Alfonso Vázquez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ayer por la tarde estaba el firmante en Huelin y se cruzó con un señor de unos 60 años que parecía un anuncio de El Corte inglés: bien trajéado, buena planta y con jersey de marca (un tío jugando al polo).
En un momento del paseo este sujeto sacó un paquete de tabaco y lo abrió, tirando a la calle el plastiquito que lo envuelve y un trozo de papel.
Por supuesto, el individuo ni se molestó en recoger lo que había tirado, seguramente porque llevaba décadas repitiendo el mismo gesto mecánico, un gesto pequeño pero de indudable falta de respeto por la cosa pública, esa cosa que compartimos todos. Este hombre tan bien trajeado pero con una undudable falta de educación cívica, seguramente nunca ha caído en la cuenta de ni siquiera el plastiquito del paquete de cigarros se puede tirar a la calle.
Su pequeño gesto contribuye a la merecida fama de ciudad sucia que tiene Málaga. Y la culpa no es en su mayor parte del Ayuntamiento sino de nosotros, los malagueños. De Málaga es muy alabado el paisaje pero en cuanto al paisanaje, en general nos tienen que echar de comer aparte.
Quizás uno de los índices de desarrollo cívico de una ciudad se encuentren en la playa. El fumador selvático, en bañador o bikini y con una papelera demasiado lejos de la orilla, opta por lo más fácil, por tirar las colillas en la arena. En la creencia (supersticiosa) de que las colillas son biodegradables y no lo son, o simplemente porque al maromo le trae al fresco el cuidado del entorno.
Los usuaríos de las playas de Málaga se habrán dado cuenta de los cerros de colillas desparramados en varias capas, por la arena de todo nuestro litoral durante el pasado verano y parte del otoño. Una imagen que describe muy bien el subdesarrollo cívico y cultural que padecemos por estos lares.
Pero además, el selvático que deja las colillas en la playa quizás desconosca que no sólo está contribuyendo a guarrear un hermoso patrimonio, además está poniendo, valga la redundancia, su granito de arena para contaminar, pues los filtros del tabaco contienen las porquerías más nocivas del producto, que terminan disueltas en el agua.
Ya ven, se trata de pequeños gestos, como los del elegante e indiferente ciudadano de Huelin, y que sin embargo tienen importantes consecuencias. El índice de colillas en la playa nos retrata como una ciudad pasota y poco higiénica. y luego nos quejamos de los políticos que nos han tocado en suerte.
En el escudo de Málaga deberíamos incorporar el lema que nos hace funcionar todos los dias:
¨Después de mí, el diluvio¨
Although recycling may seem like a modern concept introduced with the environmental movement of the 1970s, it’s actually been around for thousands of years. Prior to the industrial age, you couldn’t make goods quickly and cheaply, so virtually everyone practiced recycling in some form. However, large-scale recycling programs were very rare — households predominantly practiced recycling. Photo courtesy stock.xchng Crushed aluminum ready to be recycled into new cans. The mass production of the industrial age is, in many ways, the very reason we need to worry about large-scale recycling. When products can be produced (and purchased) very cheaply, it often makes more economic sense to simply throw away old items and purchase brand new ones. However, this culture of “disposable” goods created a number of environmental problems, which we’ll discuss in detail in the next section. In the 1930s and 40s, conservation and recycling became important in American society and in many other parts of the world. Economic depressions made recycling a necessity for many people to survive, as they couldn’t afford new goods. In the 1940s, goods such as nylon, rubber and many metals were rationed and recycled to help support the war effort. However, the economic boom of the postwar years caused conservationism to fade from the American consciousness . It wasn’t until the environmental movement of the 1960s and 70s, heralded by the first Earth Day in 1970, that recycling once again became a mainstream idea. Though recycling suffered some lean years — due to public acceptance and the market for recycled goods not growing — it has generally increased from year to year The success of recycling traces to wide public acceptance, the improved economics of recycling and laws requiring recycling collections or enforcing recycled content in certain manufacturing processes.
