AMERICAN WASTE © Athena Tacha 2009

AMERICAN WASTE © Athena Tacha 2009

AMERICAN WASTE Athena Tacha 2009 even food. But after WWII, with fast developing technology and affluence, consumerism exploded, starting a tremendous proliferation of waste. Disregard for the natural environment went along with prosperity: more and faster highways, with huge cars and

trucks guzzling cheap gasoline and emitting pollution in the atmosphere and ground water. Who wanted public transportation or trains? And why not two or more cars, one for each family member, with a new car every year, dumping the old one and filling the countryside with junkyards?

Why not have a TV in each room, and upgrade them frequently? Since the 1980s, computers, cell phones, ipods and endless other electronic gadgets are purchased and discarded in vast quantities not to mention the billions of CDs and DVDs that dont disintegrate and will pollute the Earth forever. In 2000 alone, Americans generated almost 250 million tons of solid waste (expected to increase 20% every five years) much more than any other country. The average American household generates about 7 lbs. of solid waste per day.

Some 15% of American waste is incinerated (with dubious emissions), and less than 20% is supposedly recycled. The rest is buried in landfills or just dumped illegally. But it takes energy, labor and money to make new products from recycled ones. Its much simpler to cut down trees for new lumber or for the

incredible amount of paper used, and wasted, daily. Production of cheap plastics is a great American contribution to the world. The food industry consumes much of them: Stores sell prepared foods, vegetables, fruit and water in plastic containers. Plastic cutlery, glasses and plates prevail in most cheap restaurants and cafeterias and now even on airplanes. (If not plastic, its styrofoam or paper.)

The recent chic is plastic or surgical gloves worn by food store employees and airplane stewardesses! The medical industry has become one of the largest producers of waste: disposable syringes, gloves, hats, shoe-covers, paper-sheets, robes, masks, diapers, you name it in masses! The next most wasteful industry may be packaging. Forests are decimated mostly for lumber, but paper and cardboard are also voracious consumers.

In theory boxes and paper can be recycled, but what about the endless foam peanuts and bubblewrap, styrofoam packaging, miles of plastic tape, and trillions of plastic bags? moving slowly. Meanwhile waste accumulates exponentially. Los Angeles alone has 10 landfills, with 90 more in the surrounding area. Puente Hills in Whittier, CA, the largest in the USA, accepted 4 million tons of waste in 2005.

New Yorkers generate 26,000 tons of trash per day, some of it still going to the infamous Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. Every New York corner displays mountains of bagged garbage almost nightly but as many bags adorn Huge quantities of waste end up in the oceans whose currents circulate it. Industries and cities empty toxic sewage in rivers and the sea; boats and monstrous cruise ships routinely dump their trash in the water.

Fish and other ocean life ingest our trash and chemicals, and many die trapped by our discards. The 1.375 billion tons of waste produced yearly by the U.S. livestock industry could be converted into manure for the land, instead of contaminating the waters. But there is no satisfactory solution for the 279 million tons of hazardous, toxic or radioactive waste half of it wastewater managed in treatment units.

With Yucca Mountain, NV, contested, 60,000 cubic meters of radioactive nuclear waste have been buried the last decade in a Carlsbad, NM, repository. Will it be secure from earthquakes and leakage? Americans are not just wasting or endangering the Earths resources forests, oil, or water. U.S. cities are using lighting and air-conditioning to an extravagant degree. And the digital age is going to increase enormously the demand for electricity. True, an average car trip to the library uses 4,500 times the energy of a Google search

(0.2 grams of CO2), while a page of newsprint consumes 350 times more energy. Yet from 2000 to 2005, the total electricity used by data centers in America has doubled, and in 2009 data centers worldwide consume annually more energy than all of Sweden. Narration by Athena Tacha 2009 Images mainly from Google and the Wikipedia (L.A. highways, photo Kalavinca; New York trash bags, photo A. Tacha)

Not a fish story or is it? In 1986, the city of Philadelphia contracted with a waste-disposal firm to get rid of 28 million pounds of toxic ash from the city's municipal and industrial incinerators. The disposal firm, in turn contracted the Khian Sea's ship owner to dispose of the ash, which contained such toxics as aluminum, arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc and dioxins. After wandering the Caribbean for 18 months in search of a disposal site, the Khian Sea travelled across the Atlantic. In November 1988, two years after it left Philadelphia, the ship showed up in Singapore, holds empty, its cargo dumped somewhere en route. (The National Voter, Feb. 1989, p. 5)

Recently Viewed Presentations

  • Report on Status of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease and General ...

    Report on Status of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease and General ...

    Field observations revealed that the disease is affecting all maize varieties grown in these regions, Estimated yield loss in affected fields ranged from 30-100% Contaminated seeds from agro vet shops Government relief seeds Insects damage Frost damage Do not know...
  • Nature of Stars  Parallax is denoted by p.

    Nature of Stars Parallax is denoted by p.

    You have a measure of how long it takes the dip in the light curve to reach a minimum from when the eclipse begins. What information can you obtain from this measure? a) distance from the primary b) mass ratio...
  • Re-Embedding the Market: Governing the Economy After World

    Re-Embedding the Market: Governing the Economy After World

    Darius Ornston. February 19, 2009. The Great Depression. The Liberal Response. The Social Democratic Response. The Conservative (Communitarian) Response. The Agenda. 1. The Great Depression. Capitalism in Crisis: The Great Depression. The Russian Revolution.
  • Role of the Kidney in T2DM

    Role of the Kidney in T2DM

    * * * The major role of the kidney in human physiology is to maintain intravascular volume and an acid-based electrolyte balance. Approximately 180 L of plasma per day pass throug
  • PowerPoint 簡報 -

    PowerPoint 簡報 -

    Strategies Essentialist Construction Re-Creation, Cultural Syncreticism, Conscious Mimicry Mimicry Post-Structuralist + Post-Colonial Theories of Cultural Difference Cultural Difference: with gaps and fissures in need of constant negotiation. (Against Multiculturalism) "Culture as a strategy of survival is both transnational and translational.
  • Diapositive 1 - ChezMaya

    Diapositive 1 - ChezMaya

    Petite annonce parue dans la presse en ces termes: "Jeune Noire cherche compagnon. Origine ethnique sans importance. Je suis belle et j'adore m'amuser. Je raffole des grandes promenades dans les bois, de ballades en 4x4, de chasse, de camping, de...

    SERGEANT MAJOR OF THE ARMY Established in 1966, the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is the senior enlisted position in the United States Army. He is the senior enlisted advisor and consultant to the Army Chief of Staff, providing...
  • ALI139 - Arabic Grammar I

    ALI139 - Arabic Grammar I

    ALI139 - Arabic Grammar I Week 2 Outline Importance of Definiteness, Gender and Number Agreement in Nouns Adjectives (الصفة) in Arabic and how they complement Nouns Phrases vs. Sentences The Nominal Sentence (الاسميّة الجملة) Qur'anic Language Made Easy Hafiza Iffath...