Among the many issues that threaten the welfare of mankind and the world, the waste problem is one. Humanity is now facing some serious challenges when it comes to the disposal and treatment of waste. There is an enormous problem with waste around the world. The global population and living standards are increasing and waste is being generated at an increasing rate. Currently, it is estimated that more than 201 billion tons of solid waste is generated worldwide. This is expected to increase by seventy percent over the next thirty years. Of this, only thirteen to fourteen percent is recycled, according to the experts in this field. The rest is either covered with soil or burned or buried somewhere. The environmental impact of this process on the Earth will be enormous and long lasting. Dumping of waste under flyovers, roadside and other public places is a common sight, challenging the public. This is a kind of crime. It is at this point that waste disposal and treatment becomes relevant.
First of all, what is waste? Who is responsible for this? Then let’s look at how waste adversely affects humans and the environment. A waste is an unwanted or unusable material, according to Wikipedia. All substances which are discarded after primary use or which are worthless, defective or useless are considered waste. The waste problem is exacerbated by limited resource capacity and undesirable human activities. This is a lifestyle pollution. We generate a great deal of garbage in our daily activities, which is thrown away. This includes all the kitchen waste such as spoiled food, vegetable peels, used tea leaves, milk packets, empty cartons, waste paper, empty medicine bottles, old and torn clothes, etc. Increasing amounts of waste material have been generated due to more advancements in our lifestyle. The improper management of waste leads to climate change and air pollution, as well as harming many ecosystems and species. Man’s actions have changed the atmosphere, freshwater resources, oceans and even the structure of the atmosphere. Waste-free environment, fresh water and fresh air are just a dream for us today.
Types of waste
If we ask what are the different types of waste? We can classify it in different ways. First of all, it can be divided into hazardous and non-hazardous. Then it can be again categorize it into industrial waste, commercial waste, agricultural waste and household waste based on where it is produced. The sad fact is that most of the household waste is food. When millions of people in this world are struggling to make ends meet, we throw food waste into the garbage heap. We need to start the habit of buying and using only what we need. Food wastage should be stopped. Awareness of the bitter consequences of food wastage should begin in childhood.
The ever-increasing problem of electronic waste is a growing problem with the advancement of technology, especially information technology. It is heard that millions of tons of e-waste are here. Due to the limitations of the waste estimation, the figures may not be accurate and may be lower than they actually are.
Nuclear waste is another terrible waste. Nuclear waste from nuclear weapons testing, damaged reactors, and reactor accidents has spread throughout the world. Radioactive waste from Chernobyl and Fukushima, the remains of various nuclear tests, has reached the air, water, and food.
Waste, in the past and now
In the past, our homes were littered with garbage. These are mostly leftovers from cooking. We feed all this to chickens, ducks, sheep and cows. Then the rest will be turned into manure in the garden.
Life style improvements have contributed to a rise in waste generation. Changing attitudes play a role in this as well, as more and more things become disposable. We are producing more and more waste that is not biodegradable because of changes in packaging
Solutions to the waste problem
Many environmental movements have been born in our country for the survival of the earth. But the truth is that we do not have enough awareness about public hygiene and environmental hygiene. It has been a long time since we started discussing waste, which is becoming a threat to the earth. Yet the habit of dumping, including plastic waste, and the culture of creating waste heaps cannot be eradicated.
To cultivate a waste-free culture, a three-pronged approach, namely, reduction, reuse and recycle, must be coordinated. There are many procedures that should be implemented in order to minimize the effects of the waste problem. The first step is to reduce the amount of waste by using a variety of methods like discouraging the use of disposable items after using only once and encourage the use of eco-friendly materials and recyclables. At the same time, we should try to create awareness among the people.
- The presence and use of materials such as plastic should be minimized.
- Plastics which is discarded after single use should be banned.
- Carrying cloth bags in your hand when you go to the shops can reduce the plastic considerably.
- Similarly, the manufacture and use of eco-friendly materials that can be used as a substitute for plastic should be increased.
- Ways to treat waste scientifically should be expanded.
- Implement the Green Protocol.
- Those who dump waste in public places should be caught.
- Arrangements for it should be everywhere.
