Improper waste disposal is a significant social issue, and, if not taken seriously, has adverse effects. I live in Patna and face this issue a lot near my residential area. In that particular area the most troublesome issues are garbage dumping, lack of sewage treatment and spitting of ‘paan’ on the roads. Especially during the rains, sewage water overflows many times and creates a huge trouble for all the people living in that area, commutation of students to schools and adults to work places is disturbed. I personally feel trapped inside my house at that point of time. Paan spitting is taken for granted by the people as if there is no sense of guilt. Garbage is dumped wherever people find convenient. It doesn’t really affect anyone that crows and dogs linger around. Cows find their meals in the garbage dump and choke quite a number of times on the plastic bags.
These problems collectively affect me a lot as I have to face them every time I leave my house. It saddens my heart to be a part of such a city. The streets stink like anything and would make you want to
puke. Littering the city is taken quite casually. It really doesn’t matter unless you are seen by someone, so no one actually cares about it.
These actions make you feel disgusted about where you are from. It tarnishes the reputation of the city as well as the country and hence it is necessary to take remedial actions. Also, it harms our health and affects us knowingly as well as unknowingly in many ways. A lot of waste is generated everyday which can be avoided if proper steps are taken and if this matter is taken seriously by all the citizens. For this, a sense of responsibility should be created amongst all the citizens.
What is Waste Management and Disposal?
Waste management or waste disposal refers to all the activities required to handle waste from intake from various sources to its final disposal. It includes collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste. Waste is of different forms such as solid, liquid, gas etc. There are various methods to dispose, handle and manage it. It deals with various forms of waste such as industrial,
biological, household, and also various special cases where it may pose a threat to human or animal health. It also pertains to converting trash to a productive resource.
It is meant to reduce the adverse effects of waste on human health, environment or aesthetics by treating the waste in an efficient way. It is an indirect obligation of all businessmen and all household members in the world. Waste management is required because waste creates air as well as water pollution. Decaying trash also produces toxic gases which creates breathing problems in humans and is sometimes fatal as well.
Methods and practices of handling waste differ from nation-to-nation, region-to-region, and across the residential and industrial sectors. The major portion of waste management is about dealing with municipal solid waste (MSW) which is the bulk of the waste created by household, industrial, and commercial activities.
Majorly there are 5 five types of waste:
Liquid waste- it is the most common household as well as industrial waste.
Solid waste- this includes different types of waste accumulated from houses and industries.
Organic waste- it is another major household waste, a huge part of which comes from the garbage obtained from the food we eat.
Recyclable waste- this includes the waste which can be recycled and put to good use such as plastics, metal cans, foil, paper etc.
Hazardous waste- this is a huge chunk of garbage which poses a threat to human and animal live and may induce diseases.
Causes of Waste Accumulation
Lack of responsibility by the concerned municipal corporations, city cleaning units, sweepers and other concerned authorities contributes majorly to waste accumulation detrimentally. This nonchalance isn’t restricted to the governing authorities, but can be extended to the citizens as well. Blaming others is easy, but when it comes down to taking the required individual actions and proper consideration of the matter at hand, everyone appears to step back. The city is taken for granted by us and something must be done in order to overcome this problem. We wouldn’t consider littering our homes, but littering the city doesn’t appear to be a problem to us. There is no real sense of belonging to the city or the nation. This is most significant reason that makes people botherless, nonchalant and carefree regarding the situation. They only act appropriately only when strict laws are enforced and they are scrutinized upon.
We seem to be filled with patriotic feelings only on the occasions of independence day and republic day but are actually least bothered about the circumstances our cities are truly in. At that point of time we seem to forget the situation that our country is in.
Effects of poor waste management
Poor waste disposal and management has many negative effects in various different ways. It has adverse effects on our health. It leads to food and water-borne diseases. It provides breeding grounds to mosquitoes and flies. This creates room for diseases like malaria and dengue. Many fatal diseases are caused by this including cancer. Few of those most common ones are cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, dysentery, and diarrhea. It also gives birth to bacterial diseases, skin diseases, blood infection, visibility problems and respiratory allergies. These diseases create other problems such as gastrointestinal issues, stomach pain, vomiting etc.
Not only does poor waste management affect our health but it also affects the national overall economy. A lot of money is required to be spent by the government in order to nullify the negative effects of poor waste disposal and management. Moreover, the energy and money which could be extracted by turning the waste into something productive is lost as well. Disposal of waste by the method of combustion results in intense air pollution, moreover the ash generated is rich in heavy metals and such toxins. Plastic bottles burn to induce liver dysfunction, reproductive syndromes and weight loss in humans.
