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Recycle Water, Air and Waste - Why We Need To!

By Dave Armstrong - 05 Apr 2013 8:39:17 GMT
Recycle Water, Air and Waste - Why We Need To!

We have a matching pair of water quality investigators. They certainly found out a lot about our bathing, breathing and burping; Testing water quality; Credit: © Shutterstock

The future is ours. But we'll have to work hard to have one if the volume of waste and commensurate shortages in vital materials continues. Recent data in Europe had several countries falling behind in the race to recycle. The Europeans hope to recycle 50% of "everything" by 2020. But Bulgaria and Croatia made no progress at all, while both Malta (understandably) and Norway (amazingly moving from 44 to 42%) lost a further 2% over the last decade. The valuable resources wasted include metals from batteries and plastics that in most cases can be dealt with using the latest techniques.

More close to the natural environment, as compared to the mess of the built environment that we have mistakenly created, French beaches seem to have a lot of plastic - and the rest! While many countries worldwide have cleaned up for tourists and wildlife, it seems some French people haven't. Water quality is the main determinant of how clean a coast is. Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece do well in this respect while some countries with inland waterways have big problems in this particular kind of water quality control.

As always, agricultural waste and sewage need ultra-modern treatment, or at least some treatment to achieve any standards in highly populated regions of the world. In the US, the upper Atlantic seaboard, (e.g. Virginia, Delaware and New Hampshire) has generally better water quality than places like Louisiana, which is fighting high contamination rates. Storm water runoffs and sewage overflows reach some beaches there and elsewhere, causing health problems such as pink eye or even just spreading influenza viruses. Hawaii, as we would expect with all that ocean surf, was pretty pristine!

Back in Europe, where carbon emissions are more highly-regarded than in most continents, renewable energy is putting the brakes on air pollution. Poland, UK, France, Italy and Germany hold the record for the highest pollution costs, largely from the energy industries. This includes heavy metals, organic pollutants, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide as well as, of course, carbon dioxide. Recycle those five countries' waste, and Europe will be a safer place. The costs of pollution, according to The European Environment Agency include health care, productivity losses, impact on crops and material damage.

Now for Africa, India and China!

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Topics: Recycling / Sustainability