No spare part and no space left: An unanticipated tragedy of globalisation
Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Globalisation has been one of the greatest breakthroughs for mankind. It is the factor that has turned the world into a global village, connecting different countries and continents into one whole entity.
Today, sitting in one corner of the world, we can enjoy wearing English wool and French perfumes, drinking Russian wine, fidgeting with Japanese electronic toys, or savouring Spanish chilies. Globalisation enables us to travel to other places in search of better job opportunities that are in line with our choices and desires, thus creating more job opportunities and better living standards.
Additionally, it also aids in the maintenance of friendly relations between various countries and peaceful negotiations in international arena
So, would it be wrong to say that globalisation is a boon for us?
Yes, because this is only the bright side.
THE NOT-SO-BRIGHT SIDE OF GLOBALISATION
Glaring Income Inequalities: Globalisation is responsible for increased income inequality and substandard working conditions in developing countries that produce goods for wealthier nations. By shifting low-skilled jobs from wealthier countries to poorer countries, economic integration has fueled inequality within countries while lowering inequality between developed countries and developing countries.
Increase in environmental pollution: In addition, it leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions, ocean acidification, deforestation (and other forms of habitat loss or destruction), climate change, intoxication of soil leading to noxious weeds and plants, and the introduction of invasive species. Plastic, one of the major toxic pollutants, has been the most paralysing by-product of globalisation. They taint and harm ecosystems for hundreds or even thousands of years if improperly gathered and maintained. According to research, the globe produced 242 million tons of plastic garbage in 2016, or 12% of all solid waste.
Burdened Waste Management System: According to the World Bank's latest research, Trash 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050, without immediate action, global waste would rise by 70% above present levels by 2050. According to the estimate, worldwide yearly garbage creation would increase from 2.01 billion tons in 2016 to 3.4 billion tons over the next 30 years, driven by increased globalisation and expanding populations. High-income nations collectively produce more than one-third (34%) of the world's garbage, even though they only make up 16% of the world's population. A little under a quarter (23%) of all trash is produced in East Asia and Pacific areas.
But only 4% of garbage in low-income nations is recycled, compared to more than a third in high-income countries, which also compost their waste. The treatment and disposal of garbage are projected to have produced 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2016, or roughly 5% of world emissions, based on the volume of waste produced, its composition, and how the waste is managed.
The increasing pressure on land resources due to population growth, coupled with proportional increase in waste generation is alarming enough to resort to stricter action plans, urgently.
Increase in Health Concerns: Because of increased transportation of goods, there are increased emissions polluting the environment and high consumption of oils and gases leading to depletion of our natural resources. Besides 70% of transportation takes place through ships and of which oil spill is common and poses danger to aquatic biodiversity. Not only this, globalisation is also responsible for the introduction of invasive species or diseases in other countries with the novel coronavirus being an epitome of it.
The concept of comparative advantage is being promoted by globalisation which allows countries to produce and consume more with minimal use of resources. This economic specialisation often boosts productivity and efficiency but, unfortunately, overspecialization can lead to serious environmental issues, often in the form of habitat loss, deforestation, or natural resource overuse.
Overfishing in South Asia, illegal deforestation to increase grazing lands in Brazil, or tropical overdependence on cash crops, Globalisation pets all of these factors.
Mahir Bhandari is the Director of Operations at IFSA Hansraj
Anushka Gupta is an Analyst at IFSA Hansraj
1. (2018). Global Waste to Grow by 70 Percent by 2050 Unless Urgent Action is Taken: World Bank Report. WASHINGTON: The World Bank.
2. Sunil Kumar, S. R. (2017, MARCH 22). Challenges and opportunities associated with waste management in India. Retrieved from Royal Society Open Science: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.160764
3. The Global Garbage Crisis: No Time to Waste. (2012). Retrieved from UNEP: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/global-garbage-crisis-no-time-waste (“The Global Garbage Crisis: No Time to Waste”)