Waste Management includes all the activities and actions that require managing the waste from its inception to its final disposal.
It means analysis of every aspect related to the management of waste like:
- Establishing a proper waste management system through the analysis,
- Collection of the waste,
- Transporting it,
- Recovering the useful one rather than destroying it,
- Then giving some items a second life through recycling and
- Disposing away the useless items.
Waste can be of any type i.e. solid, liquid or gas and each one has different method of disposal and management.
It is intended to reduce adverse affects of waste on human life, environment or aesthetic.
Waste management techniques are not uniform among countries (developing and developed nations) and not even among regions of same country (urban and rural).
There is famous saying:
“Garbage, in its worthless state, is the primary fuel of creativity”
What’s in it for me:
- Principles of waste management
- Methods of waste disposal
- Waste handling and transportation
- Challenges for developing nations
History of Waste Management:
For most of mankind history garbage disposal was not a major problem.
The amount of waste generated at that time has a little impact simply due to:
- Firstly, low population density and
- Secondly, low societal level of the exploitation of natural resources as well as industrial since a few decades ago.
Common waste produced was mainly ashes and human biodegradable waste.
However, some civilizations do have some rituals regarding their waste output
For instance that of the Maya of Central America, in which the people would gather around and burn their garbage in a large dump on monthly basis.
How it started
With the age of industrialization came urbanization, and as a result large population quickly arose.
Cities soon became very crowded and accumulation of waste grew.
The streets became choked with garbage due to lack of proper clearance rules and regulations.
The idea for establishment of municipal authority with power came as early as 1751.
When Corbyn Morris a customs official at that time proposed that-
‘The health of population is of great importance and that public management should be undertaken to clean the cities of London’.
Unfortunately it wasn’t until a century later before legislation was introduced.
With cholera on the increase causing large scale mortality, a public health debate ensued.
Highly influential in this news focus was the report of ‘The Sanitary Condition of the Laboring Population’ in 1842 by Edwin Chadwick, a renowned social reformer.
In this article he put forward a persuasive argument for the need of proper removal and management facilities of refuse.
The NRDP Act of 1846 started the evolution of Regulation of waste management in UK for the very first time.
The first city wide authority in charge of them was the Metropolitan Board of works.
With the introduction of Public Health Act 1875 every household had to deposit their weekly rubbish in a ‘movable receptacle’ for disposal.
Due to which dust bin came about and the bin men were born.
The first vehicle to transport the waste was an open hand cart.
They became motorized in the early part of the 20th century.
So, the first closed body trucks to eliminate the odors with a dumping lever mechanism were introduced in the 1920s in Britain.
The Garwood Load Packer was the first truck in 1938, to incorporate a hydraulic compactor.
Principles of Waste Management:
The waste hierarchy refers to:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery and Disposal of waste.
It classifies waste strategies according to their desirability in terms of waste minimization.
It is the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies.
Firstly, the basic step of waste hierarchy is that:
Policies should promote prevention and reduction of waste as money can be saved on collection, transportation and disposal of waste.
Secondly, the next premise encourages to seek alternative uses of the generated waste i.e. by re-use.
In addition to this is recycling/giving second life to the waste material and converting solid waste into compost.
Following this step is material recovery and waste-to-energy.
The final and last step is disposal of the waste which can be reused, recycled or recovered in landfills or through incarnation without energy recovery.
Life cycle of Products
The life cycle of a product firstly begin with design.
And then proceeds through many stages like:
Manufacturing, distribution and primary use and then follows through the waste hierarchy’s stages.
Moreover, each step in this process gives a chance to re-think the need of the product.
And then to re-design the product to minimize waste potential.
The aim is to reduce the environmental impact at the production stage and doing so can have an apparent benefit on waste management.
Certainly resource efficiency reflects the understanding that global economic growth and development cannot survive at current production and consumption patterns.
Globally, humanity extracts more resources to produce that the planet can replenish.
To clarify, higher resource efficiency means using fewer resources to make the same product which will help to reduce adverse environmental impact.
This principle states the one who pollutes should pay a price for it.
With respect to waste management, this generally means to the requirement for a waste generator to pay for appropriate disposal of the unrecoverable material.
Methods of Waste Disposal:
Throwing Garbage into the landfill is the most popular way of disposing waste especially in developing countries like India.
There is process used to eliminate the odor and danger of waste before dumping the waste into the ground.
So that the toxic chemicals of waste do not contaminate the ground water.
Although this method is becoming less popular nowadays because of:
- lack of space available and
- strong presence of harmful gases like methane.
