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Proper Waste Management

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What is Waste?

There are several human activities that have led to the production of wastes. Every home, industry, school, hospital and other commercial places produce different kinds of wastes on a daily basis. As defined under the Environment Protection Act 1993,
Waste is any discarded, rejected, abandoned, unwanted or surplus matter, whether or not
intended for sale or for recycling, reprocessing, recovery or purification by a separate
operation from that which produced the matter. This wastes could be solid, liquid and gaseous. Improper waste management has been a great environmental problem over time. It has affected the lives of many individuals in society, negatively. Not only has it been an environmental problem, but it has led to economic loss, where useful materials that are supposed to be recycled and profitable to the economy are discarded improperly. This is as a result of individuals’ lack of knowledge on how to manage and conserve wastes effectively. Let’s delve into the meaning of waste management.
What is Waste Management?
According to science direct,
Waste management is a conduit at the crossroads of inputs from producers, users and outputs to environmental compartments, with the overall goal to clear the residues and reutilize cleared materials and natural resources. Also, it is the process of recycling, conserving and transporting waste effectively, following and complying with the regulations that promote proper waste disposal to foster a healthier environment.
List of possible ways of improper waste management
There are different ways of improper waste management that negatively affect human lives. Let’s get to discover some of these ways below;

Littering of waste materials in the surroundings
Dumping of sewage, garbage and hazardous waste in the streams or river.
Continuous emission of harmful gases like carbon monoxide from vehicles and some industries.
Discarding dirty water from households into the river
Disposing of papers, cardboards, tins and other solid waste on the streets or around the environment
Effects of Poor Waste Management

Around the world, waste generation rates are rising. In 2016, the worlds’ cities generated 2.01 billion tons of solid waste, amounting to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. With rapid population growth and urbanization, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from 2016 levels to 3.40 billion tons in 2050. Consequently, this would lead to a lot of negative effects on human health, the environment and the world in general. Here are the negative effects of this evolving menace. Understanding the effects would enable one to come up with possible solutions to solve it.

Pollution; There are various kinds of pollution, which are; air pollution, water pollution, environmental pollution, soil pollution, climate change amongst others. Generally, these kinds of pollution affects humans, and the environment. Over time, it has been estimated that over 70% of the environmental hazards and pollution in our environments are caused by improper waste management. Air Pollution is caused by improper management of gaseous wastes from industries and companies. Moreover, methane – one of the greatest greenhouse gases, is formed by microorganisms from biodegradable wastes. Biodegradable wastes are those waste which includes any organic matter that can be broken down into carbon dioxide, water, methane or simple organic molecules by microorganisms and other living things by composting, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion or similar biological processes. Examples of this biodegradable wastes include food, garden wastes, paper etc. Consequently, the more the production of biodegradable wastes the more the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Consequently, leading to climate change and air pollution.

Health Crisis; The microorganisms that come with some waste products or materials such as bacteria and viruses are very dangerous. Most of them lead to chronic diseases that could be harmful to individuals. Diseases such as cholera, diarrhea amongst others are caused by eating contaminated food. This contaminated food could be from improper waste management or disposal. Areas that are always littered or dirty are more prone to conserving parasites like mosquitoes and other flies that cause terrible diseases such as malaria or typhoid . These parasites generally love to be in dirty environments. If your wastes are not conserved properly, they would definitely love to stay around your environment thus causing more harm to your health

It affects the ecosystem and leads to economic loss; Our ecosystem is generally made up of biotic and abiotic components. The biotic components are the living components such as plants and animals. Abiotic components are the non living components such as water, light, soil, humidity amongst others. Poor waste management can greatly affect these components thus leading to loss. When waste is not properly recycled, managed and conserved it also leads to loss of resources – waste resources.
Soil Contamination: Contamination in the soul occurs when some waste materials such as plastic materials, heavy metals and other hazardous materials are buried or spilled in the soil. This waste materials would contaminate the soil thus leading to the death of animals and plants that depend on the soil for life.
Air Contamination: When waste materials are burnt or some gaseous substances such as ozone or carbon dioxide are dispensed into the atmosphere, this accumulates and leads to climate change or global warming. This would affect the lives of humans, animals and plants in the environment due to improper management of gaseous wastes.
It affects animals and marine life: Over time, most solid and liquid wastes are usually dumped in the nearby rivers and streams. Any animal or marine life coming in contact with this wastes is negatively impacted and may die.

