The Escapism Economy: Zero Waste Day Sheds Lighting on the Mideast’s Waste- Making Habits

Countries all over the Middle East are implementing new efforts to combat waste, but critical issues remain with waste management.
The world’s celebration of Zero Waste Day, which is observed on March 30th, serves as a reminder of the international effort to combat waste and promote green living. In the Middle East in special, a place that is facing exclusive economic problems such as quick urbanization, population growth, and water scarcity, zero waste efforts provide a beacon of hope. Statistics on the global production of waste are astounding. Every year, we produce 430 million tons of plastic, two- thirds of which are short- lived products that quickly become waste. Experts predict that the annual municipal solid waste rate will rise from 2.3 billion tons to 3.8 billion tons over the next 25 years. The problem with waste is not just its unsightliness. Waste can contaminate the soil and waterways, putting a human health on the ground and in the water at risk. Waste is also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the methane released by organic waste in landfills. Ofira Ayalon, an environmental management professor at the University of Haifa, claimed that the idea is far-fetched despite the fact that some celebrate Zero Waste Day by promoting the end of waste production. ” We’re a consuming society, and there is no way we can become zero waste”, she told The Media Line. One of the causes of excessive consumption was attributed to the difficulties of living in the Middle East, according to Alwynon. ” For a lot of people, shopping is a form of escapism”, she said. ” I want to be seen with new shoes, a very fancy car, and a telephone. I want to present it and demonstrate my ability to purchase it. It’s feeling the comfort from the act of buying. This results in a lot of waste, according to Ayalon. Consumer dissatisfaction is another source of waste. When a consumer realizes that the size, fit, color, or appearance of a new item is different from what was expected, the item may end up in a landfill. According to Alphonson, waste is particularly problematic given the resources used to produce the products we use. ” You need energy, water, and manpower to produce something, even a banana, and when you throw it away, you throw away all of these resources”, she said. ” If a banana goes into a landfill, it produces greenhouse gasses and leachate—the juice of the waste. It goes into water, underground water reservoirs, and pollutes it “.As a society, we need to reduce the amount of waste we’re producing, Ayalon said. She called on Israel’s Ministries of Environmental Protection, Education, and Economy to work together to educate about the importance of reducing waste and to incentivize decreased waste production. ” If it’s not done, the waste is constantly growing”, she said. Eduard abides by the tenets of reasonable consumption and lives in the Middle East. Eduard took Eduard to Ariel Sharon Park, a green space and environmental education facility constructed on Hiriya, a former massive landfill, in 2017. During his visit, Eduard learned about the immense effort involved in removal, sorting, processing, and disposing waste. Eduard began bringing his passion for swimming and visiting the park to collect plastic from Mediterranean Sea beaches, including the village of Mikhmoret. In addition to having a maritime school and a veterinary clinic for injured marine creatures that have been harmed by various human actions or waste, Mikhmoret is a village located about a mile north of Netanya, Eduard told The Media Line. ” Most sea turtles are treated there after swallowing plastic bags, having fins or paws entangled in bags or nets, breaking shells from sea transport, and so on,” Eduardo attempts to do his own part to prevent producing waste. ” I’ve been trying not to buy unnecessary things, using reusable bags, not taking plastic bags in stores, preferring to eat things that can be bought without packaging, for example, looking for places where grains are sold in bulk”, he said. ” I eat meat and fish, but it’s challenging because hardly any places can I buy them unpackaged.” ” I tried to buy milk with my washed- out jars, but the staff did n’t approve”, he added. According to Eduardo, he believes that these issues need to be made more widely known. ” When there is demand for this lifestyle, then supply will appear”, he said. ” But on the other hand, I think we also need to understand that in the modern world, where everyone needs to be provided for and logistics must be as cheap, convenient, and functional as possible, hardly anyone will bother with more ecological but less practical solutions “.Denis, another Israeli, criticized the recent decision in Israel to repeal the tax on single- use tableware. ” I’m annoyed by the amount of single- use tableware in stores and, in general, the large amount of waste generated by one family”, he told The Media Line. ” I believe the efforts to raise awareness of this topic are insufficient,” said one Middle Eastern nation. By 2030, companies in the Middle East waste management industry are actively adopting circular economic principles to improve environmental stewardship and establish themselves as forward-thinking organizations. &# 13,
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Top Stories &# 13, Among other countries, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon have all developed initiatives to reduce waste. Jordan’s initiative emphasizes waste segregation, recycling, and community- led initiatives. Israel uses government assistance and innovative policies to reduce waste and increase recycling rates. Yet despite the progress being made, the Middle East still faces significant challenges in waste management, including inadequate infrastructure, limited recycling facilities, and outdated cultural attitudes towards waste. Ayalon, the professor of environmental management, said that Israel is not meeting its own waste reduction targets. She described Israel as” a third- world country” in terms of waste management. The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Israel’s sole authority on the subject of waste management, set a new goal that is to reduce landfilling to 70 %. About 80 % of landfills are currently occurring. I’m not sure that even this very low target will be met, but this is the current policy”, she said. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev professor of sociology and anthropology Yaakov Jerome Garb stated to The Media Line that waste has two distinct roles in global societies: the Global North and the Global South. ” The Global North refers to the overdeveloped countries—North America and most of Europe”, he explained. ” The Global South is underdeveloped countries—much of Africa, portions of South America, portions of South Asia. For example, with Israel- Palestine, you have the Global North and the Global South right next to each other “.In the Global North, he said, societies face a problem of excess consumption. He claimed that there is n’t much thought given to what happens at the end of the life of all the things we produce and consume, noting that this dynamic frequently leads to improper or harmful waste disposal. Garb claimed that people in the Global South have a different perspective on waste. For instance, electrical waste that cannot be recycled effectively in Israel will be gathered and transported to the West Bank, where it can be either economically recycled or destroyed, he said. According to Garb, things must change in both the Global North and the Global South to address the issues brought on by waste. ” The problem is on both ends. There are no considerations made on the production and consumption sides of what happens at the end of a product’s life, and there are no considerations made across the Global South that waste can serve as a means of livelihood and also meets the lack of resources for proper recycling. On the one hand, the Global South experiences too much thoughtless production and consumption, and the other hand, poverty and a lack of opportunities. When those two things meet each other, it’s bad news”, he said.