Landfill Golf Courses What if you could recycle an entire landfill, filled with millions of tons of garbage? That’s been accomplished in many places, where the landfill is capped with earth, planted with vegetation and turned into a golf course. Mountain Gate Country Club near Los Angeles is just one example . One other way to recycle landfills involves capturing methane gas let off by decomposing garbage and using it to generate energy. Another is reusing old landfill pits — where all the garbage has decomposed — by filling it with garbage again. Benefits of Recycling Most of the reasons we recycle are environmental, although some are economic. These include: Too Much Garbage One of the main reasons for recycling is to reduce the amount of garbage sent to landfills. Landfill usage peaked in the 1980s, when Americans sent almost 150 million tons (136.08 million metric tons) of garbage to landfills each year. Today, we still dump more than 100 million tons (90.719 million metric tons) of trash into landfills annually . Even though modern sanitary landfills are safer and less of a nuisance than the open dumps of the past, no one likes having a landfill around. In heavily populated areas, landfill space is scarce. Where space is plentiful, filling it with garbage isn’t a very good solution to the problem. Today, recycling efforts in the United States divert 32 percent of waste away from landfills. That prevents more than 60 million tons (54.432 million metric tons) of garbage from ending up in landfills every year Pollution from Landfill Leachate Landfills cause another problem in addition to taking up lots of space. The assortment of chemicals thrown into landfills, plus the chemicals that result when garbage breaks down and blends into a toxic soup known as leachate, creates huge amounts of pollution. Leachate can drain out of the landfill and contaminate groundwater supplies. Today, impermeable clay caps and plastic sheeting prevent much of this run off, making the landfills much safer than they were just a few decades ago. Still, any leachate is too much if it’s draining into your neighborhood. New Goods Use Up Resources Making a brand-new product without any recycled material causes natural resources to deplete in the manufacturing process. Paper uses wood pulp from trees, while the manufacture of plastics requires the use of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. Making something from recycled materials means using fewer natural resources.
Recycling (Sometimes) Uses Less Energy
There’s room for debate on this aspect of recycling, but many recycling processes require less energy than it would take to manufacture the same item brand-new. Manufacturing plastic is very inexpensive, and some plastic goods can be difficult to recycle efficiently. In those cases, the recycling process probably takes more energy. It can also be difficult to weigh all the energy costs along the entire chain of production. Recycling steel certainly uses less energy than the entire process of mining iron ore, refining it and forging new steel. Some contend that the fleet of recycling trucks collecting plastic and paper door to door every week in cities across the United States tips the balance of energy out of recycling’s favor. Energy use is a factor weighed on a case-by-case basis. Money Recycling has a variety of economic impacts. For the companies that buy used goods, recycle them and resell new products, recycling is the source of all their income. For cities in densely populated areas that have to pay by the ton for their landfill usage, recycling can shave millions of dollars off municipal budgets. The recycling industry can have an even broader impact. Economic analysis shows that recycling can generate three times as much revenue per ton as landfill disposal and almost six times as many jobs. In the St. Louis area, recycling generates an estimated 16,000 jobs and well more than $4 billion in annual revenue
Almost anything can be recycled, but certain things are more common. Paper The use of paper in industrialized nations continues to increase, in some cases accounting for almost 20 percent of all household garbage . Although the trees used to make new paper are a renewable resource, old-growth forests are often chopped down to make room for the pulpwood trees, which are quickly planted and harvested to make paper. Recycled paper results in a significant net savings in terms of water and energy used, as well as pollutants emitted into the environment. From curbside and workplace collections, paper is sorted based on the type of paper, how heavy it is, what it’s used for, its color and whether it was previously recycled. Then a hot chemical and water bath reduces the paper to a soupy, fibrous substance. Magnets, gravity and filters then remove things like staples, glues and other unwanted chemicals from the pulp. The ink is removed by either a chemical wash, or by blowing the ink to the surface where it’s skimmed off. The pulp — which may be bleached — is then sprayed and rolled into flat sheets, which are pressed and dried. Sometimes new pulp is added to the recycled pulp to make the paper stronger. The giant sheets of paper, when dry, are then cut into the proper size for resale back to consumers . Glass Recycling glass represents significant energy and cost savings over making virgin glass, because there’s virtually no down-cycling when glass is recycled. There are two ways to recycle glass. Some companies collect bottles from their customers and thoroughly wash and disinfect them before reuse. Other glass recyclers sort the glass by color (clear, green and brown glass shouldn’t mix because it’ll give it a mottled effect). The glass is ground up into fine bits known as cullet, thoroughly sifted and filtered using lasers, magnets and sifters, then melted down and reformed into new glass. Only glass used in containers like jars and bottles is commonly recycled. Window glass and glass used in light bulbs is too expensive and difficult to recycle. Steel The recycling of scrap steel from cars and old buildings has a long history in the United States. Steel is relatively easy to recycle — giant machines shred junk cars and construction waste. In addition, U.S. law requires a certain proportion of all steel to be made with recycled steel — all U.S. steel contains at least 25 percent recycled steel. Once sorted, scrap steel is melted down and re-refined into huge sheets or coils. These can be shipped to manufacturers to make car bodies or construction materials. Recycling Innovation: World Trade Center Steel While much of the steel debris from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center was shipped to China — a market hungry for scrap metal — some pieces were recycled in the United States in symbolic ways. Several tons of Trade Center steel were recycled and used to make the bow of the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship, USS New York . Small pieces of steel from the World Trade Center were imprinted with American flags and used in the construction of NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars .
