Garbage in America and London
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – it has been one of the hottest topics on the environment since its appearance in 2006. Although it is though to be present decades ago, it was not until 3 years ago when the public got so interested in it. Thankfully, due to media exposure and newspaper articles, people became immersed with it, and the path to garbage disposal became relevant. Literally speaking, this monstrous phrase is a lump of garbage, floating around the Hawaiian Islands and sometimes near the Oregon Islands too (Smith, 2009).
It has been called a monster, having a size almost as large as Texas, being a constant threat to the environment for very obvious reasons. One is that the area can barely support any life. The air is not suitable for marine respiration, the microorganisms’ present pose deadly and life threatening diseases, the garbage can be toxic and poisonous when accidentally swallowed. Through a scientific study, they found out that the patch contains 3 kilograms of plastic material for every half-a-kilogram of plankton (Smith, 2009).
The very reason this patch was created is the excess garbage that slowly drifted into the ocean. Carried on by waves and currents, all sewage and trash from surrounding land masses get together by attraction, creating a mass of non-degradable refuse circling and floating around the ocean. The Pacific Garbage Patch is not static at all, and continues to move, sucking more and more garbage as the time passes by. Although is it generally accepted that the sources of the garbage can come from any country, it is not uncommon to see people blaming America for most of it.
But should only America take the fault? America, being one of the largest countries in the world, truly has its faults. Here, we shall see if, and how, the facts generated through time would rally for the blame on America being a large manufacturer of garbage. But being ideologically correct, one must also set a point of comparison with another variable. In this case, the city of London could be a great candidate. It has always been told that London spearheaded the industrial revolution, paying the price of improper waste disposal. After decades, did anything change with the Londoners?
With both having extremely huge histories of garbage dumping, a comparison of both would surely prove to end in interesting results. America is always stated as a super nation, having huge powers in the fields of military, education, politics, and most importantly, fast food chains and supermarkets. The last two has been proved time and time to be the constant feeder of garbage due to their excessive packing material and the refuse that is put to the bins. Paper is mentioned several times to be creme of the crop, being accounted for 35.
7 percent of all wastes thrown from 1960-2001, as shown by a study entitled Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2001 Facts and Figures (2003). These papers can come from a number of sources namely, newspapers, notebooks and all school materials, fast food packaging, cardboard boxes – the list can go on and on. And Americans, mostly being oblivious to the disasters these garbage are bringing, continues to throw away hamburger wrappings, half-used notebooks, old newspapers, and obsolete calendars. And these are just the papers.
The total solid waste, which includes thrown food articles, natural products such as tree branches, plastics and Styrofoam, can reach to an astounding number. During the 1960’s, a total of 88. 1 million tons have been thrown away by Americans. This drastically increased to 205 million tons in 1990, then to 230 million tons in 1999 (MSW, 2003). Strictly speaking, the amount of wasted products and American produces doubled in the last four years. These are some scary figures, especially when it boils down to the fact that an average American person can contribute a total of 4.
4 pounds of garbage per day (MSW, 2003). If one would do a rather complicated computation on a more regular lifestyle, calling all the limiting factors and catching the poorest of the poorest as a subject, the lowest estimate is 200 pounds of garbage per year (Heather, 2005). Nevertheless, the difference of the estimates still poses the large, unimaginable damage America was able to do to the environment. As for London, the city’s not as good looking either. London has always been displayed as an eyesore ever since.
Stories date back then when people willfully dump their garbage out of the window, resulting to a heap of garbage floating on the Thames River. Thankfully, the population then was so small that the river was willingly enough to float the remains down the sea (Newman, 2008). But soon after the revolution and the century shifted into the new age, population boosted a million times. There were also more jobs now, more factories, and more resources were being used. The result was a downpour of different products, ranging from food to plastic to paper and anything in between.
Amidst the total transformation of the city, the dumping abilities of the Londoners did not change that much. Garbage disposal still became a big problem for the citizens, to the extent that rich men start to flee the city and those left covered their windows with lime to minimize the stink from the outside (Newman, 2008). After several decades, how have the Londoners been doing? A quick bird’s eye view of the city will reveal prowess and power very much like, if not more, the American states. Strict rules are observed everywhere, and being a tourist would not exempt you from these.
Some would say the city has moved a lot from its grimly shadows, harboring a cleaner and greener motto. However, the problem of garbage is still far being completely eradicated. The average Londoner also consumes products just like everyone does. He eats fast food, packages a lot of things, read tons of newspapers, and throw away unused and old things. Being in a heavily guarded city does not omit the want of a citizen to indulge in these things. Garbage is then produced, probably even more than it was decades ago. As a matter of fact, sewage disposal has seen better days before.
