Strona głównacelebracjaCzy da się żyć bez śmieci?

Czy da się żyć bez śmieci?

Codzienność wiąże się z produkcją śmieci i to nie tylko współcześnie. Jako gatunek śmieciliśmy od zawsze. Korzystają na tym archeolodzy, czerpiąc bogatą wiedzę o życiu sprzed wieków właśnie z ówczesnych wysypisk. 
Miejsca ustalone na składowanie odpadów towarzyszą człowiekowi od kiedy porzucił koczowniczy tryb życia. Kolejne warstwy śmieci układają się badaczom w spójny obraz codziennych aktywności i zwyczajów. Ilość oraz sposób składowania odpadów pozwalają też ocenić wielkość starożytnych miast i ich administrację – również jeśli chodzi o usługi komunalne. Bo choć często są one postrzegane jako zajęcia niechlubne, okazują się kluczowe dla zdrowia i higieny ogółu. Dobrze wie o tym natura, która o niebo lepiej od człowieka radzi sobie z własnymi odpadami, a śmieci przecież sporo. Każdy ekosystem ma ogniwa odpowiedzialne za dojadanie resztek i wykorzystywanie odchodów, a przy okazji czyszczenie wody gleby czy powietrza. Jak ważne są choćby te pierwsze pokazuje dzisiejsza sytuacja w Afryce. Przez spadającą liczbę sępów dochodzi tam do zatrucia rzek gnijącą padliną. Skutki tych zanieczyszczeń dotykają oczywiście również ludzi. Natura posiada niesamowicie skuteczne systemy samooczyszczania. Zatruwamy ją jednak zbyt szybko. Dziś okazuje się, że nie tylko toniemy w śmieciach, ale i topimy w nich świat. Gdzie popełniono błąd?

Problem śmieci powstaje wraz ze zbieraniem się ludzi w większe skupiska. Nim wszyscy jasno zrozumieli zależność między brudem a chorobami, z odpadkami radzono sobie często dość bezceremonialnie, na przykład wylewając nieczystości wprost z okien do zamkowej fosy albo wprost na ulicę. Mimo że średniowieczne epidemie podszkoliły nieco ludność w aspekcie podstaw higieny, dopiero w XVI wieku w dużych miastach zachodniej Europy nałożono na obywateli obowiązek dbania o czystość obejść i miejsc publicznych. I tak wsie oraz małe miasteczka stały się czystsze. Niższy poziom życia i utrudniony dostęp do dóbr wymuszał tam oszczędność, recykling i handel wymienny, a to redukowało liczbę śmieci. Warto zauważyć, że i dawniej i dziś mniej śmieci produkują małe, odizolowane społeczności. Ich członkowie, mając świadomość, jak cenna jest przestrzeń życiowa, nie marnują jej na wysypiska. Pozyskując niewiele z zewnątrz, starają się maksymalnie wykorzystać dostępne zasoby.
W wyraźnej opozycji do tego stylu życia stoi dzisiejszy konsumpcjonizm.
U jego podstaw leży era uprzemysłowienia, która stała się przy okazji punktem wyraźnej zwyżki w produkcji śmieci. Fabryki i ich masowa produkcja nadal łączą się z ogromem zanieczyszczeń. Tylko w naszym kraju odpady przemysłowe to około 150 tysięcy ton rocznie. Ilość niewyobrażalna, tym bardziej że większość z tych odpadów nie podlega recyklingowi i trafi na wysypiska, gdzie leży już ponad 2 miliardy ton śmieci. Dwa miliardy! I to tylko u nas. Współczesność sprzyja też powstawaniu miast, w których trudniej zarządzać odpadami. Szczególnie, gdy jest ich całe mnóstwo, a tak właśnie jest najczęściej. Bo jeśli przyjrzeć się zakupom zrobionym w osiedlowym spożywczaku, właściwie wszystko jest zapakowane. Niektóre owoce czy warzywa możemy kupić bez zawijania w torebkę i to tyle. Wszechobecny plastik, czyli najbardziej wytrzymały z odpadów, najpewniej przeżyje nasze wnuki. Jeśli wcześniej nie utopimy się w nim my czy wieloryby, które coraz częściej umierają przez połykanie ogromnych ilości tego świństwa.
Oczywiście recykling jest stosowany i pozostaje mieć szczerą nadzieję, że to coś daje, bo dla tworzyw sztucznych zwyczajne brakuje alternatyw. Z danych statystycznych jasno wynika, że coraz lepiej radzą sobie z tym i innymi rodzajami odpadów kraje rozwinięte. Świetnym przykładem jest Szwecja, która składuje obecnie tylko około procenta odpadów, resztę wykorzystuje wtórnie lub przetwarza w energię.Tymczasem u nas zdaje się zachodzić proces odwrotny. Ujawnione niedawno dane Ministerstwa Środowiska jasno pokazują, że do naszego kraju w 2017 wwieziono prawie 378 tysięcy ton śmieci z zagranicy. Sami rok wcześniej produkowaliśmy 303 kilogramy na głowę. Nie ma chyba sensu liczyć ile to razem.

