Archive for the Plastic Rubbish Category

A Catastrophe Is On The Way

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Government, Health, Modern World, News, Oceans, Plastic Rubbish, Spain with tags , , , , on 18/07/2017 by floroy1942

I read with surprise today that Brazil is to open up 860,000 acres of the Amazon tropical rain forest for logging, farming and mining. If this continues the human race will be in big trouble for we rely on trees to give our atmosphere oxygen. They soak up the carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere and convert it to oxygen among other things.

“Urban forests help to improve our air quality. Heat from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing the heat into space. This creates a phenomenon known today as the “greenhouse effect.” Therefore, trees help by removing CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure/function and return oxygen back into the atmosphere as a byproduct. Roughly half of the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. Therefore, trees act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect.”

I guess it is no surprise that profit comes before the continuance of mankind on this planet. Already the Amazon rainforest has been cut by nearly a third thanks to illegal logging, cattle farming and agriculture, and it seems it will get worse. So few people seem to realize that we rely on trees to provide us with a breathable atmosphere.

In the last fifty years forests across the world have been decimated to produce more agricultural land, and it would seem that it is not over yet. Why do governments not understand that we need trees to provide us with breathable air? If this keeps up and huge forests such as the Amazon disappear and we will have no oxygen to keep us alive.

The problem is we are so ignorant of the basic facts of life that we only think of money and profit. This will surely lead us to the destruction of our planet and the end of human life on Earth.

When I was young we had woods and forests all across Britain, but now most of them have disappeared as farmers cut down the trees just to get a little more land on which to plant crops. It’s the same all over the world, with huge forests disappearing at a steady rate. Many of the forests across the world have been decimated to make way for agriculture.

It is time the human race woke up to the fact that without trees life will end on this planet of ours.

Already this year we have had temperatures so high and that has never happened before. Here in Spain we have had temperatures in the high forties. In the Middle East temperatures are reaching close to fifty degrees, again, never seen before. You can bet your life that temperatures will continue to rise year on year and it is all the fault of mankind.

Drought areas in America and other countries make it impossible to grow crops to feed us. Flooding in many parts of the world have caused chaos with people losing their lives and homes being destroyed. This cannot go on.

Say what you will, but we humans are to blame for this sorry mess, and if we continue to ignore the warnings it will be too late to correct the current problems.

Most of the contamination in our atmosphere comes from the traffic on our roads which are poisoning the atmosphere. It is time for world-wide governments to greatly reduce the number of cars on the roads and to make them cleaner. If they do not do this it could be the end of mankind on this planet.

Another great contributor to oxygen is the oceans, and we have successfully contaminated them with plastic. Massive areas of the world seas have seen the rise of plastic around the world and this is another contamination that is slowly destroying our world.

If mankind is to continue its existence on the planet we have to do something to clean up our world. Otherwise, in maybe a hundred years humans will cease to exist.

Roy.

Killing The Wilderness Will Kill Us All

Posted in America, Brazil, Britain, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Nature, News, Oceans, Plastic Rubbish with tags , , , , on 10/09/2016 by floroy1942
Deforestation

Deforestation

No! This is not some made up story, but in years to come it will come true. The areas of wilderness on Earth, i.e. areas of land like the Amazon in South America and Central Africa among others, are the lifeblood of our planet and yet we are destroying them at an ever-increasing rate.

The Amazon

The Amazon

Before 1970 the Amazon forest covered 4,100,000 sq.kms, but by 2015 it had shrunk to just 3,331,065 sq.kms. This means that mankind has destroyed 768,935  sq.kms (almost the size of Turkey) in just 39 years, reducing its size by 18.8%. Despite all the warnings about what this was doing to our ecological status, the destruction still goes on.

In 1950 the Indonesian forest cover was estimated to be 145 million ha of primary forest and another 14 million ha of secondary and tidal forest.  Between 1990 and 2000 20% of the forest area in Indonesia had been lost (24 million ha) and by 2010, only 52% of the total land area was forested (94 million ha).

According to the World Resources Institute, more than 80 percent of the Earth’s natural forests have already been destroyed world-wide. Up to 90 percent of West Africa’s coastal rain forests have disappeared since 1900. Brazil and Indonesia, which contain the world’s two largest surviving regions of rain forest, are being stripped at an alarming rate by logging, fires, and land-clearing for agriculture and cattle-grazing. And so the destruction of our live-giving forests goes on unabated, and no-one is doing anything to stop it.