In terms solely of sewage, the whole of London produces some 130,000 gallons of sewage a day. Most of these are washed through the river, some transported to some fills, while some just sit on the banks waiting to disintegrate. Centuries ago, this kind of trash is converted into fertilizers, used in farms to provide food for the citizens. This greatly reduces the total amount of sewage being left to rot along the city lines. But as the evolution of life style approached, the farming stage was considered a thing of the past.
Many began excelling in factories, and other industrial jobs that not only lessens the need for fertilizers, but also adds to the sewage already being produced by the citizens (Newman, 2008). In present times, according to one official, one Londoner is capable of producing at most 2 tons of rubbish in a whole year (Girardet, 2000). This equates to about 10 pounds per day. This is more than double than an average American, and even if some would say it is an over exaggeration, the fact remains that the Londoner still produces as much garbage as the American.
But the big difference however, is that London is such a small city compared to the states of the American country. There is, then, a fight for space and resources that the land can provide the average Londoner. In order to provide for its citizens, it has been importing resources from other countries. The input of the things taken inside the small city is very much greater than the ones that it can disposed of. The city remains a small entrapment where the garbage, although the same amount as an American emits, poses a greater threat. These are, however, not enough to pinpoint a greater blame towards one.
While it is true that the London garbage are doing much more destruction to the city than the American garbage to its country, the effects are similar in a world kind of view. Each excess garbage that cannot be accounted for would scatter in far places, reaching the seas and even other countries as well. The diseases that would have been cause by the poor sanitation of London can easily reach the United States, as well as other regions of the world. Having stated the ever growing problem, the next logical thing is to come up with a solution.
Though very different in styles, geographical area, amount of garbage, and cultural behavior, the Americans and the Londoners can share a similar passion of reducing their waste products. The most praised technique is recycling. Today, many countries have been implementing this strategy, where segregation of garbage is done at all times. Those that are readily degradable are to be prioritized in fills and such. For the rest, recycling would be employed as much as possible. The extent of this proposition has grown up in huge proportions through out the decade.
Fines have been imposed on mixed garbage owners, and trash bins have been marked everywhere for clear distinction. In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom went to the extremes of this penalty. His rules began as a voluntary proposition to prod citizens of the city to start recycling and separating their refuse. Last August 12, 2008, he then shifted from this meek volunteer into a stern garbage police proposition, where the fine can reach to a total of 1,000 dollars (Shaff, 2008). This is not common on other American cities, where fines have also been imposed and recycling became mandatory.
It is also important to note that the penalty added is not the only cause for the recycling spirit. As early as 2001, studies have shown that people started to realize the worth of their garbage, and greatly reduced their rubbish load. Following the statistics above where a total of 230 million tons of garbage has been recorded in 1999, the garbage count was reduced to a slight 229 million tons in 2001 (MSW, 2003). Though very small in value, this provides an inkling on the growing awareness of the garbage threat. Recycling has also been started in London as well.
In the Americans recycle 30% of their wastes, the Londoner recycles about 20%. The numbers vary in many places, but the accepted truth is that the Americans recycle more than the Londoner (Girardet, 2000). Nevertheless, this is a really small, insignificant difference in terms of the true value both strive to achieve. While both devices different plans and strategies in order to achieve their goal, they similarly wanted to attain a 70-75% recycling rate. Though it may seem to be far from early reality, the chances are pretty big if each one would do their job in managing their wastes.
Though it may seem to be like a price-you-pay for what you have done, these should not be left alone to the Americans and to the Londoners. Each man on earth have contributed to the trash circling the globe today, and each man should start to think of doing something to save the environment. References: Girardet, H. 2000. “The people’s planet. ” CNN transcript. Retrieved May 09, 2009 from http://transcripts. cnn. com/TRANSCRIPTS/0012/24/se. 01. html Heather, R. 2005. Gone tomorrow. The hidden life of garbage. The New Press. MSW, Library Index. 2009.
Waste disposal – Municipal solid waste. Library Index Website. Retrieved May 10, 2009 from http://www. libraryindex. com/pages/1112/Waste-Disposal-MUNICIPAL-SOLID-WASTE. html Newman, P. & Jennings, I. 2008. Cities as sustainable ecosystems. New York: Island Press Shaff, A. 2008. “Garbage cops come to America. ” Infowars Website. Retrieved May 09, 2009 from http://www. infowars. com/garbage-cops-come-to-america/ Smith, 2009. “What is the great pacific garbage patch? ” Wisegeek Website. Retrieved May 07, 2009 from http://www. wisegeek. com/what-is-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch. htmSample Essay of Edusson.com