Managing waste has always been a task but this became an issue when the 20th century started and its inventions were injected into this society. Plastic packaging, oil containers, electronics, batteries, and all other luxury is just playing with nature and bothering it at its best. Before all this happened people used to contribute to the mother earth so that it doesn’t get polluted or harmful for all the species. Metropolitan and other cities in India have seen rapid economic development and population growth which generates thousands of tons of solid waste. India is slowly drowning in its own waste. It has been observed and estimated that the rate at which we individuals are generating waste, for dumping that waste our country will be requiring a landfill as big as the area of some big city.
There are several factors that are responsible for the improper treatment of solid waste: low collection coverage and improper disposal facilities. This leads to the spread of diseases in the land, water, and air which in turn puts the life of the people in danger and the environment at risk. Each one of us living in this society is responsible for generating huge amounts of waste but none of us is ready to execute measurable steps. Most industrial, commercial, and household waste is now placed in landfills or surface impoundments. If we are made to learn that we should keep our surroundings clean then why are our home and workplace included and not the environment?
Inadequate collection, recycling, or treatment and uncontrolled disposal of waste in dumps lead to severe hazards, such as health risks and environmental pollution. Sometimes these situations become even worse in developing countries. The typical municipal solid waste stream contains general wastes, special wastes, and construction waste.
Impacts of Improper Waste Management
There have been negative impacts due to inappropriate strategies, operations, or maintenance of dumps and landfills which lead to problems in the collection of wastes. Here are several harmful effects that improper management of waste can lead to:
Soil Contamination: Contamination occurs by spilling and burying hazardous components like plastic bottles, papers, metals into the soil. It doesn’t only affect plant growth but also equally harmful for humans and animals. We citizens should start recycling things on our end.
Emit Greenhouse Gases: When the organic wastes are dumped off in landfills, they start to emit a foul smell and greenhouse gases after they undergo anaerobic degradation. They become a significant source of poisonous gases.
Water Contamination: Hazardous wastes are stored in landfills and then ultimately carried into the groundwater. Each one of us drinks this contagious water but still not ready to improve our habit of generating waste.
Air Contamination: Sometimes garbage is burnt in landfills and residential areas to reduce the volume which creates carbon monoxide, soot, and nitrogen oxides which degrade air quality.
Harm towards Animal and Marine life: Despite strict measures, the waste is continually dumped into the water which affects marine life. Animals who consume grasses near contaminated areas or landfills are also at risk of poisoning due to the toxins that seep into the soil.
Human Damage: Waste disposable workers and other people who live near landfills are at greater risk as it causes many health problems like skin irritations, respiratory problems, blood infections, reproductive issues, etc.
Here are several ways that people/countries have found out in managing the waste:
Waste Picking: Due to high poverty rates, unemployment rates, and extensive demand for user-friendly materials, waste picking has become a waste picking business. Waste picking scavengers recover from recyclables from the streets, bins, open dumps, and even at the disposal sites where the collected materials are unloaded. There are few materials like paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and a few metals which are recovered and sold to larger distributors or directly to recycling companies. They often suffer from health problems due to bad living conditions and exposure to waste.
Sanitary Landfills: These landfills are engineered disposal sites in which wastes are spread in layers, compacted, and covered with soil or other materials to minimize air and water pollution. Modern sanitary landfills are set up on the opposite of open dumping, collect and treat leachate and methane gas.
Burning: It is another widespread and inappropriate method used in developing countries and reduces the volume or odors of dumped or uncollected solid waste. Open burning is the major source of toxic gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and furans.
Incineration: It is just another solution to waste disposal in developing countries. It is located away from the settlement. Incineration systems should be built on concrete systems. High-tech incinerators, in contrast to open burning, are engineered to prevent toxic emissions and make use of the excess heat to generate steam for power production or for residential heating.
These are some ways that are used in developing countries to manage waste. Officials in developing countries usually acknowledge the need for better waste management. However, very little is done to improve the situation and these changes take time in developing countries. Waste management is not given high priority among governmental duties and decision-makers don’t have the necessary skills or techniques to resolve the challenges of the locality. Some of the waste management companies in Delhi such as Clean India Ventures Ltd. are contributing to the environment by developing technologies such as Green Waste Reprocessor to convert waste into organic compost and liquid fuel. They help in temple waste management, garden waste management, kitchen waste management through the organic waste converter.