As world marks Earth Day, trash still big problem
A swan stands between dumped plastic bottles and waste at the Danube river in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, April 18, 2022.

A group of wild elephants sift through garbage looking for food at a landfill in Sri Lanka. It’s a dangerous undertaking — around 20 elephants have died from consuming plastic trash from the landfill in the Ampara district over the last eight years.

A swan stands on a bank of the Danube River in Belgrade, Serbia, completely covered by plastic bottles and other solid waste.

And in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a woman sells greens in front of a field of decomposing trash, some burning in piles.

“We are burying the planet in waste and this isn’t sustainable,” said University of Michigan Environment Dean Jonathan Overpeck. “Plastic pollution is particularly appalling. It’s becoming ubiquitous from the equator to the poles and the farthest reaches of the oceans. And much of it is simply unnecessary.”

As people worldwide mark Earth Day on Friday, an annual commemoration going back to 1970, the vivid images of garbage are a reminder of how much waste the planet still bears.

While conservation, environmental and recycling efforts have made strides, humans continue to generate a lot of trash, impacting animals, people, and contributing to global warming.

Every year 11.2 tons of solid waste is generated, and decay of the organic parts of such waste contribute to five per cent of global greenhouse emissions annually, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme.

Garbage is found as deep as it is widespread. Biologists told The Associated Press earlier this year that plastic pollution is found in the “deepest ocean trenches” and the amount found in Earth’s oceans could rise for decades. The novel coronavirus pandemic has worsened the world’s plastic waste woes, research shows.

“Garbage may be at the boring, stinky end of the spectrum of environmental challenges, but eventually, nothing else gets solved when we are up against a giant pile of garbage,” said Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

— AP

A woman selling greens waits for customers in the Croix des Bosalles market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, September 22, 2021. The floor of the market is thick with decomposing trash and, in some places, small fires of burning trash.
A Hawksbill sea turtle that was found on a nearby beach is displayed after an autopsy was performed along with trash mostly of plastic materials, top, and food items, (left), removed from the turtle’s stomach, at the Al Hefaiyah Conservation Center lab, in the city of Kalba, on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, February 1, 2022. A staggering 75 per cent of all dead green turtles and 57 per cent of all loggerhead turtles in Sharjah had eaten marine debris, including plastic bags, bottle caps, rope and fishing nets, a new study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. The study seeks to document the damage and danger of the throwaway plastic that has surged in use around the world and in the UAE, along with other marine debris.
Two Afghan children stand amid piles of garbage next to their home, in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 18, 2022.
Volunteers clean a beach from trash that was washed up by a storm in Marseille, southern France, October 6, 2021.
Wild elephants scavenge for food at an open landfill in Pallakkadu village in Ampara district, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) east of the capital Colombo, Sri Lanka, January 6, 2022. Conservationists and veterinarians are warning that plastic waste in the open landfill in eastern Sri Lanka is killing elephants in the region, after two more were found dead over the weekend. Around 20 elephants have died over the last eight years after consuming plastic trash in the dump. Examinations of the dead animals showed they had swallowed larg amounts of nondegradable large<strong id="strong-6">Photos: AP</strong>

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