The world has a problem with garbage

One of the things I’ve noticed, once arrived in Myanmar, is the incredible quantity of garbage on the streets, in the fields and in the countryside. In urban centers, stacks of garbage become a real street furniture, around which people live, kids play barefoot and in which stray animals scavenge. You can often see, on the sides of the roads that connect the cities, bovines grazing what they found plastic bottles, containers of every sort and other objects already degraded by time and rain. Visiting the State of Chin, around Mindat, in the middle of the forest, I saw an old lady emptying a basket full of plastic and glass garbage down the slope of a mountain, in the middle of the unpolluted forest. Because of this, I could understand that they weren’t acts of incivility or vandalism: the majority of the Country lacks of infrastructures suitable for waste treatment and recycling. Separate waste collection and recycling, relatively recent achievements also in Italy, seem to be absent in Myanmar, even in the collective imagination.

I thought about cities like Milan, Berlin, London and it’s clear how much the world is traveling on totally different rail tracks. The awareness of preserving the only planet we have is growing day by day in our collective consciousness: apps are created in order to fight food waste, there are stores that sell everything loose products in order to limit environmental impact of packaging destined to become garbage and it’s almost a terrible dishonor not to have our own reusable water bottle (better if made of metal than plastic, obviously).

The effort of millions of citizens is with no doubt commendable and every drop can make the differenced, but don’t forget that outside our small “garden” of organic, local, OGM-free, loose, palm oil-free (and so on) products, the rest of the world (the majority indeed) had a serious, extremely serious problem with garbage. Tons and tons of toxic waste spread out in soil, water and air and we cannot exclude that, one day, not so far in the future, the fence of our zero-impact garden will collapse under the weight of an inconceivable quantity of garbage that billions of people keep dumping on Earth.




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