Dr. Allaberdi Ilyasov raised the problematic issues of environmental pollution and pointed out possible ways of solving them.
Scientific and technological progress led to a number of new, very complex problems for mankind. And humanity hasn’t faced such kinds of problems before or they were not so big. This is the relationship between man and the environment. In Turkmenistan, along with using the latest technologies in the industry, special attention is paid to the requirements of environmental safety.
In an interview to CentralAsia.news, an analyst, the famous Turkmen scientist, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Allaberdi Ilyasov told about the approaches to solving these urgent problems within republican significance and planetary global scale.
Environmental protection is a key vector of the policy of Turkmenistan
In the modern history of Turkmenistan, a number of progressive laws have been adopted in the field of nature protection. These are, first of all, the laws «On nature protection», «On environmental audit», «On environmental information», «On environmental expertise». And these legislative documents are showing the results — economic mechanisms to reduce environmental pollution started to be rapidly introduced into the state practice.
Respect for nature has become one of the main directions of the state policy of Turkmenistan. The «green development» strategy was marked by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov as one of the mechanisms for sustainable economic and social progress based on innovative technologies and best practices.
The policy pursued by the head of the state in the field of ecology is harmoniously combined with the policy of stable development of the world community and the protection of the planet’s ecosystems. Therefore, the preservation of nature for the present and future generations has become the most important goal of the president’s socio-economic policy.
The main reasons for the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem
The development of civilization, its productive forces have created the problem of limited natural resources, violation of the dynamic equilibrium of the system society — nature. It is impossible to find a place on Earth where pollutants are not present in one concentration or another. Even in the ice of Antarctica, where there are no industrial facilities, scientists have discovered toxic substances of industrial origin. They are brought here by streams of atmospheric air. Currently, human economic activity is increasingly becoming the main source of pollution of the atmosphere and the environment.
The depletion of land resources can be cited as an example of the degradation of the natural environment as a result of the unsustainable use of natural resources. As a result of soil degradation processes, about 7 million hectares of fertile lands are annually removed from the world agricultural turnover.
The main reasons for this process are growing urbanization, water, and wind erosion, as well as chemical (clogging with heavy metals, chemical compounds) and physical (destruction of the soil cover during mining, construction, and other works) degradation. The process of «freezing» of soils is especially intense in arid lands, which occupy about 6 million square kilometers and are most characteristic of Asia and Africa.
Another reason for the depletion of the natural environment is its pollution with waste from production and non-production activities of man. This waste is divided into solid, liquid, and gaseous. The following calculations are indicative. At present, about 20 tons of raw materials are mined and grown annually per one inhabitant of the Earth.
One aspect of the environmental problem is the decline in biological diversity. The damage in this area is already quite noticeable. This is due to the destruction of the habitat of plants and animals, the overexploitation of agricultural resources, and environmental pollution.
According to the estimates of American scientists, about 900 thousand species of plants and animals have disappeared on Earth over the past 200 years. In the second half of the 20th century, the process of reducing the gene pool accelerated sharply, and if the existing trends persist over the last quarter of a century, 1/5 of all species that now inhabit our planet may disappear.
Global problems of ecology
One of the main problems is air pollution. It was the atmospheric air that was the first to feel the consequences of technological progress. As a result, a large amount of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, which is why the planet is constantly heating up.
Despite the fact that temperature differences are insignificant, on a more global scale this can seriously affect the hydrological regimes, or rather, their changes. In addition to all this, atmospheric pollution is reflected in weather conditions, which have already changed with the advent of technological progress.
The sharp climate warming that began in the second half of the 20th century is a reliable fact. The average surface air temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1956-1957 when the First International Geophysical Year was held. There is no warming at the equator, but the closer to the poles, the more noticeable it is. In the Arctic Circle, the temperature reaches 2 degrees. At the North Pole, the under-ice water warmed by 1 degree, and the ice cover started to melt from below.
What is the reason for this phenomenon? This is the result of burning a huge mass of fossil fuels and releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas, that is, it makes it difficult to transfer heat from the Earth’s surface.
The environmental problem of the ozone layer is no less scientifically complex. Life on Earth appeared only after the planet’s protective ozone layer was formed, which covered it from the brutal ultraviolet radiation. For many centuries, nothing foreshadowed trouble.
However, in recent decades, intense destruction of this layer has been noticed. The problem of the ozone layer arose in 1982, when a probe launched from a British station in Antarctica, at an altitude of 25-30 kilometers, detected a sharp decrease in ozone content. Since then, an ozone «hole» of varying shapes and sizes has been recorded over Antarctica. The depletion of the ozone layer is a much more dangerous reality for all life on Earth than the fall of some super-large meteorite because ozone does not allow dangerous radiation to reach the Earth’s surface.
