Since the turn of the century, environmental sustainability has become a hot topic in various outlets global form mainstream to social media. Individuals, companies, and countries all have embarked on finding waste management models that provide a sustained solution for future generations an aspect that has led waste trade also known as waste exportation and importation. Western countries and companies have been known to dump hazardous material in less developed nations to reduce the costs. According to Bergenas and Ariella, the burden of toxicity has fallen predominantly onto developing nations in the continents of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (119). Nevertheless, there has been a change in the exportation of waste. In 2017, China announced that it would no longer import plastic waste material into the country a factor that caused significant issues for the rest of the world. From 2012 to 2017 China imported an average of 171 million metric tons plastic, which was estimated to be 72% of all imported plastic globally (Awasthi and Jinhui 434). In an age of global environmental sustainability, it is clear that there is an impending crisis when it comes to waste management and the new situation in regards to China’s decision is a cause of significant concern.
Waste management is a lucrative business that creates billions of dollars in revenues as well as employ millions of people. A report by Hoornweg and Perinaz indicated that in 2018 the global waste management program generated an estimated 124 billion dollars as well as 1.5 million jobs worldwide (142). The first reason for a country to engage in waste exportation or importation is due to cost or revenue. According to Hajjari et al. global waste has surged from an estimated 7 million tons in the 1950s to 2.1 billion tons in 2018 (445). Many stakeholders are faced with the issue of finding a proper due to the proliferation of waste (environmentally sustainable) place to dispose their refuse a factor that has led to the development of waste exportation. The disposal facilities in most developed nations are scarce considering the authorities do not want to dispose of refuse in their own territory (Hart 34). The regulations of disposal are strict and expensive causing significant financial losses for most corporate entities. For example, it is estimated that in the United States as well as other European nations such as the United Kingdom, the cost of disposing a tone of refuse may be as high as $ 1000 per ton. On the other hand, in the war-torn Horn of the African nation of Somalia, the cost goes to about $ 150 per ton (Cathcart, 162). As in the case of China, countries that accept to import pollutants from other nations make a significant amount of revenue.
Figure 1:Global importers of plastic waste
Figure 1 shows eight nations that import the global plastic waste. From the image, it is clear that importing waste is lucrative business with India making 1.2 billion dollars from importing 3.1 million tons of refuse plastic that is used in recycling plants. Before the 2017 ban, China made 80.9 billion dollars from importing 170.5 million tons of plastic from other nations. From the data presented, it is clear that countries that export their waste do so to reduce their operational costs while those who accept the importation of waste do so because they gain immense revenue from the material.
Positive and negative outcomes
As aforementioned, the global waste business is lucrative. Most nations that export their waste are known to be heavy consumers and value environmental sustainability. Water disposal exportation provides an effective means of avoiding environmental disasters such as CO2 emissions from landfills. With an option of low cost disposal, such nations such as the United Kingdome and the U.S are able to maintain lower prices due to lower costs. On the contrary, the nations that import waste from other nations make significant revenues as well as provide employment opportunities for their citizens. Despite the highlighted benefits, waste trade is only a short-term solution. China is a good example of a country that is currently ill affected by plastic waste importation considering the nation’s high pollution rates. Nations that considered importers of waste ought to comprehend that there are limits that need be respected and when such limits are met it is wise to stop importation.
Throughout civilization, Agriculture has gone through a variety of changes, particularly due to the human population. As indicated by Randhawa, the more the population increases the higher the demand for food thus a change in how people farm to increase yields (6). With this in mind, it can be argued that the Green Revolution remains to be the most notable change in agricultural production in human history. As indicated by Evenson and Douglas, during its highs in the 1960s and 1970s, the Green revolution model of farming excluded all natural factors that aid in increasing crop yield (12). For example, soil nutrients as well as organisms the influences of crop rotation in addition intercropping, and plant-insect symbiosis from consideration.
The Green Revolution replaced traditional crop varieties with hybrid varieties; these hybrids require intensive irrigation, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and increasingly intensive mechanization in order to produce a good harvest. In South Asia, the Green Revolution is still considered the most efficient use of technology in agriculture. One aspect that stood out during its launch is that the new model led to improved global food security; however, it also depleted land quality by killing essential microbes that are needed for the growth of healthy foods.
Figure 2: cereals production in India
Figure 2 represents the of cereal-grains production in India, Pakistan, as well as the Philippines as compared to the yield and harvested areas from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 2000s. From the data provided it is evident that the Green Revolution model increased production and yield by over 50% in a decade and 100% by the 1990s. The hybrid varieties of crops produced replaced the traditional crop. Additionally, they required intensive irrigation, increased mechanization, and introduced pesticide and fertilizers. All of these needed to be acquired from agribusiness organizations or respective government agenesis that set their obligation to guarantee food security. Nevertheless, in both circumstances, farmers became dependent on external inputs.
Before the Green Revolution, most crops were grow in significant volumes a factor that required extensive intervention to make sure the weeds and pests did not negatively affect the yield. This meant that an extensive amount of resources was wasted on the farm leading to a decrease in efficiency particularly for smaller farming communities. With the introduction of pesticides and herbicides, farming became less labor intensive thus increasing efficiency. Additionally, with the advent use of technology either mechanical or chemical individuals in rugged as well as arid areas got the opportunity to grow particular crops. Although famers could not grow onions on the beach, by the end of the 1970s, when the Green Revolution reached Africa it allowed famers to grow a variety of crops in areas that were previously barren thus increasing the region’s food security. Despite the positives of the Green Revolution as aforementioned there are issues regarding the quality of crops produced considering the extensive use of chemicals. Additionally, the use of modern technology is that it employs mono-culturing a model of farming that requires the use of significant tracks of land which are not available due to urbanization, extensive use of fertilizer, as well as large amount of water causing a new issue for farmers. Lastly, for years there have been issues relating to the fact that Green Revolution farming model does not necessarily take into account of the types of soils in different firms. This then does not guarantee high productivity over the long term.
In brief, although agriculture has changed significantly since the dawn of civilization, the most significant alteration came in the form of the green revolution. Since the 1960s to date, famers across the globe have been able to increase their yield due to the increased mechanization as well as use of inorganic chemicals in the quest to increase their yield. In age of increased technological breakthrough, the 21st century is set to host another revolutionary phase of the Green Revolution providing healthier options for the persistent food shortage issue in the global sense.
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