This method still exist in some countries because these countries have no proper waste management system.
Incineration or combustion is a typical method of waste disposal in which the waste are burned at high temperature in incinerators.
Moreover, this process is one reason of pollution which is caused:
By varied degrees dependent on nature of waste combusted and the design of incinerator.
The biggest advantage of this method is that:
- Firstly, it can get rid of hazardous and toxic waste.
- Secondly, the energy extracted can be used for various purposes like cooking, supplying power to turbines etc.
Recovery and Recycling
Recovery is the process of taking useful discarded items for the next possible use.
Through thermal and biological ways waste is converted into resources like electricity, heat, compost, fuel etc..
Recycling simply means giving second life to the discarded items.
In other words converting the old discarded items into new ones to prevent energy usage and consumption of fresh raw materials.
Moreover, this method is the most sustainable one and popular among developed nations as:
- Firstly, it reduces energy usage,
- Secondly, it reduces volume of landfills,
- It reduces water and air pollution and
- In addition, it preserves natural resources.
Composting is the method of converting solid waste into organic compost.
The nutrient rich compost is used as plant manure.
To enumerate, composting is one of the best methods of converting kitchen waste into nutritious compost.
It helps the farmer to do organic farming and deliver chemical free veggies and fruits to the market.
However it is a slow process and takes a lot of space.
Waste Handling and Transportation:
Different countries in fact different regions of the same country use different waste collection and transportation methods.
Domestic waste collection services are often provided by the local government authorities or private companies for industrial and commercial waste.
Some areas, especially the less developed nations do not have a proper waste collection system.
Waste Handling Practices
A vacuum based system is used to collect the refuse through underground conduits known as Envac in Europe.
Here the refuse is transported to a designated area through a vacuum pump system, eliminating the need for manual handling of garbage.
Metro taifun is another vacuum based solution of single or ring line systems.
In Canada, the garbage bins are designated as waste or recyclable materials and people are encouraged to segregate their waste before they drop them into bins.
Likewise, the European and American cities use a wide variety of innovative ways of collecting waste like Pay-As-you-Throw, Fantastic 3 bin system etc.
That is the reason why they do not have much problem in managing their waste.
But in many Asian countries like India the waste collection system is very poor.
There are many areas where the waste is not collected and the people either have to dispose it of into a nearby empty land or have to burn it down.
However, people here do not actually care about their waste.
As a result of lack of education and lenient government policies we still suffer a lot due to our waste management system.
Technologies Developed for Waste Management:
Traditionally, the waste management industry has been a late adapter of new technologies.
Some of the new technologies used for collecting waste are:
- Web based GIS (Geographic Information System)
- Waste bin monitoring Technology through GSM
Some of the examples of technologies developed for sorting of waste are optical sorting, automated sorting
And likewise many more technologies have been developed for systematic functioning of waste management.
Challenges for Developing Nations:
Areas with developing economies often experience exhausted waste collection services and inadequately managed and uncontrolled dumpsites.
The problems are worsening.
And the reasons are:
- Lack of proper awareness about the hazardous of not properly managing the waste.
- They only know to throw away their trash and do not really care of the disposal.
- Substantial population growth in urban centers.
- Lack of legislation and policies for realistic, long term planning
- Use of inappropriate technology and equipment and many more.
So until and unless these nations find solutions for these problems no one can change the present scenario of waste in their respective country.
Check this out: Waste management in India
To sum up waste management is really important for both developed and developing nations.
The reason being is if waste not managed properly the humans will be in a huge danger of falling into an epidemic.
According to a study there are 22 human disease linked with improper waste management.
It will create a huge disaster if diseases start spreading.
Ans: Yes, waste management services include pickup of all kind of household items like mattress, major appliances, furniture etc.
Ans: Waste management helps the environment in the following ways:
1. It helps to curb pollution.
2. When done properly waste management and recycling help to minimize the greenhouse gases.
3. Waste emits these harmful gases but recycling reduces the harmful gases from the environment.
4. It can also conserve energy and help reduce harmful deforestation including cutting down less trees for paper production.
Ans: Waste can adversely affects the environment.
As some waste can rot but not all and in the process it may smell.
And generate harmful greenhouse gases like methane which is explosive and causes pollution.
Ans: Waste management can pick up community’s electronics, paints, motor oil, garden chemicals and other hazardous household chemicals.
Ans: From my point of view clean places attract people.
So, if waste management is done properly the tourism of that place will definitely increase.
It affects tourism in a positive way.