers and streams, speaking of streams they are all completely brown.

 

Burn

Burning garbage

You’ve heard of the tragic fires in California, which are mainly due to a hot and dry climate. That doesn’t quite happen in the wet Ecuador climate. Here in Ecuador they don’t have a place to dump old wood, furniture and thinks of the like, so what do they do? They burn it.

Burning trash leads to health problems and creates an environment that diseases love. Remember your mom shooing the flies away because flies eat poop? Well maybe that’s just me… But you get the idea. Poop, trash, disease they are the three amigos of death. Just another reason why disease spreads so easily in poor countries.

 

Dumps and Landfills

A month back I did a dump run in the Seattle area, it was a new place, and I wasn’t sure if it was a hospital or a dump. Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was really clean, this is a dump we’re talking about!

In poor areas/countries there is no money for nice dumps or dumps in general. People generate around 0.74 kilograms (163 pounds) per person per day… that’s disgusting.

Imagine 163 pounds of trash showing up at your door everyday and you have no dump to drop it off at. What are you going to do with it all? This is kind of the dilemma poor countries face.

 

Flood

In October, 21 people in Indonesia died because of a flood. What helped cause these floods in poor countries? You guessed it, trash. When trash is tossed in and near waterways, in time the trash becomes a plastic dam reducing water flow and release threw drains.

 

Sewage

Interestingly, if you look at this most trash produced per person list, many are coastal countries many being islands. A big cause is a lack of landfills which leads to burning the trash. Also, let’s be honest, if you live on an island there isn’t much room for a dump and exporting is expensive. There isn’t a whole lot of cheap options.

Another problem is human waste, sewage. Yeah… I’m gonna leave that topic for another time.

A thought I have on this list is that many of these places receive many tourists. So, many tourists, not much land, equals lots of trash per person that probably isn’t gonna be discarded of properly.

 

What Can You Do?

My thoughts on what can practically be done on a per person way.

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  1. Have the fix over replace mindset. If you can fix it fix it. You may spend a bit more but you are doing your part. Plus its cooler to fix things.
  2. If you have to take something apart, like a shed for example, don’t just burn it, try to sell what you can first. Yes, you may need to hold onto the wood for some extra time but you will be doing your part. Not only that but you may get a few bucks and someone else will get to enjoy using that wood. Win-win-win.

 

Questions For You:

  • What’s your country – is there a trash disposal problem?
  • What are you doing to overcome the trash disposal problem?
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2 comments

  1. The United States, in general, tends to be too clean.
    Am I saying I would eat off the pavement in the middle of New York? No way. But I would argue that in order to address some of the core issues in waste production, the infrastructures and management of waste disposal need to be made visible.
    Here in the United States, we are too sheltered from the consequences of our consumerism. In fact, according to these statistics, the US produces 1.45 kg/person/day than Ecuador (http://www.eco2greetings.com/c/most-wasteful-countries/). And yet, it is much more of a “problem” in Ecuador because it is so visible.
    It should be that much more of a problem in the United States, but due to management’s “out of sight, out of mind” nature, many Americans do not realize just how much we consume or waste. The road to a cleaner world starts with accountability. The Korean approach to garbage disposal seems like a great way to start. See what you think: https://10mag.com/your-complete-guide-to-garbage-disposal-in-south-korea/

    1. Absolutely! Show people the trash! No more hiding! I love the out of the box thinking!

      And yes, South Korea knows what their doing. The more you have to pay, the more conscious you become, leading to less waste. But you have to pay more, so I don’t know.

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