by HE Times

The way we dispose of waste is troubling. What is worse, in this decade alone, it would seem that waste disposal has become more careless? What we have failed to do is to put into action the ideas we believe will help us mitigate or adapt to climate change.


olid waste refers to the range of garbage materials—arising from animal and human activities— the collecting, treating, and disposing of solid material that is discarded because it has served its purpose or is no longer useful. Improper disposal of municipal solid waste can create unsanitary conditions, and these conditions in turn can lead to pollution of the environment and to outbreaks of vector-borne disease—that is, diseases spread by rodents and insects.

As solid waste management is a critical aspect of environmental hygiene, it must be incorporated into environmental planning.

OBJECTIVE OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT : Across India, existing systems for the collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste are mired in chaos. The problem is more acute in the urban areas, where rapidly growing populations generate increasingly larger quantities of solid waste that urban local bodies (ULBs) are unable to manage effectively.

The objective of solid waste management is reducing and eliminating adverse impacts of waste materials on human health and the environment to support economic development and superior quality of life.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF SOLID WASTE : When solid waste is disposed off on land in open dumps or in improperly designed landfills (e.g. in low lying areas). It causes the serious impact on the environment. It seriously spoiling the environmental conditions in developing countries. … An inefficient municipal solid waste management system may create serious negative environmental impacts like infectious diseases, land and water pollution, obstruction of drains and loss of biodiversity.

All together, the amount of waste generated affects the environment in multiple ways: its contribution to the worsening climate crisis, its negative impact on wildlife and the natural environment, and its detriment to our very own public health.

PUBLIC HEALTH : Human health is at risk through our inaction. The group at risk from the unscientific disposal of solid waste include – the population in areas where there is no proper waste disposal method, especially the pre-school children; waste workers; and workers in facilities producing toxic and infectious material. Negative impacts can be due to different handling and disposal activities resulting in soil, water and air pollution.

The latter is creating enormous problems and governments in developing countries are moving towards construction of sanitary landfills to address this. However, sanitary landfill may become subject of poor engineering or operation.

AIR  POLLUTION AND ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTS : There are more than ten toxic gases emitted from landfills, of which methane gas is the most serious. Methane gas is naturally produced during the process of organic matter decay. The impact on water resources from landfills in arid areas must  be  noticed.  Even  if  low  costs  and  high  availability  of  marginal  land  have  made  landfilling  the  most  commonly  used waste disposal method, landfilling has many effects on water resources.

Land pollution touches essentially every area of the living world, including:

  • Water that isn’t safe to drink

  • Polluted soil, which leads to a loss of fertile land for agriculture

  • Climate change, which causes an onslaught of disastrous problems, including flash floods and irregular rainfalls

  • The endangerment and extinction of species in wildlife

  • Habitat shifting, where some animals are forced to flee where they live in order to survive

  • An increase in wildfires, due to polluted areas often becoming very dry

  • Increased air pollution, which burning waste contributes to

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