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Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe? Part One


By Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

26 February 2017

Is Earth the largest garbage dump in the Universe? I don’t know. But it’s a safe bet that Earth would be a contender were such a competition to be held. Let me explain why. To start, just listing the types of rubbish generated by humans or the locations into which each of these is dumped is a staggering task beyond the scope of one article. Nevertheless, I will give you a reasonably comprehensive summary of the types of garbage being generated (focusing particularly on those that are less well known), the locations into which the garbage is being dumped and some indication of what is being done about it and what you can do too.

But before doing so, it is worth highlighting just why this is such a problem, prompting the United Nations Environment Programme to publish this recent report: ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’.

As noted by Baher Kamal in his commentary on this study: ‘Though some forms of pollution have been reduced as technologies and management strategies have advanced, approximately 19 million  remature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption.’

 See ‘Desperate Need to Halt “World’s Largest Killer” – Pollution’ halt-worlds- largest-killer- pollution/

and ‘Once Upon a Time a Planet... First part. Pollution, the world’s largest killer’. politics/33909-once- upon-a- time-a- planet-dot- dot-dot And that is just the cost in human lives. So what are the main types of pollution and where do they end up?

Atmospheric Pollution

The garbage, otherwise labelled ‘pollution’ that we dump into our atmosphere obviously includes the waste products from our burning of fossil fuels and our farming of animals. Primarily this means carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide generated by driving motor vehicles and burning coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, and agriculture based on the exploitation of animals. This is having a devastating impact on Earth’s climate and environment with a vast array of manifestations adversely impacting all life on Earth.

 See, for example,

‘The World Is Burning’ is- burning/

and ‘The True Environmental Cost of Eating Meat’. true- environmental-cost- of-eating- meat/

 But these well-known pollutants are not the only garbage we dump into the atmosphere. Airline fuel pollutants from both civil and military aircraft have a shocking impact too, with significant adverse public health outcomes. Jet emissions, particularly the highly carcinogenic benzpyrene, can cause various cancers, lymphoma, leukaemia, asthma, and birth defects. Jet emissions affect a 25 mile area around an airport; this means that adults, children, animals and plants are ‘crop dusted’ by toxic jet emissions for 12 miles from a runway end. ‘A typical commercial airport spews hundreds of tons of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere every day. These drift over heavily populated areas and settle onto water bodies and crops.’ Despite efforts to inform relevant authorities of the dangers in the USA, for example, they ‘continue to ignore the problem and allow aviation emissions to remain unregulated, uncontrolled and unreported’.

 See Aviation Justice. air-pollution/ It is no better in other countries.

Another category of atmospheric pollutants of which you might not be aware is the particulate aerosol emitted into the atmosphere by the progressive wear of vehicle parts, especially synthetic rubber tyres, during their service life. Separately from this, however, there are also heavier pollutants from wearing vehicle tyres and parts, as well as from the wearing away of road surfaces, that accumulate temporarily on roads before being washed off into waterways where they accumulate.

While this substantial pollution and health problem has attracted little research attention, some researchers in a variety of countries have been investigating the problem.

In the USA as early as 1974, ‘tire industry scientists estimated that 600,000 metric tonnes of tire dust were released by tire wear in the U.S., or about 3 kilograms of dust released from each tire each year’. In 1994, careful measurement of air near roadways with moderate traffic ‘revealed the presence of 3800 to 6900 individual tire fragments in each cubic meter of air’ with more than 58.5% of them in the fully- breathable size range and shown to produce allergic reactions.

See ‘Tire Dust’.

A study in Japan reported similar adverse environmental and health impacts.

 See ‘Dust Resulting from Tire Wear and the Risk of Health Hazards’.

Even worse, a study conducted in Moscow reported that the core pollutant of city air (up to 60% of hazardous matter) was the rubber of automobile tyres worn off and emitted as a small dust. The study found that the average car tyre discarded 1.6 kilograms of fine tyre dust as an aerosol during its service life while the tyre from a commercial vehicle discarded about 15 kilograms. Interestingly, passenger tyre dust emissions during the tyre’s service life significantly exceeded (by 6-7 times) emissions of particulate matters with vehicle exhaust gases. The research also determined that ‘tyre wear dust contains more than 140 different chemicals with different toxicity but the biggest threat to human health is poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile carcinogens’. The study concluded that, in the European Union: ‘Despite tightening the requirements for vehicle tyres in terms of noise emission, wet grip and rolling resistance stipulated by the UN Regulation No. 117, the problem of reduction of tyre dust and its carcinogenic substance emissions due to tyre wear remains unaddressed.’

