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Lifestyle choices that affect climate change

Contrary to popular belief that climate change is a large-scale issue that a person’s everyday choices don’t as much as exacerbate it is a mistake. The little things a person does on a daily basis have a huge impact on the environment.

Something as simple as consuming food and buying clothes could affect the planet as they produce tons of garbage that end up in landfills which then produce methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. 

Buying too much food

Lifestyle choices that affect climate change

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one-third of food items produced yearly are wasted. The unconsumed or excess food adds to carbon emissions that harm the environment. Getting only the amount of food a person or the household can consume helps avoid wastage.

Buying too many clothes 

Lifestyle choices that affect climate change

The fast-changing fashion landscape comes at a huge cost to the environment as it contributes to water pollution, toxic chemical use, and textile waste. To help Mother Nature, re-use old clothes and practice smart shopping for new clothes. Buy clothes that will not go out of fashion and/or those that can be styled in different ways.

Using disposable products 

Lifestyle choices that affect climate change

Disposable items lead to more waste. While they make life more convenient, they also cause pollution and resource depletion. Paper cups, plastic water bottles, disposable cutlery, plastic bags, and food packaging are harmful to the environment. Avoid using them and opt for portable tea mugs, tumblers, reusable cutlery, eco bags, and airtight containers that can be used again and again.

Owning a lot of electronic gadgets 

Lifestyle choices that affect climate change

E-waste or e-scrap is waste from electronic and electrical devices like DVD and music players, televisions, telephones, computers, vacuum cleaners and similar things. Some e-waste (like TV) contains lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominates flame retardants that are harmful to humans and the environment. Proper disposal of such waste is very important.

But here’s a viable solution

In a developing country like the Philippines, the garbage problem is worse because of rapid urbanization, economic growth and development, and changes in lifestyle and consumption patterns. Major cities in the country, particularly Metro Manila, face massive solid waste management problems due to lack of landfills, over-flowing dumpsites, and improper disposal of garbage.

An effective solution to the mounting garbage problem is the use of incinerators that use the innovative technology called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis breaks down large molecules of waste such as agricultural residue, scraps, tires, and non-recyclable materials into smaller molecules of gas, oil, and carbon black. 

Lifestyle choices that affect climate change

The common by-product of pyrolysis technology is ash which can be mixed with aggregates for construction purposes. This type of technology has no harmful smoke, smell, or loud noises. If integrated with solid waste management, incinerators can reduce carbon emission from waste transfer, reduce cost of solid waste disposal, and promote zero-waste-to-landfill.

Depending on the type and capacity of waste, there are different kinds of incinerators: rotary kiln, which are mostly used in developed countries; grate incinerators, which use waste-to-energy technology; and liquid, gases, and fumes incinerators, which are used for thermal destruction of gas and fumes and are not suitable for the incineration of solid waste. 

In the Philippines, Clean Air Act of 1999 banned the use of incinerator because it is believed to emit poisonous and toxic fumes. However, in 2002, the Department of Energy and Natural Resources released a clarification on the incinerator ban in the country and wrote, “Section 20 does not absolutely prohibit incineration as a mode of waste disposal, rather only those burning process which emit poisonous and toxic fumes are banned.”

Topics: greenhouse gas , climate change , Food and Agriculture Organization , pyrolysis , Department of Energy and Natural Resources
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