Am I stoned?



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Electronic Waste

  • 50 million tons/yr
    • 66 lbs/person/yr in U.S.
  • Average lifespan of a computer is 2 years
  • Only 5-10% of computers recycled

Electronic Waste

  • Discarded materials (including gold, silver, iron, and copper) worth over %50 billion
    • Poor burn to retrieve, exposed to heavy metals, other toxins
  • Most sent overseas
    • Some e-waste returns to U.S. in children’s jewelry

Electronic Waste

  • EU now requires electronics firms to recycle and to eliminate lead, cadmium and mercury from their products
  • Maine passed first law requiring electronic manufacturers to pay for recycling their discarded products
  • 2012: US requires electronic equipment bought with federal dollars to be recycled

Water

  • UN adopted water as a human right in 2002

Water

  • Only 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh
  • 2/3 of this locked up in glaciers and ice caps
    • As glaciers and polar ice caps melt, this is mixed with sea water

Water

  • U.S. water consumption: 81% irrigation, 6% domestic use
  • Water and sewage system infrastructures decaying
    • 1 of every 6 gallons in city pipes leaks away into ground
    • Cost to upgrade existing water infrastructure = $500 million; to add new water infrastructure for anticipated population growth = $500 million

Water

  • Global water consumption doubling every 20 years
  • Worldwide freshwater supplies dwindling
    • Drying up: Aral Sea, Great Lakes (hold 95% of U.S.’s usable water), Great Salt Lake, Ogallala and California deep water reservoirs, etc.
    • Water extraction causing cities to sink, damaging infrastructure
      • E.g., Mexico City

Water

Water

  • Clean Water Act of 1972 has decreased pollution in the US
    • But 80% of US waterways never receive any comprehensive testing for pollutants
    • EPA estimates that more than half of US waterways are in “poor condition for aquatic life”

Water

  • In developing countries, 90-95% of sewage and 70% of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into the local water supply
  • 13,000-15,000 deaths per day worldwide from water-related diseases
  • 35% of people worldwide have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket or box

Water Pollution and Plastics

  • 120 billion lbs of plastics generated each year, using 4% of world oil supplies
  • Every year more than 500 billion plastic bags discarded worldwide
  • Bioplastics made from agricultural waste using renewable energy could be carbon neutral or even carbon negative
    • Agar (derived from algae) on possibility

Water Pollution and Plastics

  • 80% of ocean trash = plastic
    • 9 million metric tons/yr
    • 20% marine based, 80% terrestrial
    • Only ten states have container deposit laws

Most commonly found pieces of trash washed up on shore One day litter tally during Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup in selected spots around the world

  • Cigarettes/cigarette filters - 2,117,931
  • Food wrappers/containers - 1,140,222
  • Beverage bottles (plastic) - 1,065,171
  • Plastic bags - 1,019,902
  • Caps, lids - 958,893
  • Cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons - 692,767
  • Straws, stirrers - 611,048
  • Beverage bottles (glass) - 521,730
  • Beverage cans - 339,875
  • Paper bags - 298,332

Water Pollution and Plastics

  • 5 major ocean garbage patch gyres (North Pacific, Indian Ocean, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and South Pacific)
  • Great Lakes also affected
  • The world’s garbage patches contain over 250 million tons of plastic debris

Water Pollution and Plastics

  • Texas-sized “great garbage patch” in North Pacific holds estimated 100 million tons of mostly plastic trash
    • 6 times the mass of plankton there
    • Most has degraded to microplastics, which bond with PCBs, DDT, and endocrine disruptors, making this area a million times more toxic than surrounding areas
    • Harmful to marine life; works its way up food chain

Water

  • Out of 191 nations in the world, 10 nations share 65% of the world’s annual water resources
  • A woman in a developing country walks an average of 6 km/day to obtain water

Water

  • Privatization schemes supported by the World Bank, its International Finance Corporation, and the International Monetary Fund lead to price increases, worsen poverty
    • 5-10% of world’s water privatized – increasing
      • $1 trillion market
      • Privatization increases costs, incites social unrest (e.g., Cochabamba, Bolivia)
      • 15% of US water in private hands
    • IFC also investing in privatized health care

Bottled Water

  • Bottled water a $400 billion/yr profit-driven industry
    • 11.7 billion gallons/yr in U.S.; over 50% of population drinks
  • Lacks essential minerals, fluoride

Bottled Water

  • Costs 1,400 to 3,000 times more than tap water
  • Uses up to 2,000 times more energy to produce than tap water
  • 45% is tap water

Bottled Water

  • Ratio of amount of water needed to produce 1 plastic bottle to amount of water in the bottle = 2:1
  • Weaker standards, dangers of plastics, energy costs/global warming, reduction of local water tables, recycling rate of plastic bottles only 23%


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