Good Example Of Research Proposal On Land Pollution In Orange County, California, Buena Park City.
The definition of pollution has been controversial in many ways. While some sources define pollution as a substance that cause harm in certain concentrations or a substance whose presence in the environmental exceed the standard, others define it as any environmental change that is associated with the human activities (Farmer 1). Pollution can take place in the water bodies, land, and air and it can involve various substances, conditions and activities. One of the common form of land pollution is associated with disposal of substances like solids. Certain solid wastes poses negative impact on the environment since their rate of decay is too slow that it takes several years to disintegrate. Poor disposal of such non-biodegradable wastes can create an environmental problem.
Buena Park city is located in Orange County in the state of California. The city is experiencing a problem of land pollution. Every manufactured product has to be packaged to protect it from exposure to unfavorable environmental or physical conditions such as humidity, dust, heat, scratch, and so forth. Packaging also protects the products from tampering. There are very many alternatives for packaging products in the industry. A life cycle analysis (LCA) of any manufactured product shows that the decision of what to use for packaging a product has significant impact on the environment. For example the use of aluminum foil, paper, and polyethene do not result in the same environmental impacts. A survey of the solid wastes in the city of Buena Park show most of the land pollutants are associated with packaging materials. Further analysis of the solid wastes associated with land pollution reveals that a great percentage of the solid wastes used for packaging are manufactured from non-biodegradable material. The fact that such packaging materials are not biodegradable implies that they will remaining the environment for a long time. Their presence in the environment have a very negative impact on the ecosystem including human comfort. It is therefore important that the issue of packaging material is reviewed in the context of land pollution. Although there has been efforts to reduce piling up of non-biodegradable solid wastes, a large fraction of it finds their way into the environment. Given that non-biodegradable solids take long to decompose, even small rates of accumulation eventually leads to environmental damage. In this regard, the best alternative way of solving this problem is to formulate policies that shall compel manufacturers to strictly use biodegradable materials for packaging.
Available statistics show that California State has a population of 38 million residents in the year 2013 with a total annual disposal rate of approximately 30 million tons. This translate into approximately 4.4 pounds per resident per day. 99% of the solid wastes end up in landfills within the state while the remaining 1% is disposed outside the state. The wastes are expected to increase as the economic status of people change in future. Studies show that failure to find alternative means to landfills, much of the wastes will still be diverted to landfills in the future (CalRecycle-a). This landfilling will continue up to when? What about the unaccounted wastes that find their way into the land? The only available alternative to landfilling is to find alternative means of diverting solid wastes. However, this may not be sustainable in the long run. Even recycling is not a solution since not all solid wastes end up in the recycling plants. Wastes by material characterization show that plastic wastes constitute 10.7% (comprising film plastic 4.6%, durable plastic items 2.1%, bottles 1.2%, HDPE containers 0.7%, miscellaneous plastics 0.7%, composite glass 0.5%, and PET containers 0.4%) (CalRecycle-b).
One of the alternative ways of addressing the negative impacts of non-biodegradable solid wastes is to use biodegradable packaging materials. Although biodegradable materials can be transported to landfills, they have result in little long term environmental impacts. Those that which accidentally find their way to the environment shall decompose and thus pose no environmental threat. But switching from non-biodegradable packaging to biodegradable package involves some costs which vary depending on the size of plants and complexities in packaging systems. While it might be cheaper to switch from using plastic film packaging for grocery bags to biodegradable wastes such as papers, it would involve a lot of costs for a manufacturing plant that has to acquire new complex packaging lines for biodegradable materials. Such changes would not involve just machine costs, but costs associated with logistics, labor, disposal of old machines, product delays, and so forth. Table 1 shows comparative costs for utensils carried out in a campus while Table 2 shows comparison of costs for packaging materials obtained from suppliers of packaging materials.
Technology for the manufacture of biodegradable packaging materials is mature. The change from non-biodegradable packaging to biodegradable packaging involves a switch of suppliers.
Biodegradable solutions such as the use of biodegradable plastics offer many social, economic and environmental befits. Since their decomposition is faster, it reduces the burden of continuous accumulation of wastes in landfills. Given that biodegradable products are manufactured from renewable resources, their use promote the overall concept of sustainable development. Unlike plastics that are derived from oil, there is little environmental harm by using biodegradable materials as compared to fossil-fuel based packaging products like carbon emission that has been associated with global warming and climate change. Biodegradable products have been found to consume less energy during their manufacture than the non-biodegradable materials. Biodegradable materials have also been found to be easier to recycle than non-biodegradable products. The other advantages associated with biodegradable packaging solutions is that they are less toxic and do not require dependence on foreign oil, unlike plastic-based non-biodegradable wastes (Greendiamz; Bohmann in Bastioli 208; NIIR 243).
Technology for the manufacture of biodegradable packaging materials is mature. The change from non-biodegradable packaging to biodegradable packaging involves just a switch of suppliers. However, the cost of products will be slightly higher. From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that the benefits of switching to biodegradable packaging far outweigh the costs. A clean environment is a very critical element in an ecosystem. By conserving the environment, the current and future generation would have no challenges associated with environmental pollution. Overall, the social, economic, and environmental benefits of using biodegradable solid wastes in the city of Buena Park far much outweigh associated costs in the long run. With more awareness and improvements in manufacturing technology, the costs of biodegradable products will come down.
Bastioli, Catia. Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers. Shropshire: Rapra Technology, 2005. Print.
CalRecycle-a. California's 2013 per Capita Disposal Rate. CalRecycle, 2013. Web. 18 April 2015.
CalRecycle-b. Overall Commercial Waste Stream by Material Type. CalRecycle, 1999. Web. 18 April 2015.
Farmer, A. Managing Environmental Pollution. New York, NY: Rutledge, 1997. Print.
Greendiamz. 7 Advantages of Biodegradable Products. Greendiamz, 2011. Web. 18 April 2015.
National Institute of Industrial Research (NIIR). The Complete Book on Biodegradable Plastics and Polymers. New Delhi: Asia Pacific Business Press, 2006. Print