Today the planet Earth is saturated in large quantities with gaseous, liquid, and solid industrial wastes. Various chemicals in waste, getting into the soil, air, or water, pass along ecological links from one chain to another and eventually enter the human body. The structure of all kinds of household and industrial waste is diverse. This garbage, gradually accumulating, has become a real disaster for humanity.
Waste can be turned into income
Until recently, the most widespread method of dealing with household waste in cities — taking them to landfills — does not solve the problem, but exacerbates it. Landfills are not only an epidemiological hazard, they inevitably become a powerful source of biological pollution. The main component of biogas — methane — is recognized as one of the culprits of the greenhouse effect, destruction of the ozone layer of the atmosphere, and other global troubles.
In total, more than a hundred toxic substances enter the environment from waste. Landfills often burn, emitting toxic smoke into the atmosphere. Modern household and industrial waste contain a lot of extremely slowly decomposing plastics.
The most promising way to solve the problem of urban landfills is waste recycling. The following main directions in processing have been developed: organic mass is used to obtain fertilizers, textile and paper waste paper is used to obtain a new paper, scrap metal is sent to remelting.
The modern technologies make it possible to simultaneously solve the problem of waste disposal and create local energy sources. Thus, the garbage will return to us, not in the form of growing landfills and polluted water, but in the form of electricity through wires, heat in heating batteries, or vegetables and fruits in greenhouses.
Development of waste-free production
The creation of even the most advanced treatment facilities cannot solve the problem of environmental protection. An intensive way to solve the global environmental problem is to reduce resource-intensive production and switch to low-waste technologies. This is a production in which all the raw materials are ultimately converted into one or another product and at the same time are simultaneously optimized according to technological, economic, and socio-ecological criteria.
The fundamental novelty of this approach to the further development of industrial production is due to the impossibility of effectively solving the problems of environmental protection and rational use of natural resources only by improving methods of neutralization, disposal, recycling, or disposal of waste.
Many different types of waste can be recycled. There is a corresponding processing technology for each type of raw material. Different types of separation are used to separate waste into different materials.
The concept of waste-free production provides for the need to include the sphere of consumption in the cycle of using raw materials. In other words, after physical or moral wear and tear, products must be returned to the production area. Thus, waste-free production is a practically closed system, organized by analogy with natural ecological systems, which are based on the biogeochemical circulation of matter.
Products of recycled polymeric raw materials
The main mechanical method for processing such wastes is shredding. The technology is based on filling a special injection mold due to the pressure created by an extruder (a machine for molding plastic materials). On such equipment, elements of decorative fencing are being manufactured today, which are beginning to be used in the program of the improvement of cities in the world. For example, posts made of polymer waste, molded «for iron casting» are an order of magnitude cheaper than cast iron. The range of products can be very diverse.
And there is also a pressing technology, which involves a polymer melt, dosing it into a mold installed on a vertical hydraulic press, pressing the product, and cooling it in the mold. The advantage of this technology is the use of relatively inexpensive equipment and molds. Using this technology, floor slabs, paving slabs, curb tiles, and transport pallets are made from recycled materials. Polymers can be used as a modifier for road bitumen to improve its quality.
According to Western experts, 60 to 70 percent of secondary polymer resources are used for the production of fibers and nonwovens. Today, equipment is being manufactured for the production of nonwoven bulk materials from thermoplastic fiber-forming polymers using the technology of aerodynamic melt spraying. The air stream forms a fiber from the melt and sprays it onto a rotating collector, on which the fibers are thermally bonded, and non-woven bulk material is formed.
Products obtained using this technology can be used for the manufacture of sorbents for petroleum products, various filters for liquids, gases, and aerosols, as well as insulation for clothes, fillers for furniture, and soft toys.
Recycling of old office equipment
In economically developed countries, less and less household waste is disposed of in landfills and more and more processed industrially. The most effective of the methods is thermal. It allows you to almost 10 times reduce the volume of waste disposed of in landfills, and the unburned residue no longer contains organic substances that cause rotting, spontaneous combustion, and the danger of epidemics.
However, there are companies in the world that recycle old computer processors, elements of telephones, office equipment, X-ray, diagnostic, and control — measuring devices that extract precious materials and other elements or make new devices, and spare parts.
Phone cases are made of plastic, which has remained unchanged in nature for hundreds of years, and electronic boards contain precious metals — gold, silver, copper, palladium. Plastic components are used for different purposes: parts for various devices, building materials, plastic packaging, all kinds of spare parts. Microcircuits, antennas, microphones can be used to develop new devices (instrumentation and automation) or as their products as spare parts.
Remelted metals are also used to craft new items. Precious metals are a special source of income. It allows not only preserving natural resources but also reducing the cost of their extraction.