Rain Forest Destruction

Rain Forest Destruction

What most people do not realize is that trees are the lifeblood of this planet, and without them we will all die very quickly because they are the number one provider of our most important essential – oxygen. But what the hell, profit is more important that life, right!

We all know that the pollution levels on our planet are steadily rising, what with CO2 pollution world-wide and the ever increasing contamination of the world seas and the ground but no-one seems to care.

Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution

Our oceans are steadily being heavily polluted with plastic among other things which is causing untold problems. We have huge areas of every ocean on the planet where plastic is collecting on the surface called plastic gyers.

For more information you might perhaps  want to read:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/

Ocean Life Destruction

Ocean Life Destruction

Another problem with the oceans is over-fishing. Where forty years ago a fishing boat would capture maybe a ton of fish, now the giant fishing trawlers are capturing 100 tons of fish in a single catch, and it doesn’t end there.

Not only are we destroying the seas, but also the land on which we grow the crops that feed us. For the last forty years we have increased farming production to the extent where the ground does not have the ability to recover. For this reason we are using chemicals to help make the crops grow, and this is polluting the earth. Not only that, but it gets into our streams and flows into rivers where it ends up in the sea.

Years ago when I was young a farmer would always leave one field without crops for an entire year so that it could recover the minerals that help our crops grow. Now that is all out the window as everyone wants to make more and more profit.

The seas and the ground are important to us, but we are also fouling the air that we breath. From the turn of the century, when there were probably no more than a few hundred thousand vehicles on our roads it has risen to over a billion, and each one is pumping out poisonous gasses that are contaminating our atmosphere. It is well known that the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere are causing problems world-wide. The loss of forests and woods across the world means that nature has totally lost control, and can no longer rectify this problem.

Smog In The Far East

Smog In The Far East

In some Far Eastern cities people have to walk around with a mask to prevent the minute particles from vehicle exhausts getting into their lungs. Western nations have also had their share. The effect this has had on the human population is evident in the increased number of cancer deaths.

Most people will have heard about the disastrous droughts in places like California, parts of Africa and even Europe where there has been no rainfall for many months. This has had a catastrophic effect for farmers, many of whom have gone bankrupt. And yet, more areas are suffering hurricanes in places where this is unheard of in the past, like Britain for example. Our uncaring attitude to the world is causing disasters in places where such things are unheard of. If we continue as we are you can guarantee this will only get worse.

Centuries ago life on this planet was balanced because of the low levels of contamination we pumped into the seas, ground and air. But now with scientific progress all that has changed and we are slowly destroying our planet, and ourselves. If nothing changes within the next few decades mankind will be no more.

Roy.

What’s The Point Of The Rio+20 Environment Conference?

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Forests, Oceans, Pacific, Plastic Rubbish, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , on 22/06/2012 by floroy1942

Why are so many world leaders gathering in Rio de Janeiro if they knew beforehand that it will accomplish nothing? The run-up to the conference has been splashed across the news for the past week, and any fool who imagined something useful would come out of it will be disappointed. I, like most other people, thought it a waste of time and that nothing would be achieved. We are not wrong!

Jaw Flapping and Empty Promises

When leaders get together in this fashion to discuss something as important as the future of mankind on this planet of ours, all we get is jaw flapping and empty promises.  The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNep) has a team of very gifted scientists who warned prior to the conference that humanity may be heading for a ‘tipping point’ which will become ‘irreversible’. That is to say, we are currently doing so much damage to our environment and the planet’s biodiversity, that we will soon reach a point where the damage cannot be undone.

Despite all the empty promises made by governments during the last twenty years of the conference, improvements have been made on only four issues like green house gases and the ozone layer, while the rest, which include the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, preservation measures for the world’s oceans and seas, safeguarding the world-wide fresh water supplies and over-population are still awaiting any concrete proposals after twenty years.

Brazilian President

It is without doubt ironic that this years conference is being held in Rio, situated in a country that is doing more than any other to contribute to the devastating storms, floods and drought being experienced in the western hemisphere by decimating the Brazilian rain forest.  

