Researcher tackles growing plastic waste
Humanity is facing many serious problems at the moment, notwithstanding the global viral pandemic that is SARS-CoV-2. Global warming and climate change are still with us, water and food security are increasingly problematic for millions of people, and the amount of plastic waste we are generating simply grows and grows.
Kwami Adanu of the Department of Economics at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, in Accra, writing in the International Journal of Green Economics, considers this latter problem. He looks at the lessons policymakers and others might learn in terms of environmental economics.
The research looks at how an environmental solutions decision-making tree might be used together with a plastic waste market to reverse this problem. Some obvious advice for policymakers emerges from the approach such as banning non-recyclable plastic bags, employing centers in that "market" that are both producer- and consumer-run would be more successful, the introduction of taxation to fiscally control the physical problem is also suggested. A putatively controversial finding from the study is that burning plastic waste may well be the only way to dispose of accumulated waste. Although such burning generates pollution, there are ways to remediate that to an extent and the heat generated can be put to good use in powering the plant or heating local homes in colder regions.
Given that common economic policy tools have so far failed us in reducing plastic waste, it is time for radical new thinking, the research suggests.