 See ‘Particulate Matter Emissions by Tyres’. 20e.pdf

As one toxicologist has concluded: ‘Tire rubber pollution is just one of many environmental problems in which the research is lagging far behind the damage we may have done.’

See ‘Road Rubber’. updates/road-rubber/ Another pollution problem low on the public radar results from environmental modification techniques involving geoengineering particulates being secretly dumped into the atmosphere by the US military for more than half a century, based on research beginning in the 1940s. This geoengineering has been used to wage war on the climate, environment and ultimately ourselves.

See, for example, ‘Engineered Climate Cataclysm: Hurricane Harvey’, cataclysm- hurricane-harvey/ ‘Planetary Weapons and Military Weather Modification: Chemtrails, Atmospheric Geoengineering and Environmental Warfare’, modification-chemtrails- atmospheric-geoengineering- and-environmental- warfare/5356630 ‘

Chemtrails: Aerosol and Electromagnetic Weapons in the Age of Nuclear War’ and-electromagnetic- weapons-in- the-age- of-nuclear- war-4/5617879 and ‘The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction: “Owning the Weather” for Military Use’. weapon-of- mass-destruction- owning-the- weather-for- military- use-2/5306386

With ongoing official denials about the practice, it has fallen to the ongoing campaigning of committed groups such as Geoengineering Watch to draw attention to and work to end this problem.

Despite the enormous and accelerating problems already being generated by the above atmospheric pollutants, it is worth pausing briefly to highlight the potentially catastrophic nature of the methane discharges now being released by the warming that has already taken place and is still taking place. A recent scientific study published by the prestigious journal Palaeoworld noted that ‘Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.’ This refers to the methane stored in permafrost and shelf sediment. Warning of the staggering risk, the study highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on Earth, was methane hydrate.

See ‘Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction’ and ‘Release of Arctic Methane “May Be Apocalyptic,” Study Warns’. release-of- arctic-methane- may-be- apocalyptic-study- warns

How long have we got? Not long, with a recent Russian study identifying ‘7,000 underground [methane] gas bubbles poised to “explode” in Arctic’. underground-gas- bubbles-poised- to-explode- in-arctic/?nf=

News Is much being done about this atmospheric pollution including the ongoing apocalyptic release of methane? Well, there is considerable ‘push’ to switch to renewable (solar, wind, wave, geothermal) energy in some places and to produce electric cars in others. But these worthwhile initiatives aside, and if you ignore the mountain of tokenistic measures that are sometimes officially promised, the answer is ‘not really’ with many issues that critically impact this problem (including rainforest destruction, vehicle emissions, geoengineering, jet aircraft emissions and methane releases from animal agriculture) still being largely ignored.

If you want to make a difference on this biosphere-threatening issue of atmospheric pollution, you have three obvious choices to consider. Do not travel by air, do not travel by car and do not eat meat (and perhaps other animal products). This will no doubt require considerable commitment on your part. But without your commitment in these regards, there is no realistic hope of averting near-term human extinction. So your choices are critical.

Ocean Garbage Many people will have heard of the problem of plastic rubbish being dumped into the ocean. Few people, however, have any idea of the vast scale of the problem, the virtual impossibility of cleaning it up and the monumental ongoing cost of it, whether measured in terms of (nonhuman) lives lost, ecological services or financially. And, unfortunately, plastic is not the worst pollutant we are dumping into the ocean but I will discuss it first.

In a major scientific study involving 24 expeditions conducted between 2007 and 2013, which was designed to estimate ‘the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world’s oceans’ the team of scientists estimated that there was ‘a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons’.

See ‘Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea’

 and ‘Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for first time’. plastic-worlds- oceans-revealed- first- time-pollution since then, of course, the problem has become progressively worse. See ‘Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific’ patch-south- pacific-spd/ and ‘Plastic Chokes the Seas’. the- seas/

 ‘Does it matter?’ you might ask. According to this report, it matters a great deal.

