A new island has been discovered in the Pacific! It is five times the size of Poland and built entirely of plastic. Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain… of garbage. By 2018, 16 tonnes of waste have been collected from it. A similar amount of plastic debris has accumulated on the beaches of the small and uninhabited Henderson Island.
We are flooded with garbage. We are surrounded by landfills larger than urban agglomerations. Plastic particles float in the air and in the oceans. Shameful remnants of our activity even drift in space.
We have become slaves of instant consumerism. We repeatedly buy, use, throw away and buy new products. The American sociologist Alvin Toffler diagnosed our culture as “the throw-away society” already in the 1970s. Today, over 40 years later, the problem is much bigger. We produce so much garbage that we don’t know what to do with it.
If we were to describe generations from the perspective of littering, we could talk about the “generation of reusable packaging” chose representatives remember glass milk cans and siphons with carbonated water. We could identify the “generation of plastic bags and PET bottles”. However, we all, regardless of our age, are now “the litter generation”. We generate the greatest amount of rubbish in the history of mankind! A statistical Pole produces approximately 312 kg (687 lbs) of rubbish per year, an American – 864 kg (1900 lbs) and Japanese – up to 1000 kg (2200 lbs). This overproduction seriously threatens our health and causes destruction of the environment. Let’s not forget that plastic has the lifespan of up to 500 years – much longer then humans.
Are mountains of waste going to be our only legacy? It depends on each and every one of us! It’s time to change our everyday habits before it’s too late. The exhibition “Littered” helps to take the first step towards change. It discusses the issues related with waste sorting and presents eight different aspects of environmental destruction. The infamous subjects of individual zones are: landfills, plastic, smog, disposable products, electro-waste and food.
About Littered Exhibition
Mountains of garbage
Apex Regional, USA, 890 ha. Laogang, China, 335 ha. Sudokwon, Republic of Korea, 228 ha. Delhi, India, 202 ha. Some landfills cover a larger surface area than cities or even some countries! Waste collected on dumps piles into mountains higher than ten-storey buildings. The world’s poorest people live in settlements located on the outskirts of landfills, surrounded by methane vapours. Their lives depend on the amount of raw materials they collect and sell. At the same time, waste storage and trade is a lucrative, profitable business, and a great way to make a fast buck. Unfortunately, not necessarily legal. Take a peak into the landfills, learn about the history of waste collection and storage, and discover what happens with your garbage.
The nature of plastic
What is plastic? It’s a colloquial term for all synthetic materials received by a chemical modification of natural materials. We have fallen in love with this material – it is plastic, easy to process and durable. We’ve produced more plastic over the last ten years than in the last century! We use it for the production of packaging, dishes, in construction and motorization. Despite the fact that plastic is incredibly durable, almost half of the objects made of plastic are disposable. A coffee cup, a lunch box, or a candy wrap end in a bin just a few minutes after purchase. The first PET bottle was produced in 1973 and it will outlive many generations. Her remains will stay with us for up to 500 years. Investigate the nature of plastic and expose its presence in various, not always obvious places.
Smog emerged when we were developing inventions and building a modern civilization with excitement. It had surrounded us even when we were unaware of its existence. Today, we are more familiar with it and are able to fight it in a more effective way. We know how to more and more limit the release of harmful chemical compounds into the atmosphere, however, we are still struggling with suspended particulates. Before we manage to reduce the amount of pollutants, we have to take care of our health here and now. Learn the differences between PM10 and PM2.5. Check what’s inside the filters of protective mask and learn to distinguish between them.
A disposable planet
We like disposable packaging because they make our lives more comfortable and hygienic. They are always new, ready to use and ready to be discarded afterwards. The perfect solution! There is, however, the other side of the coin – production of disposable items brings about an increase in production of plastic and in the volume of waste. Statistically, each one of us throws away at least one disposable plastic bag a day, having used it previously for just 12 minutes. 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used around the world every year. Find out the size of the space taken by 1,500 plastic bags – as many as a family of three uses annually.
A short life of electronics
The development of technical civilization brought about enormous amount of a new type of waste. We are surrounded by machines that make our everyday life simpler – fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, blenders, dryers, vacuum cleaners, etc. What do we do when a piece of equipment breaks down? We throw it away and buy a new one! We also have other devices that help us at work and make leisure more enjoyable. We can’t imagine our lives without a TV, a computer or a smartphone. And we really like to switch to newer models. What happens with the old ones? They are thrown into garbage. Although e-waste has a relatively short history, its amount grows at an alarming rate, and the recycling process is difficult and very expensive. Find out what are the components of your smartphone and where to dispose of electro-waste for free.
The riddles of waste-sorting
Waste-sorting and processing is not a new fad. In antiquity used products were used to create new ones, although certainly not for ecological reasons. It was an evidence of entrepreneurial and economic behaviour. When the world entered the era of consumerism, the need to create something from nothing disappeared. And garbage began to end in random containers. As a result, we’ve littered our planet so much, that we have to return to the old good practices. All we need is good will, a bit of knowledge and a dash of discipline. Begin your life in accordance with the “Zero Waste” principle by taking the first, small step. Learn how to correctly sort garbage and refute a few myths about segregation.
1.3 billion tonnes, or one third of the food produced globally, goes to trash every year. How is it possible? We exaggerate our needs, we buy too much, and we don’t control the expiration date. However, this can be avoided. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules. Learn them. Find out which shelf in the fridge is the coldest, how to extend the freshness of some products and how to cook something out of nothing.
Dustbins of pop culture
In the classic scene from Sam Mendes’ “American Beauty” from 1999, a used plastic bag dancing in the wind becomes a symbol of beauty and freedom. Follow the trail of garbage in other pop cultural works of art.
more info: http://www.kopernik.org.pl