The issue that is chosen here is the plastic waste issue. This is one of the major global concerns in the modern day scenario. Plastic forms one of the major parts in the modern life. Life is almost unthinkable without the use of plastics. However, just like the benefits of plastic usage, there are also several negative aspects as well. People often throw the plastics materials here and there without thinking about the after effects. This can turn out to be very dangerous as the plastic does not get decomposed easily. They keep on accumulating within the environment and causes plastic pollution (Jambeck et al. 2015).
The plastic bottles are often dumped into the sea or on land without any treatment. Apart from those, the plastic materials like plastic bags, plastic combs, cans, plastic containers of packaged food and many other such materials are often dumped into the open landfill. No actions are taken to break down those plastic materials into simple soluble substances (Brunner and Rechberger 2016).
As a result of which they keep on getting accumulated and cause many harmful effects. The decomposition of the plastic takes place in extremely slow pace. One of the major problems that are seen due to the large scale plastic waste is the death of the marine life. Tons of plastic cans, bags and other materials ate dumped into the sea and are often consumed by the marine creatures (Li et al. 2016). This is really dangerous and it causes death.
Apart from this, the plastic bottles of shampoos and other cosmetics are non-degradable and are highly poisonous in nature. They are usually non-recyclable and are dumped without proper treatment. They keep on accumulating within the earth’s surface and cause major problems. So, there are many sustainable approaches that are to be taken in this context. They are developing recyclable home decor or kitchen décor materials (interior designing materials). Apart from this, the shampoo bottles and other cosmetic bottles can also be manufactured with the help of the recyclable materials.
The resources of the earth are being used up at a rapid rate and the problems are going beyond the control. In the modern day scenario, the already existing issues are gaining more complexities and the process of solving them is becoming even more complicated. The complicated issues like the climate change of the plastic waste issues are not just solved at their bases. They are carried on for a long time period and are not solved easily. So, finding out the solution involves a very complicated method.
The socio ecological and technical issues are to be taken into proper consideration. The solution for these complicated issues needs a systematic approach. The systematic approach will be a combination of design thinking and practice of innovation. The systemic design for sustainability must be introduced into the streams of engineering and the other teaching systems. This will make the students aware about all the complicated issues that the planet is facing and contribute towards finding out a solution.
The Sustainability design criteria can be considered as the following-
- Using the non toxic materials or recycled materials that will have less environmental impact
- The manufacturing processes must be energy efficient in comparison to the traditional processes.
- Making use of the life cycle tools that will aid in making
Sustainable solution of the issue suggested. Identification of the stakeholders and their interest in the proposed solution
Hence, efforts have to be made to promote the sustainable use of the plastic materials. One of the best ideas that can be used for this aspect is the use of reusable or recyclable plastic materials. One good example can be the usage of recyclable home décor and Interior designing materials. This concept will be using raw materials that are safe and are recyclable in nature. In other words, the interior designing products manufactured from these raw materials will be available and fit for being used for some other purposes. The plastic wastes are to be collected from other companies or the cooperate partners. It has to be assured that the plastic wastes are 30 to 40 percent recyclable or reusable in nature. The plastic wastes will then be processed. It will be granulated, sorted and beaten onto fine think sheets.
These can be used for kitchen décor purposes like sink basin. Once it has been used, these sheets can again be reformed and restricted for the purpose of making new sheets of plastic. So, this will ensure that the products that are being supplied to the customers are purely environment-friendly and will not cause any harm (Brunner and Rechberger 2015). As this is a very new concept the stakeholders’ will be playing a major role here. The stakeholders are the waste collection centers who will be supplying the bulk amount of plastic wastes for producing this recyclable plastic home décor.
The other stakeholders are the employees who will be working in the manufacturing unit. The rest of the important stakeholder percentage is made up of the customers (Jørgensen and Pedersen 2018). They will be interested in this product as it will have the dual purpose for them. They will be getting some good pieces of home décor on one hand. On the other hand, they will be saved from the harms of plastic wastes as well. The rest of the stakeholders like the manufacturers and the entire factory unit staffs will be benefited as they will get a good amount of profit from the sale of these products.
A question might arise that is this the only solution that can reduce the plastic waste. However, this method can turn incredible wrong if they are not circulated properly among the common public. If these management systems are not properly circulated among people, they might not have a clear idea about the same.
The results that can be obtained from the usage of the recyclable plastic materials will turn out to be very useful for the common public. They will be able to get a particular kind of material that will serve many purposes. They will neither have to worry about the interior décor of their houses nor will they suffer from the harms of plastic pollution. The other measures that can be taken are using recyclable plastic bottles for shampoos. Shampoos and other cosmetic bottles are one of the major sources of plastic waste. These measures will help in reducing the number of plastics that are generated every year (Carey 2017).
The socio-ecological aspect of the identified issue
The socio-ecological aspect of the plastic dumping issue is immense. One of the major impacts is seen in the marine life. Several efforts are being taken for the purpose of keeping the environment clean there is still the chance of some of the other challenges being faced. People in the society might not be aware enough to understand or use the preventive measures (Lamb et al. 2018). The recyclable products like the usable plastic home décor, or the recyclable bins might be expensive for them to afford.
Some of them might think if others are not using these measures then why must they? Apart from this, the affordability of the recyclable materials is as one of the major concern in this scenario. Even if these materials can be afforded by people of the higher income group the ones with average or low income will be unable to use the same. They might also think that keeping more than 2 or 3 bins at home would be troublesome.
The ecological aspects of the issue are many and varied. One of the major ecological aspects is seen in the marine life. Every year thousands of fishers use the fishing nets and the rods that are made up of plastics (Wong et al. 2015). After being used these rid and nets are often left into the water which in turn causes a huge threat for the marine creatures. Often the marines animals like the fishes, turtles get caught in this net and die due to choking. Same is the case with the other big fishes well (Vince and Hardesty 2017). They often get chocked as they mistake the plastic bags to be jellyfishes or any other kind of smaller creatures.
Idea of self awareness
I think that the waste management companies must be taking a socio-ecological aspect into view. They have to make their approaches available to all the people. They must take care that the plastic waste management methods are not only being kept within the reaches of the people living in the posh regions but are being circulated among the people of the remote and rural areas as well (Schuyler et al. 2018). As per my perception, the awareness has to be created among people. This can be done by carrying on many sessions and campaigns on the harmful impacts of plastic waste and the importance of the preventive measures.
If these awareness campaigns are not taken up seriously they might turn out to be half done. In other words, the measures will not be conducted on the all-pervasive ground. Not all the people will benefit out of it. The Government has to be very much active in this aspect. This is because there might be a lack of proper implementation of the measures. There can also be several issues of the low-cost efficiency or low job satisfaction. This is because people might think that working all day long with garbage is not a good and respectable job at all. Moreover, there can be dissatisfaction among workers if they are not getting a sufficient amount of pay for their labor
There can also be many other uncertainties associated with this plastic dumping and the waste management system of the same. The preventive measures are not always cost-efficient. The cost of recycling is huge compared to the cost that is needed for dumping them in the landfills (Willis et al. 2017). Landfills will cost about $50 to $60 per ton where the cost of using the recycling methods will be about $150. So, this indeed is a huge gap and people might not be ready to pay more for getting the recyclable methods of dumping waste. People might also think that this is giving just a false hope of solution or security.
The recycling and the waste management companies will just collect the waste and decompose them into a large landfill. So, people will actually get to know about the importance of the recycling process through proper awareness and campaigns. People will actively participate in these recycling activities only when they are educated and well informed about the actual harm that is being caused due to this plastic waste.
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