See ‘New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions’. Can we remove the plastic to clean up the ocean? Not easily. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration has calculated that ‘if you tried to clean up less than one percent of the North Pacific Ocean it would take 67 ships one year’.

See ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. Nevertheless, and despite the monumental nature of the problem –

 see ‘“Great Pacific garbage patch” far bigger than imagined, aerial survey shows’ garbage-patch- ocean-plastic- trash –

organizations like the Algalita Research Foundation, Ocean Cleanup and Positive Change for Marine Life have programs in place to investigate the nature and extent of the problem and remove some of the rubbish, while emphasizing that preventing plastic from entering the ocean is the key.

In addition, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity outlined a series of measures to tackle the problem in its 2016 report ‘Marine Debris Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity’. 83- en.pdf

 In February 2017, the UN launched its Clean Seas Campaign inviting governments, corporations, NGOs and individuals to sign the pledge to reduce their plastic consumption.

See #CleanSeas Campaign and ‘World Campaign to Clean Torrents of Plastic Dumped in the Oceans’. clean-torrents- plastic-dumped- oceans/

Sadly, of course, it is not just plastic that is destroying the oceans. They absorb carbon dioxide as one manifestation of the climate catastrophe and, among other outcomes; this accelerates ocean acidification, adversely impacting coral reefs and the species that depend on these reefs.

In addition, a vast runoff of agricultural poisons, fossil fuels and other wastes is discharged into the ocean, adversely impacting life at all ocean depths – see ‘Staggering level of toxic chemicals found in creatures at the bottom of the sea, scientists say’. sea-creatures- full-toxic-chemicals/97846814/ –

 and generating ocean ‘dead zones’: regions that have too little oxygen to support marine organisms.

See ‘Our Planet Is Exploding With Marine “Dead Zones”’. worldwide-marine- dead-zones- 2013-6?r=US&IR=T

Since the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in 2011, and despite the ongoing official cover-up, vast quantities of radioactive materials are being ongoingly discharged into the Pacific Ocean, irradiating everything within its path. See ‘Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation’. nuclear-war- without-a- war- the-unspoken- crisis-of- worldwide-nuclear- radiation/28870 Finally, you may not be aware that there are up to 70 ‘still functional’ nuclear weapons as well as nine nuclear reactors lying on the ocean floor as a result of accidents involving nuclear warships and submarines.

 See ‘Naval Nuclear Accidents: The Secret Story’

and ‘A Nuclear Needle in a Haystack The Cold War’s Missing Atom Bombs’. needle-in- a-haystack- the-cold- war-s- missing-atom- bombs-a- 590513.html

Virtually nothing is being done to stem the toxic discharges, contain the Fukushima radiation releases or find the nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors on the ocean floor.

Waterways and Groundwater Contamination

Many people would be familiar with the contaminants that find their way into Earth’s wetlands, rivers, creeks and lakes. Given corporate negligence, this includes all of the chemical poisons and heavy metals used in corporate farming and mining operations, as well as, in many cases around the world where rubbish removal is poorly organised, the sewage and all other forms of ‘domestic’ waste discharged from households. Contamination of the world’s creeks, rivers, lakes and wetlands is now so advanced that many are no longer able to fully support marine life. For brief summaries of the problem,

see ‘Pollution in Our Waterways is Harming People and Animals – How Can You Stop This!’, our-waterways- is-harming- people-and- animals/ ‘Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act’ waterways-toxic- industrial- pollution-and- unfulfilled-promise- clean-water- act

and ‘China’s new weapon against water pollution: its people’. weapon-against- water-pollution- its- people

Beyond this, however, Earth’s groundwater supplies (located in many underground aquifers such as the Ogallala Aquifer in the United States) are also being progressively contaminated by gasoline, oil and chemicals from leaking storage tanks; bacteria, viruses and household chemicals from faulty septic systems; hazardous wastes from abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (of which there are over 20,000 in the USA alone); leaks from landfill items such as car battery acid, paint and household cleaners; and the pesticides, herbicides and other poisons used on farms and home gardens.