Other Recycled Items Plastics
Plastic is a serious problem because it’s very cheap to produce, and it’s not biodegradable because of its long, complex molecular chains. When plastic is recycled, it’s usually made into a new form. The plastic is sorted into different types and colors, filtered and sifted of contaminants, then chopped and melted into pellets or extruded into fibers. These materials can be used many ways: fleece fabric, durable construction materials, molded furniture or insulation. Cans Aluminum cans are a partial success story — when they’re recycled, they save 95 percent of the energy used to make new cans, not to mention the energy usage and pollution caused by the mining and refining of bauxite, the mineral from which aluminum comes . The United States recycled 51.9 billion cans in 2006. Thanks to incentives such as five-cent deposits, 51.6 percent of all cans are recycled, more than any other beverage container . That’s why the success is partial — as impressive as can recycling rates are, we could be doing better. When recycled, cans are chopped up, then heated to remove the paint coating. The pieces melt and mix in a vortex furnace. After being filtered and treated, the molten aluminum is poured into ingots, which are rolled into flat sheets ready to be made into new cans . Electronics Recycling electronic goods isn’t as common as recycling cans or plastics. It’s labor-intensive to separate the many components of electronic equipment, and market prices for electronic scrap aren’t high. In fact, it costs consumers and businesses money to recycle electronics, and there’s a variety of toxic materials found in them, such as mercury, lead and chemical refrigerants. However, there are companies that specialize in recycling this “e-waste” and can safely dispose of or reuse these materials for a nominal fee. Other There are dozens of other materials that can be recycled. Organic waste can be composted and turned into fertilizer. Rubber tires can be shredded, decontaminated and made into insulation or other innovative products. If you’re looking for new ways to recycle, simply give a moment’s thought when you throw something out. Could it be reused or broken down in a useful way?
Old Tires into Football Fields The millions of automobiles on the road create numerous waste management problems, not the least of comes from the tires. Left in a dump, they can catch fire or break down and leach toxic compounds into soil and groundwater. However, there are several new uses for old tires. Tires are shredded and filtered of non-rubber components. Rubber Bark uses the shredded tires to create landscaping mulch . Even more surprising, some companies chop tires into crumbs and create a sort of fake soil used on the artificial turf of football and soccer fields. One field can use between 20,000 and 40,000 scrap tires . The rubber crumbs fill in between the artificial grass blades, providing stability to the surface and giving a softer, more natural feel.
Opinion – This Saturday, at 8:30 p.m., people all around the world will turn off their lights for an hour and join a night of global commitment to create a better future. So why do we bother?
In America, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Ayn Rand Centre are laughing at it, and asking their supporters to turn on as many lights and appliances as possible to celebrate human achievement and innovation, claiming that any action to slow or prevent global warming is a move again human freedom.
I beg to differ. I am incredibly moved by the history of human achievement that has brought us thus far. I am moved by the genius of scientists, the skill of engineers and the courage of entrepreneurs who have brought us everything from the wheel to the Hubble Space Telescope, and who are now bringing us solar panels, electric cars and I-Phone apps that tell you when the next bus is coming.
So why do we celebrate Earth Hour? Here are my personal 10 reasons:
• Because electricity is an incredible human achievement, and one we should never waste or take for granted.
• Because 68 per cent of the world’s electricity is still produced by burning fossil fuels, which are the prime cause of the global warming that poses such an enormous threat to our future and our children’s future.
• Because if we cared enough, we could produce all the electricity we need from renewable sources such as wind, water, solar and geothermal power — but we’re not making the shift anywhere near fast enough.
• Because turning the lights off for an hour is a good reminder that all the energy we use carries a environmental cost of some kind or other, and we should never forget this.
• Because year by year, more people around the world are joining in, turning Earth Hour into an inspiring time of shared global action.
• Because the time spent in the darkness, illuminated by perhaps one candle, offers a chance to slow down, relax, talk and feel the beauty and harmony of our Earth.
• Because this one hour can become a trigger for creative action all over the world as people meet, talk, dream, get creative and decide to act together.
• Because we live together on only one planet, and if we continue to use Earth’s resources so carelessly, there will be no one to bail us out.
• Because being human is about so much more than just consuming so carelessly. It is also about dreaming, hoping, a building a better future for everyone.
• Because when we all come together, we have the power to change the world.
Guy Dauncey is President of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, and author of the award-winning book The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming. See www.earthfuture.com
El Gibralfaro – history, vistas, thousands of lovely smelling pine trees, beautiful meandering paths to jog or walk, quiet areas for a picnic or simple meditation – all right in the heart of the city.
I was astounded by the amount of garbage I found here.
Like most places in Málaga, vehicle access seems to worsen the litter problem. However, in the Gibralfaro park there are many areas and paths that one cannot access with a vehicle, not even a small scooter, and you still find trash on the ground. This problem is a question of habit and education, along with disrespect for one´s environment and fellow citizen.
There are areas with so much accumulated garbage you would think it was the city´s garbage dump (not in photo), and I´m not exagerating. There is some major clean-up work needed here.