Aby jednak oddać sprawiedliwość współczesny człowiek dużo śmieci, ale też on po raz pierwszy zabrał się na poważnie za utylizację odpadów. Zwyczajnie musiał, bo jak widać produkuje ich potworne ilości, ale – co pewnie ważniejsze – to się po prostu opłaca. Oczywiście nie tylko przyrodzie, ale i przedsiębiorcom. Firmy świadczące usługi komunalne obracają dziś miliardami dolarów. Z chwilą, gdy utylizacja odpadów stała się biznesem, branża ta szuka coraz skuteczniejszych i bardziej opłacalnych metod radzenia sobie ze śmieciami. Jedną z ciekawszych jest gazyfikacja plazmowa. Proces ten opiera się na energii zamkniętej w wiązaniach chemicznych. Mówiąc najprościej wyładowania elektryczne zachodzące w zamkniętym gazie są źródłem plazmy. W przyrodzie najbardziej zbliżona do niej jest błyskawica. Technologię tę można więc porównać do intensywnej burzy w zamkniętej w butelce. Wysoka temperatura powoduje rozpad wszystkich wiązań chemicznych w każdej materii. Można więc w ten sposób utylizować wszystko. Co zostaje z takiego spalania? Syntetyczny gaz i żużel. Obie te substancje można wykorzystać. Pierwszą jako paliwo, a drugą w budownictwie.
Rozwiązanie to jest bardzo skuteczne i wydajne. Jeden dzień pracy takiej nowoczesnej spalarni to aż 200 ton śmieci mniej. Nic więc dziwnego, że staje się bardzo popularna w Stanach Zjednoczonych, Chinach czy Japonii.

Wybrany styl życia sprawia, że jako gatunek nie oszczędzamy naszej planety. Zanieczyszczenie środowiska, przemysłowa hodowla zwierząt czy nadmiernie eksploatacyjna gospodarka energetyczna to tylko niektóre z nierozwiązanych jeszcze problemów współczesnego świata. Każdy z nich wpływa na nas bezpośrednio, nawet, gdy tego nie widzimy. Dlatego tak cenne są pojawiające się ostatnio inicjatywy, takie jak restauracje “zero waste” czy sklepy bez opakowań.Te drugie można już znaleźć w największych miastach Polski. Zadowoleni klienci kupują tam na wagę i wynoszą towar we własnych pojemnikach. Jest tego jeszcze mało, ale kierunek jest dobry. Wygląda na to, że po szaleństwie bezmyślnego śmiecenia budzi się w nas powoli instynkt samozachowawczy. Ale do życia bez śmieci (czy choćby racjonalnej gospodarki nimi) jeszcze daleka droga.

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