Assessing the effects of various types of waste on the environment is challenging. We do not know this waste’s total amounts, composition, and dispersal. We need more scientific knowledge of the long-term impact of many substances that form a part of the waste. Some non-hazardous products are also dangerous for tomorrow. Environmentalists feel we must follow the precautionary principle and treat every chemical as potentially harmful, proving otherwise. Also, you will know the product recycling.
Municipal solid wastes heap up on the roads due to improper disposal systems. People clean their houses and litter their immediate surroundings, affecting the community, including themselves. It allows biodegradable materials to decompose under uncontrolled and unhygienic conditions. This produces a fuel smell and breeds various insects and infectious organisms besides spoiling the site’s aesthetics.
Industrial solid wastes are sources of toxic metals and hazardous wastes, which may spread on land. Changes in physicochemical and biological characteristics cause this, thereby affecting the productivity of soils. Toxic substances may leach or percolate to contaminate the groundwater.
In refuse mixing, the hazardous wastes mix with garbage and combustible waste. This makes segregation and disposal all the more complex and risky. Various types of waste mix with paper, like cans, pesticides, cleaning solvents, batteries (zinc, lead mercury), radioactive materials, and plastics. It is also mixed with scraps and other non-toxic materials that can easily recycle. Burning some of these materials produces dioxins, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls, which can potentially cause various ailments, including cancer.
Control Measures of Urban and Industrial Wastes
In industrialized countries, household waste is separate from organic material, paper, glass, other containers, etc. This separation is often done in homes using different bins to dispose of items. In developing countries, waste is not separated, though some cities try to persuade the public to separate waste.
Many countries and cities need more space for landfills. The simplest and most common method used in cities is collecting and dumping waste in landfills. These landfills are located just outside the city. There are now thousands of landfills in the world with substantial waste piles. You can also see separate mountains of used cars and tyres in industrialized countries.
The rag pickers (primarily women and children) work in highly unhygienic conditions and provide a tremendous ecological service by manually separating thousands of tons of recyclable waste from the garbage dumps. In the poorer countries, rag pickers sift through the waste, collect the reusable and recyclable material, and sell it to scrap traders. They, in turn, take the material to the recycling units.
While this reduces the volume of garbage, it releases deadly dioxins into the atmosphere. With increasing amounts of waste generated, its management is becoming difficult and expensive. Proper incineration of waste needs modern technology and proper management. Thus, nuclear waste is also a component of waste material.
For waste management, we stress ‘the three R’s’-reduce, reuse and recycle before destruction and safe storage of wastes. These will be a control measure for the product recycling.
1. Reduction in Use of Raw Materials
Reduction in the use of raw materials will correspondingly decrease waste production. Reduced demand for any metallic product will decrease the mining of their metal and cause less waste production.
2. Reuse of Waste Materials
Because of financial constraints, poor people reuse their materials to the maximum. Refillable containers can also be reusable. Villagers make casseroles and silos from waste paper and other waste materials. Making rubber rings from discarded cycle tubes, used by newspaper vendors instead of rubber bands, reduces the waste generated while manufacturing rubber bands. It is a control measure for product recycling.
3. Recycling of Materials
A good way of dealing with the solid waste problem is to recycle it. Recycling is the processing of a used item or India, and we have a thriving unorganized recycling industry, thanks to any waste into a usable form. There is a sizeable global recycling industry in the itinerant collector, who buys old newspapers, bottles, used clothes, utensils, scrap, motor oil, etc.
Multiple Benefits of Product Recycling
- As against waste disposal expenditures, we now make money from waste material.
- We save energy that would have gone into waste handling and product manufacturing.
- By taking away some of the waste, it reduces environmental degradation.
Some specific examples of savings through recycling are:
- Every ton of recycled glass saves energy equal to 100 liters of oil.
- Making paper from waste pulp rather than virgin pulp saves 50 percent of energy.
- When aluminum is resmelted, there is a considerable saving in cost. The recycling process is, however, energy-intensive.
Safe and profitable technologies for recycling paper, glass, metals, and some forms of plastic are available. Biogas can easily produce from landfill waste. Paper factories can also recycle their waste. The following methods can use to discard waste.
1. Sanitary Landfill
In a sanitary landfill, garbage is spread thinly, compacted, and covered with clay or plastic foam.
In modern landfills, the bottom is covered with an impermeable liner, usually several clay layers, thick plastic, and sand. The liner protects the groundwater from being contaminated due to the percolation of leachate. Leachate from the bottom is pumped and sent for treatment. When the landfill is complete, it is covered with clay, sand, gravel, and topsoil to prevent water seepage. Several wells are drilled near the landfill site to monitor if any leakage contaminates groundwater. Methane is collected and burnt by anaerobic decomposition to produce electricity or heat.
In bigger cities, there is a shortage of space for landfill and biodegradable yard waste. It is allowed to degrade or decompose in an oxygen-rich medium. Good quality, nutrient-rich, and environmentally friendly manure are formed, improving soil conditions and fertility.
Incinerators are burning plants capable of burning many materials at high temperatures. The initial cost is very high. During incineration, high levels of dioxins, furans, lead, and cadmium may be emitted with the fly ash of the incinerator. Dioxin levels may reach many times more than in the ambient environment. Removing batteries containing heavy metals and plastic retaining chlorine before burning them is better than incinerating materials. Prior removal of plastics will reduce dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) emissions.