Can I get rid of garbage in the Amazon? The answer is known to eco-activist Artur Arakelyan, founder of CETAB Amazon.
I will say in general terms, what environmental problems exist today in Brazilian cities?
The main environmental problem for man is himself. I believe you need to start small. Ecology in own house, backyard, bedroom. How you relate, for example, to the disposal of garbage produced by you and your family. From the small, the big grows. If everyone at least thinks about sorting garbage - and not only does it think, but also starts to take real steps, the situation will change. It is strange to talk about the pollution of the planet when we cannot consciously relate to at least what each of us throws away. To start, you don't have to think too much globally. I am an advocate of the movement from the private to the general. First, everyone must organize an environmentally competent life in their apartment.
Do you understand that I consider pollution to be the main environmental problem, in other words - garbage?
Yes! And what are the problems associated with garbage in Brazil?
These are urban issues. There are several of them. The first is the lack of a waste sorting culture and the second is waste processing in general. There are several environmental organizations involved in various projects aimed at sorting and processing waste. It classified, for example, plastic, glass, paper and something else. And that, in itself, is not bad. The main problem is that all of these actions are chaotic and not centrally organized, as they should be. Everything that is thrown away needs to be controlled - from garbage cans near multi-storey buildings to large containers in supermarkets.
By the way, have I already shared some tricks, allowing to solve the problem of large containers in the city overloaded with garbage?
Yes, this is not just about smart classification, but profitable classification. See what's special: when cardboard boxes are thrown in stores, two things happen. The first is that garbage cans are full of what can and should be recycled in principle. The second is that stores lose a certain income. The trick of life is that if you collect all the cardboard from your warehouse and then return it and take it to the collection points for recyclable materials, you can get about $ 10 per ton. Translated into Brazilian currency, this amount will be around 40 reais. For Brazil, this is good money! The optimization is that they can, for example, be added to the salary of cleaning products and define a task so that, in addition to collecting boxes, they also remove cardboard paper clips. As for the cost of transportation, with adequate logistics, they will be minimized.
From 2020, it is possible that we will have to pay 1 real for a plastic bag in supermarkets. Will this measure help to reduce the use of plastic?
Do not make me laugh. Some buyers will now start stocking packages as a rarity disappearing. I understand that if stores do not offer customers the purchase of packages, vendors always offer this. And sellers are forced to offer, because it is profitable for store managers to sell each package for 1 real. On the Internet, on the packaging vendors' websites, there is a plastic calculator - you can calculate the estimated profit from the profits. It will be approximately 70% of the sale of each package.
What is being processed in Brazil now?
It is easier to say that it is not being processed. These are thin films of plastic packaging, certain types of chip packaging, paper cups with fifty percent polyethylene content, coffee cups, juice packs, tubes, thin cookie cutters in bonbonnieres, as well as cellophane foils in which the seeds are sold.
Furthermore, few know that neither the films used to pack cheese nor the polystyrene trays are processed. This is poison. We will not be, there will be neither our grandchildren on this earth anymore, and polystyrene will continue to decompose. These products are not natural, imposed from outside by manufacturers, and people are forced to use plastic to their own detriment, since there is no other option.
What needs to be done to interest people and increase their environmental awareness?
A very precise statement is environmental awareness. It is necessary to change, to want to develop and live differently - in a less toxic space. And for those who are not yet very conscious, there is a more earthly and ancient way than the world. This is money. The main motivator. How does it work? For example, I explain to the homeless that if they put the bottle down and hand it over to the glass container, they will get 0.40 reais. There is a category of people whose financial interest comes first. In Brazil, there are many, as we live in a poor country. That is why it is important to understand that if there is no revenue from processing, their interest in solving environmental problems will be short-lived. They clearly need to understand