See ‘Groundwater contamination’. informed/groundwater/contamination.html

 However, while notably absent from the list above, these contaminants also include radioactive waste from nuclear tests – see ‘Groundwater drunk by BILLIONS of people may be contaminated by radioactive material spread across the world by nuclear testing in the 1950s’ by-billions- of-people- may-be- contaminated- by-radioactive- material-spread- across-the- world-by- nuclear-testing- in-the- 1950s/ –

and the chemical contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in search of shale gas, for which about 750 chemicals and components, some extremely toxic and carcinogenic like lead and benzene, have been used.

 See ‘Fracking chemicals’.

There are local campaigns to clean up rivers, creeks, lakes and wetlands in many places around the world, focusing on the primary problems – ranging from campaigning to end poison runoffs from mines and farms to physically removing plastic and other trash – in that area. But a great deal more needs to be done and they could use your help.

Soil Contamination

Our unsustainable commercial farming and soil management practices are depleting the soil of nutrients and poisoning it with synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics (the latter contained in animal manure) at such a prodigious rate that even if there were no other adverse impacts on the soil, it will be unable to sustain farming within 60 years. See ‘Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues’. years-of- farming-left- if- soil-degradation- continues/ But not content to simply destroy the soil through farming, we also contaminate it with heavy metal wastes from industrial activity, as well as sewer mismanagement – see ‘“Black Soils” - Excessive Use of Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury…’ excessive-use- arsenic-cadmium- lead-mercury/ – the waste discharges from corporate mining –

 see, for example, ‘The $100bn gold mine and the West Papuans who say they are counting the cost’ bn- dollar-gold- mine-west- papuans-say- they-are- counting-the- cost-indonesia – and the radioactive and many other toxic wastes from military violence, discussed below.

We also lose vast quantities of soil by extensive clear felling of pristine forests to plant commercially valuable but ecologically inappropriate ‘garbage species’ (such as palm oil trees – see ‘The Great Palm

Oil Scandal’ – soya beans – see ‘Soy Changes Map of Brazil, Set to Become World’s Leading Producer’. map-brazil- set-become- worlds-leading- producer/ – and bio fuel crops). This leaves the soil vulnerable to rainfall which carries it into local creeks and rivers and deposits it downstream or into the ocean.

Staggering though it may sound, we are losing tens of billions of tonnes of soil each year, much of it irreversibly. Is anything being done? A little. In response to the decades-long push by some visionary individuals and community organizations to convert all farming to organic, biodynamic and/or permaculture principles, some impact is being made in some places to halt the damage caused by commercial farming. You can support these efforts by buying organically or bio-dynamically-certified food (that is, food that hasn’t been poisoned) or creating a permaculture garden in your own backyard. Any of these initiatives will also benefit your own health.

Of course, there is still a long way to go with the big agricultural corporations such as Monsanto more interested in profits than your health.

 See ‘Killing Us Softly – Glyphosate Herbicide or Genocide?’

, softly-glyphosate- herbicide-or- genocide/5617502 ‘Top 10 Poisons that are the legacy of Monsanto’ food/poisons-legacy- Monsanto.php

and ‘Monsanto Has Knowingly Been Poisoning People for (at Least) 35 Years’. knowingly-been- poisoning-people- for-at- least-35- years/

 One other noteworthy progressive change occurred in 2017 when the UN finally adopted the Minimata Convention, to curb mercury use. See ‘Landmark UN-backed treaty on mercury takes effect’ and ‘Minamata

Convention, Curbing Mercury Use, is Now Legally Binding’. curbing-mercury- use-is- now-

legally- binding/ As for the other issues mentioned above, there is nothing to celebrate with mining and logging corporations committed to their profits at the expense of the local environments of indigenous peoples all over the world and governments showing little effective interest in curbing this or taking more than token interest in cleaning up toxic military waste sites. As always, local indigenous and activist groups often work on these issues against enormous odds.

 See, for example, ‘Ecuador Endangered’.

Apart from supporting the work of the many activist groups that work on these issues, one thing that each of us can do is to put aside the food scraps left during meal preparation (or after our meal) and compost them. Food scraps and waste are an invaluable resource: nature composts this material to create soil and your simple arrangement to compost your food scraps will help to generate more of that invaluable soil we are losing.

