The European Union has seriously worried about the prevalence of toxic debris and has banned the use of those disposable plastic products, which have an alternative.

In Russia, too, began to pay attention to this problem. But while the proposals to impose plastic on new taxes are not going further. Maybe it’s time to hurry?

We destroy nature with our own hands

European ecologists calculated: if the case goes on, then by 2025 for every 3 kg of fish in the World Ocean there will be 1 kg of garbage. And on the Russian shores of lakes and rivers, forest glades, in city parks, now one vacationer has a pound of plastic debris.

“I’m sorry for ducks!”

Meshcherskoe Lake is a favorite holiday destination for residents of Nizhny Novgorod. Here come fishing, sunbathing, roasting shish kebabs. But to clean the remnants of the beach table behind them, vacationers do not like to go to the countryside. Therefore, light coastal sand is generously mixed with fragments of plastic plugs and plugs from bottles. If you dig a little deeper, you can find a whole plastic cup or bag. Wrappers from ice cream, packages from chips, plastic bottles, like floats, hang out in the water, get stuck in reeds, and in some places they get lost in islets. The shores of the lake are covered with polyethylene “poltorashkami” from beer and fragments of disposable dishes. Strangely enough, this picture of local residents does not upset.

– And who are they interfering with? – the young woman on the beach is perplexed. – Where people bathe, there is no garbage. And that he is there, in reeds, splashing – so it is from the shore and can not be seen.

Last summer, near a wooden bridge across the lake, a cafe was opened on the water. The tables were placed on plastic pontoons with a wooden covering. The season is over, but the plastic pontoons have remained floating on the surface of the lake. In the spring they were taken out by fishermen – so as not to interfere with catching fish.

“Even if you want to throw away trash somewhere, urns are always hammered,” complains the young mother, strolling along with the sidecar along the shore. – Ducks are sorry. Swim among all this plastic and eat it …

Sandwich with polyethylene
Although you do not have to regret ducks, and us and you – we use this plastic “inside” no less. It was once the Baikal considered the cleanest lake in the world. And in the summer of 2017 scientists in the samples of Baikal water found a microplastic. These are almost invisible particles that formed during the decay of polyethylene bags, PET bottles, disposable dishes, pieces of foam and fishing nets. All this “abundance” falls into the water from the shore. The damage from these small particles can be great. Microplastic can swim in the water for centuries, it threatens primarily the animal world of the lake. Plankton takes the microplastic for food, then “passes the baton” further along the food chain to the Baikal endemics – fish golomyanka and omul. And we, having bitten a sandwich with an appetizing smoked whitefish, and we do not suspect that we are eating a plastic bag, which they themselves threw.

Slyudyanka was recognized as the place with the dirtiest beaches on Lake Baikal. Svetlana Filippova has been living in this coastal city for many years. One of its activities is environmental education.

“Every year we hold environmental actions to clean up the coast,” Svetlana says. – We collect mountains of garbage – and bottles, and cans, and hygiene products, and the remains of food. But you can not protect some of the water in our Baikal. After all, it’s not where they clean it. I believe that there are only two options for fighting – either do not let tourists ashore at all, or do not let them out until they collect the garbage.

Die all life!

“During the spring-summer season, we export 200 cubic meters of compacted rubbish – plastic bottles, plastic bags, glass containers, construction waste,” complains Ilnur Kashafeev, the head of one of the forest districts in Tatarstan. – Rotting household garbage becomes a source of harmful bacteria and can affect the health of animals, sanitary conditions in the forest. We have hares, foxes, wild boars, moose, sometimes a bear wanders about. Birds and animals can accidentally swallow a piece of a package or plate, to which something edible sticks, and die.

And in plastic bottles often there is liquid. In the sun, such a filled shiny container can work as a lens and set fire to the forest floor. What a catastrophe the forest fire may turn out to be, I think, it is not necessary to explain it. It happens that people are just too lazy to take the rubbish to the dump or money for the ticket is a pity, and they unload the waste truck right in the woods. And this is 4-5 cubes of waste, including plastic. Under such a hotbed, most plants will die. ”

We are killed imperceptibly

On average, every resident of Russia throws out 65 kg of plastic a year. It falls on a landfill or burns in the incinerators of incineration plants – in any case, the consequences are deplorable.

The amount of plastic in the environment grows year after year, because this material unlike paper and even metals is not included in the cycle natural cycles. Some types of plastic are decomposed for 300 years, but this is at best. A plastic bucket or bottle, having served its term, will lie about 500 years somewhere in the forest or on the same range of solid household waste (SDW).

Environmentalists have introduced the term “plastic pollution” – the so-called process of accumulation of products from plastics, which adversely affects wildlife, habitat of wild animals and people. Getting into the soil, this kind of garbage releases harmful chemicals that seep into groundwater and nearby water bodies. Such water eventually becomes unsuitable for drinking. As the plastic decomposes into the air, methane is released – the strongest greenhouse gas, which accelerates global warming.

Plastic contamination can cause poisoning in animals, including those that are included in the human food chain. Some of these substances are not only toxic, their structure is similar to hormone estradiol, which causes a poisoned animal to have a hormonal failure.

It is not safe to use disposable utensils and packaging in which food and drinks are stored. Of course, we will not get a quick and painful death (in the products, as a rule, microdoses of harmful substances penetrate), but a slow-action bomb under our health will be put.
What is dangerous plastic for a man?

Firstly, it causes pathological changes in the liver and kidneys, and after all they are natural filters for the body, removing all toxins and toxins from it.

Secondly, the protective functions of the immune system decrease, and a person becomes subject to the influence of external harmful factors.

Thirdly, many types of plastic have carcinogenic activity, that is, they provoke the division of cancer cells.