- This waste heap alone is enough to spread diseases.
- The law should be further tightened against those who dump waste.
- Strict prohibitions and efficient use of CCTV cameras should be used to prevent littering in public places.
- Everyone should follow the method of not throwing waste at all.
- Everyone should follow the method of disposing of household waste at source.
- Reuse is the simplest way to deal with the crisis of solid waste.
My waste my responsibility
We are proud to say that we have a lot of knowledge about the disadvantages of waste and the problems it causes. But in spite of such knowledge, we are filling our beautiful land with garbage and making it uninhabitable. We must remember that my waste is my responsibility. Disposal of waste at source is part of bio-waste management. We have to compost organic waste by ourselves at the source. For this purpose, organic manure can be produced in the houses. The organic manure produced in this way can be collected, branded and marketed. Toilet waste and poultry waste can be converted into value added products.
Waste should be treated at source. Such schemes should get great publicity. As consumer culture grows, so does waste. A 2015 study found that 60% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the manufacture and use of household products. It is estimated that the carbon emissions of a product are about six times its weight in the period from manufacture to disposal. Plastic is the number one and most dangerous type of solid waste. Plastic takes years to decay. Ninety percent of the waste currently discharged into the sea is plastic, according to researchers in the field. Forty percent of the total waste is from food and related areas. According to the United Nations, one third of the world’s population does not have enough food. We have a duty to keep this land habitable. We must remember that we have no other place to live but this earth.
Exchange shops- a great idea
Another important thing is to prevent unnecessary consumption of resources. For this, more exchange shops should be started. It is a great platform to sell unwanted items like clothes, books, electronic equipment, etc. The idea of selling your old stuff and earning some money from it is a good one. It will allow you to free up some space at the same time. Deliver unused household items, un-wanted furniture, clothing, and electrical appliances to such stores. People can buy used electronics and electric appliances, clothes, toys, furniture, etc. from here for free or at moderate rates. This will reduce the amount of electronic waste.
Change our approach to waste
We must abandon the vulgar and degrading practice of dumping waste along roadsides and in public places. We must adhere to the Green Protocol in our daily lives and cultivate a culture of eco-friendly and pollution-free living. This is what we need to preserve for future generations. Let us be the beginning of the change and culture that the world wants us to see. What is needed here is to change our approach to waste. The practice of dumping any rubbish in public or elsewhere must be completely changed. Local bodies and institutions like Kudumbasree play a major role in waste collection and treatment. They need to be given adequate support.
Waste disposal and treatment offer employment opportunities
Waste disposal and treatment offer a lot of industrial employment opportunities and we need to be aware of that. The field of science and technology should pay more attention to find the best technologies to solve the waste problem. Waste problems can never be solved by government agencies or any other agency alone. It requires a great deal of public participation. But that is not the case today. With the increase in population, urbanization and expansion of flats, it is doubtful whether modernization of waste management is possible in the light of changing times and circumstances. Another thing to take seriously is that a large portion of today’s waste is inorganic waste. Materials formed by various technologies can be found in waste. These cannot be eliminated by one technique. That is not waste treatment. Waste treatment means composting of bio-waste. Similarly, inorganic wastes should be sorted and recycled. This is the best eco-friendly way to treat waste.
Choose environment-friendly options.
We are integral parts of the environment and environment plays a vital role in our lives. Environmental changes affect us, and our actions influence the environment. Even when we make everyday decisions, we can choose environment-friendly options. We need to be aware of how our choices affect the environment in order to do this. There can be immediate effects or long-lasting effects.
Our attitude must change
People are struggling with the garbage dump in public places. Household waste and industrial waste are increasing day by day. The flow of waste in rivers and streams continues. Plans to treat domestic waste at source should be intensified. Many classic models have been created for nature conservation. But we need to pay more attention to the problem of solid waste. Waste disposal and treatment is an issue that puts society as a whole in crisis. The growing solid waste problem is creating a crisis. Needless to say, the impending environmental impact will be huge unless a lasting solution to the solid waste problem is found. Each person’s attitude towards this subject must change. We may pursue the defenses against waste, keeping in mind that environment and development are mutually compatible.
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