The Amazon, the largest rain forest on the planet, is steadily being burnt and hacked away, and at the current rate will be a shadow of its former self in just a decade or two. The world’s oceans are rapidly becoming a cesspool of discarded plastic and rubbish, and the fish stocks are being decimated without being given time to recover. Fairly soon water shortages in many countries will become so acute, as to cause mass migration to areas more capable of sustaining human life. This in itself will cause major upheaval across the world.

Another problem such conferences fail to discuss is the steadily climbing over-population in the world. China is the only country that has imposed limits on how many children a married couple may have in order to stem the booming population growth, and that was enacted in 1978.

Population Growth

India is another nation with an unsustainable population growth, but is doing nothing to address the problem. Within a couple of decades we will surely see many other countries enforcing a similar rule to that of China, for population growth is expanding like a runaway train, and pretty soon the Earth will simply not be able to sustain that level of life.

Biodiversity is also being hit hard, and soon we will begin to see the effects of our carelessness as more and more species of plants, insects and animals disappear for ever. 

But can we expect governments to address these problems comprehensively, not on your life! As an example let me use the oil producing countries and the oil industry. They refuse to even hear about removing the subsidies on fossil fuels – why? Because the former will sell less oil and the latter will make less profit!

The World’s Plastic Islands

Knowing full well about the country-sized gyres that have become floating islands of discarded plastic in all our oceans, does any government look to ban a simple thing like the plastic bag – No? Why? – Because it is being blocked by the plastic industry.

The Brazilian government has the power to stop illegal loggers and farmers devastating the forest with their activities, but do they do it – no! Why? – Because there’s money in it.

Biodiversity Loss

Why don’t the fishing nations crack down on illegal fishing and declare far more areas of our oceans protected in order to allow the fish stocks to recover? Why are the Japanese still allowed to ignore the ban on hunting whales with the laughable excuse that ‘its for research’?

We all need to put some serious thought into these problems and force governments to take positive action to save the planet, for if the scientists are correct, we have a very small window of opportunity to act before its too late.

Roy. 

Plastic May Kill You In Years To Come

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Modern World, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, USA with tags , , , , on 30/01/2012 by floroy1942

Now that’s a bold statement if ever there was one, and I am sure more than a few people will be wondering what the hell is going on. Well, it would seem that plastic rubbish on our beaches is not the only problem we are facing, for scientists today have made yet another discovery that could have a far reaching effect on mankind, well, our offspring actually. It all revolves around the weekly washing (or daily if you have kids)!

The Weekly Wash – Not So Innocent

A group of scientists have discovered that a new, possibly deadly substance is getting into the environment from our weekly wash. Every day millions of people put their dirty clothes in the washing machine and think no more about it. Its a perfectly normal occurrence, and who thinks about what goes down the drain during the operation. Its just dirty water with some detergent in it, and anyway, the water company takes care of it, right!

From the latest research it seems that is not the end of the story, because, if some of the garments you washed contain man-made fibres i.e. polyester, acrylic, or polyamides (nylon), that water from the washing machine contains so-called ‘microplastics’.

Microfibres – The Hidden Menace

It seems these are tiny fibres of plastic, less than a millimetre long, that detach from this type of garment during the wash cycle, and a single item can lose more than 1,900 fibres per wash. Via the drains and water treatment plants (where applicable) these fibres end up in rivers or the sea where they are being eaten by fish and other creatures. Because they are so small, they even end up in the stomachs of plankton which of course is the main diet of many species of fish and mammals. Naturally, not only fish are contaminated with this fibre, but also land animals that get their water from rivers.

The dangerous part is that their small size allows them to be not only ingested by e.g. the fish, but once in the stomach they enter the bloodstream, and hence the blood of the host. It has been found to accumulate in the cells of fish during research by Dr. Mark Brown of the National Centre For Ecological Analysis ans Synthesis (NCEAS) in The States, and Prof. Richard Thomson from the University of Plymouth in the UK.

By Comparison, A Minor Problem

The team tested seawater from various points around the globe and the sewage outlets of many cities and found that the contamination was strongest near large population centres as you would expect. Testing of water from washing machines proved the link with items of clothing produced using man-made fibres.

It should be obvious that when the fish or animals are contaminated with this plastic, it is already in the food chain. Should it have the same effect on human physiology, i.e. get locked up in our cells, who knows what harm this will cause to our bodies. Whatever happens, it’s a fairly safe bet we have not heard the last of this problem.

