Pollution and Recycling
Pollution is a major problem in the whole world and it becomes worse as population continues to grow because an increase in population results in higher waste production, which creates increased pollution in return. Waste is the symbol of inefficiency of any modern society and recycling waste products is one of the easiest and best ways for people to secure the environment because it can prolong the survival of humanity on Earth (Zaman and Steffen 4). Consumption and production activities produce waste as a by-product which accumulates as a stock of polluted material which has a negative effect upon the health of human beings. Recycling is the process of converting materials that have been previously used into reusable material for production of products which are beneficial to humanity. It is crucial that people start to realize that recycling is a necessity and is going to be required more in the future because of the new, higher quality lifestyles people are living. Recycling of waste materials not only saves the lives of human beings by removing harmful substances to the environment but also has some economical value to human beings because they generate profits. More products are being used in the ever-changing world and as a result, more waste is being produced thus increasing harmful substances to the environment. This essay discusses recycling as the best solution to pollution by looking at the underlying assumptions as well as opposing views.
Solid waste management is a challenge in many regions because of the lack of alternative solutions on how to manage solid waste products that are produced each day. The process of urbanization has increased waste product in urban areas from construction and demolition projects which are common in many urban areas (Lyon and Brian 166). The increase in waste products, poses a challenge to the effective handling of waste materials because of a diversity of factors which are beyond the reach of authorities. Recycling is good for pollution because it is an effective strategy to eliminate the negative effects that pollution has on the environment. Management of waste materials which pollute the environment is affected by enabling factors that make possible for the performance of the system, for instance, technical, environmental, financial, socio-cultural, institutional and legal. The amounts of waste substances that are released to the environment have increased in the recent past as a result the growing population.
Management of waste products involves a large number of stakeholders, with different fields of interest who play a crucial role in shaping the system of any region (Guerrero, Abarca, Ger Maas, and William 227). Pollution is a major concern to many people because of the related adversities that are connected to the problem, for instance the health hazards that come with it. Human beings are well known to like comfort at costs which are minimum and this can only be achieved if the environment is clean and friendly to all living things. Solid waste management through recycling is something that has to do with behavior change among the population. The results of this has been the focus on the short term gains with little or no thought spared for the long term consequences of our behavior. Most pollutants of the surroundings are materials which have been used by human beings and are disposed of because they appear to have no economical values to the users.
Waste materials are not dirty and meaningless since technology can be used to recycle them and aid us gain some extra money as well as cut cost by buying plastic bags to pack waste. Plastic bags pose a hazard to the surroundings and this threat can be avoided by recycling because they can be easily re-used. There are many benefits to recycling paper, plastic, glass and aluminum; such as saving energy, saving money, reducing air pollution, and even creating jobs which not only benefit the environment but the economy as well.
Demolition of buildings which results to waste materials is brought by design errors, improper procurement and planning, inefficient handling of materials, residues of raw materials and unexpected changes in building design can be best handled by recycling (Yemenis 2). The building sector is also another pollutant of the environment which can be managed if strategies are put in place to reduce operation energy through the enhancement of energy efficiency and the spread of renewable energy technologies. Design of low energy buildings directly addresses the target of reducing the operating energy, by improving the thermal insulation of the building envelope, reducing infiltration losses, recovering heat from ventilation air and/or waste water, installing alternative energy using systems and renewable energy technologies for heating, domestic hot water and electricity generation (Beccali 4). The recycling of materials which are demolished can be used to save energy and avoid disposal of the waste materials which pose a threat to the life of living things in the environment.
Over the past few years, the amount of consumer and business electronic equipment has increased in the whole world due to the technological changes that have occurred in the last century. “The changes in information technologies, the increasing versatility of electronic devices and the downward trend in prices have led to a reduction in the lifespan for most electronic equipments” (Tanskanen 1001). It is difficult to recycle electronics products which no longer have life because they contain many forms of material types integrated into each other and thus making it hard to effectively separate them without destroying them. Electronic materials contain substances that are hazardous, for instance, mercury and cadmium, which are detrimental to the surroundings if inadequately treated and disposed of whereas others contain profitable materials if recovered through recycling. Electronic waste materials can be recycled to produce products of economic value and prevent them from releasing harmful substances to the environment.
Recycling of electronic materials is useful because if the components of the materials are successfully recovered in the process they can be used to make other products. Used electronic products have large amounts of materials which are valuable, and recycling them generates profit not only to those companies that recycle them but also to the environment. Plastics are often coated with substances which are harmful to the environment and are seen to be impurities in recycling, making the material to have no value for the reason that they become less profitable. Plastics can also be used as fuel in the recycling process of copper and precious metals. Recycling of electronic waste materials is not only useful to the company that engage in the production but also to the surroundings for the reason that they remove hazardous substances from the surroundings. Electronic materials are made up of many substances which are harmful to the environment and improper disposal of such materials without recycling them pollutes the environment thus posing threats to inhabitants of the earth like human beings and animals.