Physicians also list other negative consequences: visual impairment, irreversible changes in brain cells, the development of heart and circulatory system diseases, the risk of diabetes, mutations, and the acceleration of puberty. The saddest thing is that all this happens completely unnoticeable for a person.

A huge amount of plastic falls into the oceans. There, these wastes accumulate under the influence of sea currents and form giant “garbage spots” (or islands). Now five such clusters are known: two in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, one in the Indian Ocean. These huge garbage cycles consist of waste (the same plastic packaging) that sail from densely populated coastal areas or are dumped from ships. A slurry of plastic particles is similar to zooplankton – jellyfish or fish take them for food. Covers and rings from bottles, disposable lighters fall into the stomachs of seabirds and animals, leading to their death. Every year, 400 thousand marine mammals are killed due to plastic pollution in the oceans.
When burning plastic in the air is thrown out a lot of toxic substances – dioxins. They slowly split and accumulate in the biosphere of the planet, and in the human body, leading to suppression of immunity, oncological diseases and mutations.

Only half the plastic can be processed

How does the Russian industry look at the recycling of plastic products against the backdrop of the same Europe?

“We lag behind the Europeans in terms of the total volume of waste processing,” says Sergei Ovsyannikov, an expert with the Russian Union of Chemists. “However, they also fought for a long time with the old plastic in the simplest way: most of them were sent for their borders. In 2017, the largest importer, China, banned the import of unsorted garbage. Only then did the Europeans seriously think about how to reduce the amount of waste that can not be turned into secondary raw materials.

While in the world practice 50% of plastic is used again. For example, bottles for carbonated beverages of salad, violet or silver shades can not be processed because of the presence of a titanium dioxide dye in them. And packing materials are created generally without taking into account their subsequent processing. Therefore, there are two ways: either to limit the production of plastic products whose life ends in a landfill, or to encourage manufacturers to use materials and technologies that are recyclable in the packaging design.
And here Russia has much to learn from Europe. Abroad, large manufacturers agree and unify the color solutions that are used in the design of bottles. As a result, it becomes possible to process them into homogeneous quality raw materials. And retail chains return to buyers the cost of plastic packaging, if they give it to the store. It is time to revive this system and we.

What can I do by putting plastic on disposal? It is easier and cheaper to process polyethylene and polypropylene, getting a new film, bags, various household containers, sanitary pipes, etc. Processing textile bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PET), including textile fibers, can be obtained. In the West, even fashionable designer clothes are made from it. The most difficult and expensive process is the processing of PET into the final product, the secondary granulate from which you can make new bottles for drinks or, for example, boxes for cakes. In Russia, there is only one such enterprise – in the Moscow region.

In general, our enterprises process only 25-27% of PET packaging into final products. The development of factories specializing in plastic recycling hinders a number of obstacles: there is not enough raw material, separate collection of garbage in Russia is not developed, and most of the raw materials come from marshalling yards operating near large dumps. And landfills are going through hard times.

Private investment in the processing of plastic go with a creak. This production pays off slowly, it is difficult to calculate the return of investments. Recently, the State Duma adopted a law on the abolition of the tax on the income of natural persons from the deposit of waste paper. It would be logical to release those who collect and hand over plastic and glass for recycling. But they did not get into the bill.

To stimulate a decrease in the volume of production and consumption waste, the government introduced an environmental fee several years ago from producers of products and importers. But there is a fear that the funds will go primarily to the development of incinerators, rather than processing enterprises.

Money from the budget – to the dump

A few years ago, 38-year-old Artem Belomestnov took a loan to open a shop for plastic processing in polymer-sand tiles in the village of Petropavlovka, 220 km from Ulan-Ude.

– In 2016 we released the first batch. We thought: what will happen? For clarity, a new product for the village was laid around our shop. Unlike concrete, this tile does not absorb moisture, which means it does not crack from the temperature drop (and in our country in Buryatia, the temperature can be -40 ° C and + 40 ° C). In winter, it does not form ice, that is, it is safe and very durable. If as a polluting medium the object plastic is dangerous, since it does not decompose, then in its processed form this minus turns into a plus – such a tile does not demolish. For production, we use more sand (75% sand and 25% plastic). Our entire village and the surrounding area have been cleaned of plastic thanks to our production, and during this time we recycled 10 tons of plastic – this is like 10 KamAZ trucks loaded with film, bags and other wastes.

Are ready to clear and all area, but while sales at us small. Everyone who sees the products is admired. However, the people now consider every penny, and the square meter of our tiles is worth 100-150 rubles. more expensive than concrete. Budget orders could help us out, because in Buryatia one of the worst roads in the country, and we can produce tiles in the form of pavers, and as curbstone, as well as tiles, drains, fences. But budgetary orders pass by. On the profit of speech is not going – so far it has not even settled with credits. But I’m not retreating. I hope that common sense and money will prevail in the state, which are allocated for the maintenance of landfills, as targeted programs will be given to such small enterprises as ours.

How to use tare in the USSR?

In Europe in the second half of the twentieth century. They used disposable plastic dishes, and in the USSR glass, paper and iron were in the process, which they collected and processed again. In terms of ecology, the USSR was ahead of the whole planet?

“In the USSR, we focused on reusable packaging for two reasons. First, they tried to save everything. Secondly, such are the principles of a closed market system, “said Svyatoslav Zabelin, co-chairman of the Council of the International Public Organization” International Socio-Ecological Union “. – Recycle paper or sanitize glass containers and again pour milk, water, etc. was much more profitable than producing a bottle anew. And citizens could get good money for surrender of recyclables. I drank yogurt, handed over a bottle, bought a loaf of bread. In addition, all the containers remained inside the country, its processing was controlled. And in a market economy, it is equally impossible to force everyone to act. “