Monday, November 27, 2017

Cultures of Garbage

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Water and Watersheds
Edward Hessler

First a few stats about garbage.

--World production: 3.5 million tons of solid waste/day
--Growth of waste by end of the century: 11 million tons of solid waste/day
--NYC produces the most solid waste
--Dumps produce noticeable amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas
--The burning of trash leads to air pollution with health effects
--The composition of waste has changed over time with less organic material and more packaging, electronic components, and appliances
--300 million tons of plastic is produced each year
--There are 5.25 trillion plastic particles floating in the oceans of the world
--One-third of the world's food is thrown away
--Most waste in Africa, the United States go to dumps
--Europe's waste tends to be incinerated

Stunning stories, videos and photographs from the Washington Post by Kadir van Lohuizen are the result of  visits to wastelands in six major cities, Jakarta, Tokyo, Lagos, New York City, Sao Paulo, and Amsterdam. There are buttons at the end of the main story with photographs, videos and a story showing each place he visited.

van Lohuizen raises a question heard before but which has not yet taken hold. Is waste garbage or a resource?

Right now, the world is drowning in garbage.

P. S. Another culture of garbage? I just finished Margaret Atwood's novel, The Robber Bride (If you've not read it do yourself a favor. I don't read many or enough novels so it has taken me a while to get here although I am a Margaret Atwood fan.). The book opens with one of three friends from college, Tony, a college professor grading papers in the morning (There is another classmate, Zenia,  menancing, amoral, destructive o relationships, a genuine nasty.).

"Sunlight floods the room, made golden by the yellow leaves outside;  a jet flies over, the garbage truck approaches along the street, clanking like a tank. Tony hears it, slippers hastily down the stairs and into the kitchen, lifts the plastic sack from its bin, twist-ties it, runs to the front door with it, and scampers down the porch steps, hiking up her dressing gown. She has to spring only a short distance before catchng up with the truck. The men grin at her: they've seen her in her dressing gown before. West  is supposed to do the garbage but he forgets" (Husband, real name Stewart. Tony writes backward from time-to-time, not always faithfully. Stew becomes West.).

This aspect of relationships between men and women goes directly to basics. 

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