Chemical leaching and water pollution poses a great threat to animals as well. Pollution of water is more likely, considering how easy it is for chemicals and other toxins to get dissolved into water. Thus, it is contributes adversely in threatening human and animal life. The most affected humans are the ones employed in chemical factories as they are in regular contact with toxic waste. Furthermore children are more defenseless towards chemical poisoning.
Marine life is also impacted at large. Other than falling victim to water pollution and chemical poisoning, corals and fish asphyxiate to death due to increased growth of algae.
An another huge hazardous effect of inappropriate waste disposal is that since it contributes to the greenhouse gases, it leads to global warming, which is an issue in itself, as well as change in the precipitation level of air. Hence it stimulates acid rains and radioactive pollution.
Mismanaged sewage systems create squalor which leads to destruction of crops and introduction of numerous rat borne diseases.
Waste accumulation and its inappropriate disposal and management brings shame to our great nation when looked upon by tourists and foreigners. Living in such conditions creates negativity and gradually kills our creativity. It makes us frustrated and hence decreases our efficiency in our jobs that we do. Life becomes more stressful and monotonic due to this negativity and frustration. These are few of the huge vital negative changes that take place in our lives quite gradually without us actually realising it as the change seems negligible on the short-run. It is if we look at the bigger picture, we start to realise the humongous role it has silently played in our lives. It is necessary that we acknowledge it and act in order to overcome it, only then can our country really progress.
Solutions to Waste accumulation
There are three most basic principles of waste management. They are the three R’s – Recycle, Re-use, and Reduce. The motive of these principles is to utilize the products to the maximum starting from its production to its disposal and create the least amount of terminal waste. This accounts for the “reduce” part of the trio principle. Alternative uses for the waste generated are to be sought in order to convert it into something productive and more valuable. This part involves the second part which is “Re-use”. The ultimate and the final step of this trio principle of waste handling is to “Recycle” the waste by using various methods such as recycling of paper, polythene, metallic parts etc.
Art work made from waste materials is quite in demand these days. This type of art is famously called ‘Best out of Waste’. This art majorly employs “Re-use” as well “Reduce” of the trio. Sometimes even the “Recycle” gets involved in this art in the way that recycled materials are used to create artistic masterpieces. This way waste is converted into a valuable and a much appreciated art form.
Though waste is a liability to humans, it can turn out to be asset to us, as during the process of waste combustion, energy is liberated which generally gets dissipated into the surroundings. However if this dissipated energy can be tapped and be stored, furthermore used as a source of energy, much like the recently developed renewable sources of energy, it gains a huge value in itself than just eliminating its negative factors.
Composting is also a good solution to handle waste wisely. It helps to get rid of the waste and produce manure simultaneously. This works much better than artificial fertilizers and helps our nation outstandingly as our nation depends significantly on agricultural and this method provides a slight relief in that field as well. This can be easily promoted among the farmers and would help a lot. Urban generated manure could be given to farmers free of costs at newly appointed outlets, which would in a way increase employment too. This would be like hitting multiple target with a single shot.
There are operational schemes and The Renewable Energy Association which works upon these mottos, to investigate and experiment upon the resulting energy and biomass obtained by burning waste. Just simply disposing off garbage would be a waste of resource, money, raw materials and energy used in making that item. Rather incinerating it would save us money, the impact on environment and living beings as well as energy and resources. Thus it acts as if we play defense and offense at the same time while playing against waste accumulation.
I finally conclude that instead of dumping waste randomly and carelessly, waste disposal and management techniques should be incorporated such that we prevent harming the environment and living beings, and at the same time make a fortune out of the waste that we generate. Advance research, experimentation and technical skills should be encouraged to scientifically use our waste. Such work must be promoted by the government and qualifying men must be recognised.
Government should provide funds for this and seriously look into this matter. After all it does affect the economy of the nation. Landfills should be created, and waste treatment plants should be set up in large numbers. Composting must be encouraged, especially among farmers and in rural areas. Incineration may be carried out too.
‘Wealth out of Waste’ programs must be essentially boosted additionally. Swacch Bharat Abhiyan should be supported and pursued by each and every individual, and this time with a newer, different sight of approach. Those doing good work should be appreciated and honoured, which inspires and motivates more people to carry out the same. This should be the ultimate goal of the nation to achieve- zero improper disposal of waste and hundred percent utilization of the generated waste.