How to manage waste effectively
There are numerous negative effects of this menace as stated above, thus it’s necessary to push for an effective waste management procedure and follow through with these procedures. Understanding the proper waste management techniques is very pertinent. Amazingly, there are a whole lot of resources that can be produced when waste is recycled properly. Now, the big question is, how do we manage waste effectively? Here are strategies that could be adopted to solve this evolving menace.

Synergy between producers and consumers: To begin with, there must be a synergy between producers, consumers and middle men. Most of the waste materials that lead to pollution in the environment are produced in industries, without proper measures on how to recycle them. Most people are totally oblivious of the fact that some waste materials could be recycled.
Waste Recycling Systems: Large companies and industries can come up with effective waste recycling systems that could enable them recycle their waste materials effectively to reduce the effect of this menace. Recycling waste is a key solution to solving this menace. Waste materials like papers, bottles, plastics and polythene bags could be recycled and even made better to increase the economy’s growth. There are people who use straws, papers and plastics to make beautiful artworks. Youths can become creative with recycling waste materials. We can convert wastes, from being a nuisance to being a profitable asset. It’s time to think out of the box.
Reuse of materials: Moving on, do you know that you can reuse some waste materials? Sounds absurd right. Well, you can. There are some materials that are still valuable even after they have been used before. You could as well refurbish these materials or make repairs to the ones that need repairs and reuse them. Reusing waste materials doesn’t only reduce improper waste disposal, it also reduces the cost of buying new materials for your companies or industries.

Donations: Moreover, if you don’t intend to reuse your waste materials, you could as well donate them to other companies or better still exchange them, depending on the value of the materials. This would in a large extent help reduce improper waste disposal in your companies homes or industries.

Track Waste Streams: Furthermore, tracking your waste stream is another crucial technique in reducing improper waste disposal. Know where your wastes are coming from and most importantly ensure that there are concrete plans that are in place to ensure effective disposal.

Partnerships: Partnering with some waste management agencies would also foster the reduction of improper waste disposal. There are agencies that are very efficient and reliable in ensuring that waste is disposed of properly. Some of such agencies are; United States Environmental Protection Agency and European Environment Agency(EEA). These agencies could train you and your employees on the best practices to ensure effective waste management.

Provision of Waste Disposal Facilities: The Government should also help marginalized communities with proper waste disposal facilities in order to reduce this menace.
Advantages of Proper Waste Disposal
Proper waste disposal can be encouraged and practiced as it has numerous benefits to our health and environment. Let’s get to know most of this outstanding benefits below;

Proper waste disposal protects our environment. It helps us stay in a safe and healthy environment.
It also helps in the effective conservation of natural resources like minerals and water through recycling.
The production of harmful substances is reduced. When waste is effectively disposed of, the amount of junk that reaches the landfill is small, thus space is conserved in the landfills.
Proper waste disposal reduces pollution – air, soil, water and environmental pollution.
It saves the earth and conserves energy
It reduces the rate of climate change and global warming in the environment.
Proper waste disposal creates employment opportunities. According to research and the labour statistics provided by the US government, over 3.1 million new jobs are produced due to the waste management factor.

In conclusion, our environment is our responsibility. It’s our responsibility to ensure that we live in a safe and healthy environment, remember our health is our priority. Let’s reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose of our waste materials effectively in order to live in a safe and healthy environment.

References:

https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/wastes
https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/signals-2014/articles/waste-a-problem-or-a-resource
https://www.ercofusa.com/blog/what-is-enviornmental-waste-management/

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