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East Timor leads  the way in  plastics recycling

EDITORIAL

Published

e-cartoon-may-25-2019East Timor,  a tiny country of 1.3 million people occupying half the island  of Timor just north of Australia,  will soon have the distinction of being the first country in the world to recycle  all  its plastic wastes. It signed last week an agreement  with  an Australian company  to set up a revolutionary recycling  plant.

The $40-million plant will ensure that no plastic will become waste in the nation, taking the lead and setting an example for the entire world which  is  plagued  today with growing mountains  and  floating islands of plastic wastes.

More  than  8 million tons of plastics are dumped  each year into the world’s oceans, plastics like bottles,  bags,  packaging  for food  and medicine, soft drinks straws and stirrers, with China,  Indonesia, Vietnam,  the Philippines, and Thailand as the top sources.  Most plastics, being non-biodegradable,  could  last up  up to 450 years without decomposing. Floating plastic wastes  now cover  vast areas of ocean surface, posing a danger to sea  life which  mistake the plastics for food.

The  East  Timor plant will use chemical technology to  turn  plastic wastes  into  liquid or gas that will be used  to produce  other  products. Similar plants  are  being  planned  in  Canada,  Australia, and Britain  using  the same technology. But East Timor is expected to be the  first  nation  to  achieve total  waste recycling.

Other ways to recycle plastics  are  being  tried in other parts of the world. In India, plastic wastes are mixed  with  bitumen and used for road construction. And  scientists  are continually seeking ways to produce plastics which are biodegradable  and, therefore,  will decompose like other common  household  materials like wood  and  fabrics.

With  all  the  research and studies,  plastics  will someday cease to be the problem  that they are today. And  tiny East Timor  will have a special  place in this worldwide effort. It will be the first nation   on  earth  to recycle all its plastic wastes,  setting  an example for  all other countries, including our own, which are now  plagued  by wastes of all kinds.

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