The Impact of Not Recycling on Human Health

As an expert in environmental sustainability, I have seen firsthand the consequences of not recycling on human health. The increase in the number of landfills and landfill spills has posed a number of threats to human health. Research has shown that pollutants from landfills can cause respiratory problems and groundwater pollution in people who live near them. Additionally, the production of plastic items, which come from petroleum, generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. However, recycling can help mitigate these negative effects by giving materials a new life and keeping them out of landfills.

It is crucial for us to understand the importance of recycling and its role in creating a sustainable future. For example, toxic dust from clothing worn by workers in plastic recycling facilities can expose their family members to harmful toxins when they enter their homes wearing the same clothes they worked in. The process of recycling plastic varies depending on its chemical composition. In Adana, Turkey, several residents have expressed concern about the proximity of plastic recycling facilities to schools. In fact, a report released by Human Rights Watch in 2002 revealed that plastic recycling in Turkey is damaging the health of many people and degrading the environment for all. One major issue is the lack of access to local air quality information for those living near plastic recycling facilities.

This prevents them from making informed decisions to protect themselves from air pollution, and also hinders medical and public health experts from communicating the risks of exposure. The disposal and burning of plastic waste also have negative impacts on both human health and the environment. In Bayrampaşa, Turkey, dozens of residential buildings are located less than 250 meters from authorized plastic recycling facilities. This puts residents at risk of exposure to air pollutants and toxins emitted by the recycling process. Recycling can significantly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, recycled steel saves 60% of production energy, recycled newspapers save 40%, recycled plastics save 70%, and recycled glass saves 40%.

However, the Turkish government's inadequate response to the health and environmental impacts of plastic recycling violates their obligations under national and international legislation. One of the most concerning findings by Human Rights Watch was that children are working in plastic recycling facilities in Turkey, despite legal protections prohibiting them from working in such dangerous conditions. This is especially alarming considering the presence of other industrial and polluting companies in the surrounding area, which can further contribute to negative health effects for local residents. The Ministry of Education in Turkey requires authorized plastic recycling facilities to monitor air quality, but this data is not made available to the public. This lack of transparency and accountability further exacerbates the negative impacts of plastic recycling on human health and the environment.

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