The appalling effects of Africa's poor waste management practices.
Waste causes sickness, contamination, and an out and out ecological emergency when disposed of in the wrong place. In Africa, the circumstance is downright worrying as waste production is believed to surpass 160 million tons by 2025 because of the fast urbanization – as if the circumstance wasn't awful regardless. Just 10% of the waste produced in this mainland is gathered and re-purposed, whatever is left of it more often than not winding up in drainage systems and illicit dump sites. To add to the seriousness of the situation in Africa, the greater part of the pollution and waste that influences the wild, wonderful landmass actually originates from the outside world, Western nations like the United States, Germany, the UK, and others turning Africa into an E-waste dump land.
Africa’s Environmental Issues – A Continent Affected by Waste
One of the main culprits for the flooding and disease outbreak in African countries is poor management of waste disposal. Add to this pre-existing issue the fact that the continent is, unfortunately, the dumping ground of E-waste or electronic and electric waste for big Western countries, and you have an environmental crisis at a huge scale on your hands. This crisis has had a dramatic impact on the environment as well as the health of the continent’s inhabitants. River pollution has caused large amounts of dead fish and other aquatic life to float on the water. Cyanide spills have made water in certain areas to become lethal to aquatic, as well as human life. Other issues to emerge from this environmental crisis include deformed births, an increase of cancer patients, and the uprising of other illnesses.
African Entrepreneurs Who are Making a Difference
1. Lorna Rutto – In 2009, she quit her job and started EcoPost, a plastic waste recycling business that collects garbage and dump across Nairobi in order to produce fencing posts.
2. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – Her company uses locally-sourced and recycled materials in order to produce unique footwear. The products sell in more than 50 countries around the world, this success story serving as an inspiration for all those who want to make it big from scrap.
3. Bilikiss Adebiyi Abiola – The company she started uses cargo bicycles that provide recycling services in Lagos households to aid communities get rid of unmanaged waste in a convenient manner.
How You Can Reduce the Amount of Trash You Create
o Compress your trash – Proper waste disposal should begin at home, and if you take up compressing the waste volume you create so that instead of throwing 5-6 bags in the trash you throw a single bag, you actually make a huge difference in waste management.
o Think twice before you buy – A common mistake of the modern person is buying more food than the household will consume. This will inevitably lead to the food going rotten and you having to throw it away. It might sound pretty cliché, but there are people starving in the world, and you should think twice about this issue when you see that your shopping trip is derailing to avoid buying more than you are going to consume.
o Take your own bag when shopping – A major issue is improper disposal of plastic bags, and you can stop being a part of the problem by taking your own bag with you when you go shopping in order to avoid buying one from the counter.
o Recycle – This was an obvious advice, let’s face it. Approximately 60% of the rubbish that people throw in the bin can be recycled, so you should get a bit better informed on the recycling process and start taking certain items you intend to get rid of to special centers where they will be re-purposed.
o Pollution is decreased as greenhouse gasses and destructive synthetic compounds are discharged in substantially smaller doses from junk tossed in landfill sites.
o Recycling limits the prerequisite for raw materials like wood, along these lines helping save the rainforests and preventing the obliteration of natural habitats.
o Less energy is squandered as raw materials won’t be processed as much anymore when creating new products.
Interesting Recycling Facts
1. Plastics take about 500 years to decompose, which is quite sad considering the fact that most of them can be recycled.
2. When making paper from raw materials, up to 70% more energy is used when compared to recycling it.
3. Glass products don’t decompose, and they are 100% recyclable and reusable.
4. Approximately 16% of a product’s value is spent on the packaging that we tend to dispose of improperly and not re-purpose.
5. Vehicles can be recycled in a percentage of up to 80%.
Header Image Credit: Ghana Business News
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