On the other hand, it is argued that recycling may not be the best solution to pollution because the process of recycling has some harmful impacts to human beings and the environment. The process of recycling is not always cost-effective because more resources which could be used in other activities are used to recycle old products. Setting up new recycling unit incurs lots of expenses due to the huge costs that come up as a part of acquiring different utility vehicles, upgrading the processing facility, educating residents by organizing seminars and other programs, disposing of existing waste and chemicals among many others. Sometimes, there may be need to come up with factories to process reusable products; this may create more pollution as they would go under the process of cleaning, storage and transportation and produce even more harmful materials to the surroundings. Creation of a factory to recycle use materials may also pollute the environment because the factory will produce waste products which may be more harmful than the used material. Recycling is not the best solution to pollution because it further pollutes the environment through the production of more harmful substances as waste products. In addition, those sites which are used for recycling are often unsafe for the reason that all waste materials are dumped their thereby providing a conducive environment for spread of diseases because they release harmful chemicals to the environment. It is better to have recycling industries than not to have them at all because they help in mitigating the effects of waste materials. Air pollution has another aspect, it is linked more directly to recycling: if we recycle, we avoid the option of incineration, which is perceived as putting “noxious fumes” into the air, and thus harming us more than the incineration might help us by generating energy, saving space and providing sanitary disposal.
This not only causes widespread pollution but is harmful for dedicated people who recycle such products and poses threats to their health. Based on classical arguments critics of recycling also opine that recycling is not a solution to pollution because it is just a small part of a long-term success and cannot be used in massive pollution like oil spillage. The process of recycling waste materials occurs at a small scale and has thus failed to be beneficial at a large scale. Saving papers at schools cannot be compared to oil spills or massive tree felling at industrial level which have adverse impacts to the environment as compared to pollution at small scale. An emphasis on the positive effects of recycling and enhancing the availability of recycling options is not adequate to save the environment and is thus not the best solution to pollution.
Recycling sites are often unhygienic and unsafe and further pollutes the environment when the materials that are being recycled are broken down. For instance, methane gas produced during the recycling process further pollutes the environment by causing the depletion of the ozone layer. Recycling in factories also leads to the pollution of water sources, traces of toxins that are produced during the recycling process seep in underground sources of water and causes further pollution to the environment thus indicating that recycling is not the best solution to pollution. Processes of recycling, for instance, the bleaching process, expose people to conditions that are harmful their health and further pollutes the surroundings. Substances used to recycle contain metals made up of copper, lead, zinc, chromium and cadmium, the substances contains dioxins which further pollute the environment. “The current role of recycling is totally inconsequential for the preservation of resources as regards all non-renewable materials with a consumption growth rate by the economy greater than 1% per annum” (Grosse 118).
It is better to have recycling sites than not to having them at all because the process gets rid of harmful materials that pose threat to the well being of living things in their immediate environment. Solid waste materials can be put in proper use by recycling instead of being left to lie idle and release substances which are harmful to the environment. Recycling is beneficial to both human beings and the environment if strategies are put in place to ensure best recycling practices. Recycling should be embraced because it aids in waste reduction which is essential for the reduction and prevention of pollution.
Beccali, Marco, et al. “Energy Retrofit Of A Single-Family House: Life Cycle Net Energy Saving and Environmental Benefits.” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 27. (2013): 283-293. GreenFILE. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
Grosse, F. (2010). Is recycling “part of the solution”? The role of recycling in an expanding society and a world of finite resources. SAPI EN. S. Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society, (3.1).
Guerrero, Lilliana Abarca, Ger Maas, and William Hogland. “Solid Waste Management Challenges For Cities in Developing Countries.” Waste Management 33.1 (2013): 220-232. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
Lyon, Scott, and Brian Bond. “What Is “Urban Wood Waste”?.” Forest Products Journal 64.5/6 (2014): 166-170. Business Source Complete. Web. 7 Apr. 2016.
Tanskanen, Pia. “Management and Recycling Of Electronic Waste.” Acta Materialia 61.3 (2013): 1001-1011.GreenFILE. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
Yeheyis, Muluken, et al. “An Overview of Construction and Demolition Waste Management in Canada: A Lifecycle Analysis Approach To Sustainability.” Clean Technologies & Environmental Policy 15.1 (2013): 81-91.GreenFILE. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.
Zaman, Atiq Uz, and Steffen Lehmann. “The Zero Waste Index: A Performance Measurement Tool for Waste Management Systems in a ‘Zero Waste City’.” Journal of Cleaner Production 50. (2013): 123-132. Business Source Complete. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.