Not simply earth, but space too is full of rubbish - GulfToday

Not simply earth, but space too is full of rubbish

Space junk

An artist's impression of the space debris in the Earth's orbit.

There is far too much rubbish floating around on the earth, both on land and sea. For instance, since 1950, the world has created 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste, 91% of which has never been recycled. Most is hard to recycle, and many recyclers have long depended on government support.

The amount of plastic waste flowing into the ocean and killing marine life could triple in the next 20 years, unless companies and governments can drastically reduce plastic production.

The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report found that the world dumped a record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste last year. Just 17.4% was recycled, according to a report. The e-waste includes television sets and computers among other things.

China, with 10.1 million tonnes, was the biggest contributor to e-waste, and the United States was second with 6.9 million tonnes. India, with 3.2 million tonnes, was third.

The UAE, for its part, makes all-out efforts to keep the environment neat and clean. Every now and then, it carries out campaigns to see that the roads, beaches and parks are free of the clutter and litter that are a given in some countries. In this regard, the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) has been doing pathbreaking work.

Abu Dhabi aims to substantially reduce its consumption of single-use plastic by 2021. Targets set by the UAE include treating 75% of municipal solid waste by 2025 and 85% by 2035, and reducing municipal solid waste generation to 1.4kg per person per day by the year 2025.

There is a lot of rubbish on earth but in outer space? Yes. You got it right. There is also a lot of waste in space, and it is not a small amount. A full 9,200 tonnes of debris!

A new satellite mission has been launched into space – not to drop them off, but with the hope of clearing them up.

The UK-led launch is an attempt to address the vast amount of space debris that surrounds the Earth.

While rocket launches have placed about 10,680 satellites in Earth’s orbit since 1957, around 6,250 of these are still in space, but only 3,700 are still functioning.

According to the European Space Agency, there are approximately 9,200 tonnes of space debris, with 34,000 objects greater than 10cm and 128 million objects from greater than 1mm to 1cm. It estimates there have been more than 560 break-ups, explosions, collisions or anomalous events resulting in fragmentation.

A collision with space debris could have a big impact on satellite services people rely on every day, including mobile phones and online banking. The world’s first such mission was initially due for launch on Saturday but, due to technical concerns, was postponed until Monday morning.

On Monday, two spacecraft – a servicer satellite to collect the debris and a client satellite to act as the debris – were launched from Kazakhstan on a Soyuz rocket operated by GK Launch Services.

It is expected to start major demonstrations in around June or July.

The servicer satellite has been developed to safely remove debris from orbit, equipped with proximity rendezvous technologies and a magnetic docking mechanism.

Speaking ahead of the launch, UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The removal of hazardous space debris is not only environmentally important but is also a huge commercial opportunity for the UK, with companies like Astroscale leading the way in demonstrating how we can make space safer for everyone.”

Clearly, ecology just does not apply to the earth but space as well. Cleanliness has reached a new frontier – it crosses terrestrial boundaries. Where cleanups are concerned, the earth is not the limit.

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