The Malta Independent 25 June 2019, Tuesday

Is Blockchain technology the answer to fundamental environmental issues?

Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 12:45 Last update: about 13 days ago

Throughout the years, globalisation has left a negative impact on environmental issues. Many environmental organisations are trying their utmost to create awareness on various issues that are affecting our society and hindering world economies. Governments are creating policies to create a more sustainable way of life.

Recently, the United Nations (UN) began to discuss its ambition to promote the idea of living in a sustainable world. This resulted in a breakthrough in the blockchain sphere last September, were The World Economic Forum issued a report titled, Building Block(Chains) for a Better Planet. This report identified 65 existing and emerging blockchain use-cases that could help resolve some of the world's global environmental challenges.

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This report states that blockchain technology can monitor, report and verify the next-generation's sustainability to help prepare for any natural disasters, humanitarian relief and earth-management platforms. This technology could also enable geospatial platforms which may be explored.

 

What is happening in the world most carbon-emitting countries?

One of the most polluted countries in the world is China, which burns mostly low-quality fossil fuels, emissions from new vehicles, and massive urbanisation growth generated by factories in the region. China is identified as one of the countries developing and building its economy, which in return impacts the environment negatively.

Air pollution in China is increasing with daily emissions, resulting in 3 control problems including: scalability, cost and trust issues. To address the problem, a Chinese NGO, together with government support and the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, have launched an application called "Blue Sky". The use of this app is to offer real-time data on air and water quality, allowing the public to be aware of the situation they are currently facing. The public is now widely aware of the dire need to safeguard the world we live in and is always looking into ways on how one can get involved and work on reducing excessive pollution released from fossil fuels and other carbon emissions.

We can monitor air pollution through a decentralised network, which is a possible solution to help improve our environmental impact. In today's technology advancements, we can monitor things using our electronic devices. In fact, we can have sensors at home connected to personal and wearable devices all connected to a decentralised network endpoint. All data gathered can be recorded on a blockchain that connects all sensors together, creating a mesh network. Using this technology also implies that no one can change or temper with the data being recorded in the blockchain.

 

Our oceans are littered with plastic pollution. 

Many governments are coming together to discuss the pollution our oceans face, however nothing has been agreed to help clean our oceans. It is estimated that 2.2 billion tons of waste is being dumped into our oceans and seas each year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that ocean pollution has been the cause of 25% of global deaths and diseases, effecting Sub-Saharan Africa, which has reached a high of 35%.

To address this problem there needs to be a culture change in mentality, which involves educating more people on how to safeguard the environment. In fact, blockchain cannot resolve such issues and problems overnight. The only way that this technology can help the public become more aware of the situation is through interoperable ledgers that consistently document business and government pollution output on a global and domestic scale. By doing so, treaties may become more easily enforceable and public awareness of corporate polluters is heightened. Further, global, blockchain-linked programs incentivising recycling, safe waste disposal, and other pro-environmental behaviours could serve as a means for populations to have a positive effect in nations outside of their own.

Although there are a lot of ways that can help keeping track of data with regards to emissions and recycling data, blockchain alone is unable to change mentality, but it is able to make us more aware of the environment and how we can be of help to society, by keeping track of current projects working on becoming more green. 


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