Antibiotic Waste

One form of garbage we have been producing, ‘under the radar’, in vast quantities for decades is antiobiotic and antifungal drug residue. See ‘Environmental pollution with antimicrobial agents from bulk drug manufacturing industries… associated with dissemination of... pathogens’. 1007-2 However, given that the bulk of this waste is secretly discharged untreated into waterways by the big pharmaceutical companies – see ‘Big Pharma fails to disclose antibiotic waste leaked from factories’  ttps:// 24/big-pharma- fails-to- disclose-waste- leaked- from-factories –

the microbes are able to ‘build up resistance to the ingredients in the medicines that are supposed to kill them’ thus ‘fuelling the creation of deadly superbugs’. Moreover, because the resistant microbes travel easily and have multiplied in huge numbers all over the world, they have created ‘a grave public health emergency that is already thought to kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.’

Are governments acting to end this practice? According to the recent and most comprehensive study of the problem ‘international regulators are allowing dirty drug production methods to continue unchecked’. See ‘Big Pharma’s pollution is creating deadly superbugs while the world looks the other way’. 06/big-pharmas- pollution-is- creating-deadly- superbugs-while- the-world- looks-the- other-way

Given the enormous power of the pharmaceutical industry, which effectively controls the medical industry in many countries, the most effective response we can make as individuals is to join the rush to natural health practitioners (such as practitioners of homeopathy, osteopathy, naturopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and Chinese medicine) which do not prescribe pharmaceutical drugs. For further ideas, see ‘Defeating the Violence in Our Food and Medicine’. our-food- and-medicine Genetic Engineering and Gene Drives Perhaps the most frightening pollutant that we now risk releasing into the environment goes beyond the genetic mutilation of organisms (GMOs) which has been widely practiced by some corporations, such as Monsanto, for several decades. See, for example, ‘GM Food Crops Illegally Growing in India: The Criminal Plan to Change the Genetic Core of the Nation’s Food System’. crops-illegally- growing-in- india-the- criminal-plan- to-change- the-genetic- core-of- the-nations- food-system/5617473 Given that genetic engineering’s catastrophic outcomes are well documented – see, for example, ’10 Reasons to Oppose Genetic Engineering’ oppose-genetic- engineering – what are gene drives? ‘Imagine that by releasing a single fly into the wild you could genetically alter all the flies on the planet – causing them all to turn yellow, carry a toxin, or go extinct.

This is the terrifyingly powerful premise behind gene drives: a new and controversial genetic engineering technology that can permanently alter an entire species by releasing one bioengineered individual.’ How effective are they? ‘Gene drives can entirely re-engineer ecosystems, create fast spreading extinctions, and intervene in living systems at a scale far beyond anything ever imagined.’ For example, if gene drives are engineered into a fast-reproducing species ‘they could alter their populations within short timeframes, from months to a few years, and rapidly cause extinction.’ This radical new technology, also called a ‘mutagenic chain reaction’, combines the extreme genetic engineering of synthetic biology and new gene editing techniques with the idea ‘that humans can and should use such powerful unlimited tools to control nature. Gene drives will change the fundamental relationship between humanity and the natural world forever.’

The implications for the environment, food security, peace, and even social stability are breathtaking, particularly given that existing ‘government regulations for the use of genetic engineering in agriculture have allowed widespread genetic contamination of the food supply and the environment.’

 See ‘Reckless Driving: Gene drives and the end of nature’.

Consistent with their track records of sponsoring, promoting and using hi-tech atrocities against life, the recently released (27 October 2017) ‘Gene Drive Files’ reveal that the US military and individuals such as Bill Gates have been heavily involved in financing research, development and promotion of this grotesque technology. See ‘Military Revealed as Top Funder of Gene Drives; Gates Foundation paid $1.6 million to influence UN on gene drives’ and the ‘Gene Drive Files’. ‘Why would the US military be interested?’

 you might ask. Well, imagine what could be done to an ‘enemy’ race with an extinction gene drive.

As always, while genuinely life-enhancing grassroots initiatives struggle for funding, any project that offers the prospect of huge profits – usually at enormous cost to life – gets all the funding it needs. If you haven’t realised yet that the global elite is insane, it might be worth pondering it now. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane’. 2014/126767-global_elite- 0/ Is anything being done about these life-destroying technologies? A number of groups campaign against genetic engineering and SynBioWatch

works to raise awareness of gene drives, to carefully explain the range of possible uses for them and to expose the extraordinary risks and dangers of the technology. You are welcome to participate in their efforts too.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is and his website is here.


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