Roy

The Curse Of The Plastic Bag Returns

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , on 29/07/2011 by floroy1942

Despite government campaigns, environmental group actions, and other publicity on the dangers of supermarket plastic bags over the past five years, their use is once again on the rise.

People are turning back to the ‘one-use’ bag instead of the multi-use ones now available. The consumption of these items has risen from 6.1 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion last year. Not a significant rise you might think, and certainly better than the 10.7 billion bags used in 2006.

The Infamous Plastic Bag

Why shoppers are going back to their old ways and ignoring the danger to the environment is to date a mystery. It would seem people no longer believe in doing what they can to save the planet from pollution, despite the discovery of the Plastic Islands in our oceans. Recycling Minister Lord Henley has suggested that if the current situation continues there may be need for legislation. Personally, I would think the sooner the better!

Although this would not solve the problem completely, for we still use plastic rubbish bin liners for example, it would go a long way to cutting down on the mountains of plastic that are currently polluting our world.

Plastic Bin Liners In Use

This information shows clearly that people are not willing to change their ways, and the supermarkets and retailers too are not interested, despite earlier promises. Therefore I would say legislation is imperative. Laws must be passed to outlaw plastic bags once and for all time from the High Street, and replace them with the old-time paper or cloth bag.

Environmentally Harmless And Recyclable

Paper bags were good enough for generations following Francis Wolle’s invention of the first paper bag making machine in 1852, and everyone used them prior to the introduction of plastic bags by Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin in the early 1960’s. Since that day the number of plastic bags in circulation has soured and billions are used every day throughout the world.

The largest users by far are the Chinese, but they at least are taking positive steps to cut their usage. Laws introduced in 2008 banned single-use bags and has received a positive response from shoppers.

One side effect of getting rid of billions of plastic bags will be the huge saving made in oil from which they are made. It is estimated the measures taken by China have reduced its oil consumption by around 3 million tonnes of oil per annum. That’s an awful lot of oil! So, what if the ban was total and  world-wide?

Animal Life And Plastic

In order to cut down the massive pollution caused by these items, it is clear that plastic shopping bags should be consigned to history as one of man’s greatest environmental mistakes. Their use, reusable or not, can no longer be justified in today’s world. We have enough pollution problems, and let’s face it, would we really bemoan the loss of the plastic bag when we have so many environmentally friendly alternatives? I think not!

My wife and I keep several cloth shopping bags in the boot of the car and never accept the plastic alternative from the supermarket. It is such a small step, but if more people did that we would not need the plastic bag any more. Obviously, many are either too lazy to take such steps, or just don’t care, which is a shame. It is for this reason I believe legislation in this area is desperately needed.

Headed For The Plastic Island

Shoppers, like most other people, always look to the easiest option and don’t care what happens so long as it doesn’t intrude into own little ‘world’. Perhaps though we should all stop to think about what we are doing to our planet for the sake of our children.

What we do today will have a great impact on their lives!

Food for thought perhaps?

Associated Posts:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/the-plastic-island-part-2/

Roy.

Going Green – The Way Back

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Old Age Pensioner, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Senior Citizen, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 25/07/2011 by floroy1942

 It is a fact that many people think the older generations did nothing to look after the planet on which we live because we were not ‘eco’ friendly. I am here to tell those people how wrong they are. I received a very interesting e-mail from my brother over the weekend all about being ‘green’.

It is a fact that we seniors did not have separate waste bins for plastic, glass etc and we did not run our cars on biofuels, but did that make us less ‘eco’ friendly? I think not as the following will amply demonstrate.

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 

The Weekly Shopping

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

The Glass Milk Bottle-Reusable

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Stairs - Remember Them?

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Just One Per Home

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. 

Why Not Old Newspaper?

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Free Water For Anyone Thirsty And No Plastic

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. 

The Modern Mixer - Is It Really Essential?

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? ”

(My sincere thanks to the anonymous writer of this piece)

So you see, things were in many ways much better then than they are now. Consequently, I don’t think members of today’s generation have the right to say us old folks are to blame for today’s eco-problems, because actually, they have done it to themselves.

Admittedly, it was not because we thought about the environment as such, but more the fact that we just did not have all the things people have today. Technology has taken huge strides since the 40’s and 50’s, and we have to look there, and at ourselves, for the problems with our environment today. Many of the technological advances that have been made serve only to make us more lazy and increase the level of unemployment, so is that a good thing, do we really need these things?

