Global Plastic Remediation Is Critical Infrastructure Topic as Plastic Waste Impacts Food Supplies and More
With millions of tons of wasted plastic, and a growing quantity of it, more solutions need to be implemented to protect the health of food and soil resources, as well as other economic and environmental elements.
As a variety of outdated agriculture and industrial operations produce a growing supply of unmediated plastic and other waste, infrastructure needs to be broadened to deal more effectively with these products. Team Gemini and its team members continue to develop a variety of solutions to address the need to treat and recycle plastic, and help protect food supplies in the process.
Municipal Solid Waste showcases large-scale repositories of unused plastics. Recycling efforts can help put a dent into the sizeable quantities of products that go to waste, but a lot of them have already ended up in downstream ecosystems. Food supplies are already strained from issues like overfishing, food waste, and drought, with plastic pollution adding additional complications that can be avoided with better infrastructure.
In a new study, researchers have estimated that about 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been manufactured out of crude oil since 1950. Of that total, about 30 percent remains in use – in households, cars or factories. A further 10 percent has been burned.
That leaves 60 percent of the total amount of plastic produced to date leading a twilight existence as rubbish, either tucked away in garbage dumps or discarded more haphazardly. Globally, this means there’s about 650 kilograms of plastic garbage per person – out there, somewhere.
And that somewhere is often the world’s oceans. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that 2 percent of total plastics production ends up in ocean waters.
Once there, plastic persists for years, since it’s not biodegradable or digestible. It typically fragments into ever-smaller pieces. Some of that is swallowed by marine organisms, entering into food webs – which is not good for marine ecosystems. Nor is it good for people who eat fish.
Studies have shown ingestion of microplastics can have adverse effects on various marine animals. These effects include reduced reproductive success, slower growth, and more sluggish movement, as well as greater tendency toward inflammation and increased mortality.
What is known is that some small amount of microplastic is inevitably absorbed by human beings when we eat fish or crustaceans.
Ocean pollution is now on the international agenda. In early June in New York, the United Nations in its Oceans Conference aimed to encourage member countries to put forward projects and programs for protecting the health of ocean ecosystems. The G20, or group of the world’s most weighty economies, has similarly put ocean pollution on their agenda with a shared action plan to reduce marine garbage, also agreed in June.
Team Gemini provides innovative recycling, energy, and food production and processing technologies that are among the most efficient on the market. These help resolve issues related to various environmental problems, including those created by plastics. Examples include land-based aquaculture, medical waste treatment and recycling, and energy generation and management that can be based on waste streams and other sources. The goal is to always create a 100% sustainable, closed-loop, decentralized infrastructure model that can work on a variety of scales.
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