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How long does it take for some commonly used products to biodegrade? How long does it take for some commonly used products to biodegrade?
Pollution emitted in industrial areas represents a threat to human health and the surrounding natural resources. We have a tendency to believe that the production processes are the only source of environmental damage, and often forget about the possible long-term effects of harmful production practices. When deposited, there is quite some difference in the amount of time needed for degradation of common products and packaging, and the environmen...
17 May 2005 - by UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Global hazardous waste generation by type as reported by the parties to the Basel Convention for the years 1993-2000 Global hazardous waste generation by type as reported by the parties to the Basel Convention for the years 1993-2000
Hazardous wastes can often be recycled in an environmentally sound manner. Wastes that cannot be recycled must be treated to reduce the toxicity and the ability of the constituents to move throughout the environment. Treatment residues must be safely stored to avoid spills and leaks. (US Environmental Protection Agency).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Recycling rates for selected OECD countries Recycling rates for selected OECD countries
The priority now is to decrease the amount of waste we generate. That means changing our consumption patterns, for example by choosing products that use recyclable material, market fresh produce instead of canned food, less packaging and easily recyclable containers (for example glass instead of plastic). It also means recycling – sorting, collecting, processing and reusing materials that would otherwise be handled as wastes. This graphic present...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Contribution of various waste management systems to greenhouse gas emissions, 2002 Contribution of various waste management systems to greenhouse gas emissions, 2002
The disposal and treatment of waste can produce emissions of several greenhouse gases (GHGs), which contribute to global climate change. The most significant GHG gas produced from waste is methane. It is released during the breakdown of organic matter in landfills. Other forms of waste disposal also produce GHGs but these are mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (a less powerful GHG). Even the recycling of waste produces some emissions (although ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Contribution from waste to climate change Contribution from waste to climate change
The disposal and treatment of waste can produce emissions of several greenhouse gases (GHGs), which contribute to global climate change. The most significant GHG gas produced from waste is methane. It is released during the breakdown of organic matter in landfills. Other forms of waste disposal also produce GHGs but these are mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (a less powerful GHG). Even the recycling of waste produces some emissions (although ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Import waste as reported by Germany, in tonnes, 2001 Import waste as reported by Germany, in tonnes, 2001
In 2000 Germany reported sending 317 528 tonnes of waste to 14 countries. All countries appeared to receive a broad combination of hazardous waste apart from China, which received nearly 50 tonnes of household waste. During 2000 Germany was amongst the top importers, bringing in over 1 million tonnes of waste from 38 countries. Major flows were from the Netherlands, Italy, Luxemburg and Belgium.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Mercury pollution - transport and cycle Mercury pollution - transport and cycle
Mines use toxic chemicals including cyanide, mercury, and sulphuric acid, to separate metal from ore. The chemicals used in the processing are generally recycled, however residues may remain in the tailings, which in developing countries are often dumped directly into lakes or rivers with devastating consequences. The accidental spillage of processing chemicals can also have a serious impact on the environment. For example, at the Baia Mare mine ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environment Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environment
Contaminated groundwater can adversely affect animals, plants and humans if it is removed from the ground by manmade or natural processes. Depending on the geology of the area, groundwater may rise to the surface through springs or seeps, fl ow laterally into nearby rivers, streams, or ponds, or sink deeper into the earth. In many parts of the world, groundwater is pumped out of the ground to be used for drinking, bathing, other household uses, a...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Composition of transboundary waste Composition of transboundary waste
According to the Basel Convention reports, of more than 300 million tonnes of waste (including hazardous and other waste) generated worldwide in 2000, a little less that 2% was exported. However 90% of the exported waste was classifi ed as hazardous. The principal waste export by volume was lead and lead compounds bound for recycling.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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The richer we get, the more we discard - human consumption, waste and living standards The richer we get, the more we discard - human consumption, waste and living standards
According to various scenarios, the economic development (presented in this graphic as Gross Domestic Product, GDP) will most likely continue for the next decades – but at a slower pace for those countries that can afford advanced waste management strategies. As 1.3 billion Chinese thunder into the great pleasures of consumption, municipal waste is certainly a major environmental concern.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Soil polluting activities from selected sources Soil polluting activities from selected sources
Contaminants in the soil can harm plants when they take up the contamination through their roots. Ingesting, inhaling, or touching contaminated soil, as well as eating plants or animals that have accumulated soil contaminants can adversely impact the health of humans and animals.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Who gets the trash? Who gets the trash?
As we continually update and invent new products the life of the old ones is getting shorter and shorter. Like shipbreaking, e-waste recycling involves the major producers and users, shipping the obsolete products to Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. But instead of being “green” we are exporting a sack full of problems to people who have to choose between poverty or poison. This graphic illustrates major receivers of e-waste in Asia.
07 Nov 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Emissions of organic water pollutants Emissions of organic water pollutants
Pollution emitted in industrial areas represents a threat to human health and the surrounding natural resources. We have a tendency to believe that the production processes are the only source of environmental damage, and often forget about the possible long-term effects of harmful production practices.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Mining waste rock Mining waste rock
Regardless of the type of raw material, its extraction always comes with an environmental cost. Most mining leaves a lasting and damaging environmental footprint. For example, during the extraction of common metals like copper, lead or zinc from the earth both metal-bearing rock, called ore, and “overburden”, the dirt and rock that covers the ore are removed. At a typical copper mine around 125 tonnes of ore are excavated to produce just one ton...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Changing percentages of selected municipal wastes Changing percentages of selected municipal wastes
Municipal waste is everything collected and treated by municipalities. Only part of it is comes from households, the rest is generated by small businesses, commercial and other municipal activities. A typical trend: as countries get richer, the organic share decreases whereas the paper and plastic ones increase.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Pesticides stockpiles in Africa Pesticides stockpiles in Africa
Mountains of obsolete pesticides are stockpiled in Africa. Problems with labelling, storage, and the supply of unsuitable products, means that they sit around unused, some for as long as 40 years. They include poisons long ago banned (e.g. DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, and others). In some cases the pesticides have leaked from damaged containers. Unable to dispose of them safely the likelihood is that the piles will continue to gr...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Total fertilizer consumption in the countries bordering the Black Sea in the 1990`s Total fertilizer consumption in the countries bordering the Black Sea in the 1990`s
Illustration in a set of graphics prepared for a pilot assessment report on the Black Sea drainage basin, for the UNEP Global Impact on Waters Assessment (GIWA). All data and information were prepared in close collaboration with the GIWA Black Sea team and the GIWA secretariat. The graphics were not used in this form in the final report on the Black Sea, published in 2005.
07 Nov 2006 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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World coal consumption World coal consumption
The graphic shows the world coal consumption from various regions in comparison to the world totals. It shows trends from 1990 to 1999 and predicts the patterns to 2020. The predictions to 2020 show a decrease in coal consumption in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Ùion. However, it shows a considerable increase in the North America and developing countries, causing the total global consumption to increase.
28 Sep 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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World oil consumption World oil consumption
The graphic the world oil consumption from various regions in comparison to the world totals. It shows trends from 1990 to 2001 and predicts the patterns to 2020. These predictions show an increase in total world oil consumption.
28 Sep 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Consumption of commercial energy for selected regions Consumption of commercial energy for selected regions
The graphic shows the amount of energy in gigajoules used by Africa and other parts of the world. North America is by far the biggest consumer of commercial energy, peaking at close to 350 gigajoules in 1995.
28 Sep 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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