Our Planets Floating Garbage Islands

There are many we could well do without, like escalators and powered grass mowers just to use two examples from the above piece. We could perhaps reduce the amount of plastic each of us uses in our daily lives, like supermarket carrier bags, plastic cups and bottles. After all, what is wrong with paper bags and glass bottles  that can be reused?

So you see, the current generation is more to blame for the state of our world than the old folks. Next time you buy an electric apparatus take a moment to think; Do I really need this?

It would seem the only way forward for us to be totally in tune with our world, is to take a few steps back and live like we used to.

Roy.

The 17,500mph Rubbish Tip

Posted in Britain, Environment, Europe, Insanity, Life in the Universe, Modern World, Plastic Rubbish, USA with tags , , , , on 29/06/2011 by floroy1942

It amused me somewhat to read the other day about a supposed UFO sighting over the BBC building in London that was ‘filmed’ and put on YouTube. In my opinion, all UFO sightings can be discounted these days, and in fact for the last several decades, because no extraterrestrials could get near our planet because of all the garbage that is currently surrounding Earth.

Yuri Gagarin – The First Human In Space 1961

Ever since the first manned space flight by Russian Yuri Gagarin, in 1961, the level of debris floating around above our atmosphere has risen rapidly. In 1981 it was estimated there were about 5,000 items both large and small floating around the Earth. By 2011 this has increased to 22,000 known objects with a total mass of around 5,500 tonnes What will it be in 2050 – 100,000, a million? These figures do not take into account the hundreds of items that have burnt up in the atmosphere over this period.

It has become necessary for people like NASA and their Russian equivalent to use sophisticated radar to track the path of all objects in this gigantic garbage patch to avoid collisions when launching space missions.

We have already done quite a good job of turning our entire home into a waste dump (remember Plastic Island?), and have for the last four decades been equally successful with the space that surrounds it.

The International Space Station

This week the astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) had to retreat to their Soyuz rescue vehicles because of a near miss by a small object. It missed by only 250 metres. Had it hit the station, the results could have been catastrophic, and many billions of dollars would have ended up as more useless space junk.

News Report:

This is the first time such drastic action has been necessary, and it was undertaken because the piece of trash was seen too late for avoidance measures., On many occasions in the past the ISS has had to move to get it out of the trajectory of floating objects.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink!

Actually, the term ‘floating junk’ is a bit of a misnomer as the junk is not actually ‘floating’, but travelling at a speed of 17,500mph. Moving that fast, a small fleck of paint can dent a panel or crack a window on the ISS. Any astronaut on a space walk would be instantly killed by even such a small thing. Remember the old adage that a piece of straw will pass through a block of concrete if it is travelling fast enough?

 Space junk can be anything from a tool lost by an astronaut during a spacewalk to the burnt out sections of rocket boosters or dead satellites. They can vary in size from several millimetres to something the size of a small house.

Many are in low earth orbit (LEO) and eventually burn up on reentry into the atmosphere, but those further out like weather, communication, and GPS satellites in geosynchronous orbit, can be with us for years and even forever.

The Final Launch Phase – Adding To The Debris

Every time someone sends something into space we end up with burnt out rocket stages, shields, discarded satellites, Elton John’s old piano and many other bits left floating around out there and no-one seems to care. I suppose it will not be until an astronaut dies, or there is serious damage to the ISS that costs millions of dollars to repair, that someone will eventually decide to bring out the space vacuum cleaner.

Space Junk Tracking:

Some plans have already been put forward to clean up te mess, but we have yet to see one in action. One idea was to launch a satellite that carried a huge net capable of capturing  debris but so far nothing has come of it. While the idea may have some merit, it certainly hasn’t been thought through sufficiently because to cover anything like a reasonable area the net would have to be gigantic. The use of lasers has also been suggested, but to be honest, on the scale they would be required, they are still science fiction.

The Future Of ‘Taking Out The Trash’?

I wonder how long it will be before we are so swamped in trash that someone has the bright idea of sending it all to the Moon or Mars?

It seems clear to me that before Man can attain his long sought goal of reaching the stars, something will have to be done to solve the problem of all this space junk. For there can be little doubt that eventually we will seal ourselves in with an impenetrable layer of rubbish that will make space exploration a distant dream.

Roy.

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