Burning and Improper
Disposal of Waste

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Burning waste on the premises, building site, surroundings, farmyard, as an exposed heap in a yard or garden or in a barrel or in a ready-made home incinerator is not only a nuisance regarding the aesthetic point of view. While burning, it can emit many harmful chemicals into the air which we breathe damaging our health. This may lead to exposure to fine particles, dioxins, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, and polychlorinated biphenyls, which have been linked to heart disease, cancer, skin diseases, asthma, and respiratory illnesses. Some may even lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coughing, throat irritation, skin conditions, and asthma. Large-scale combustion of waste creates fog or smog-like conditions which will drastically affect the residents of that area. Improper disposal of waste Another environmental dilemma faced nowadays is the poor waste disposal activities.

The major problem is misbehaviour of the people towards waste management that they are reckless in throwing their garbage. Wastes without proper segregation are being dumped which keeps rotting, spreading odour and cause air pollution in the neighbouring areas. The waste often including the inorganic material such as paper, plastic, glass pieces, scraps of iron or leftover food, animal bones, vegetable peels etc. are dumped in the open. These may pollute the groundwater due to leaching effect. Rivers too are victims of various types of pollution especially the ones generated by industrial-commercial sector. There are chances of fire breaks out in the dumps of garbage deliberately or inadvertently. These may even affect the tourism prospects by spoiling the beautiful spots of our landscape. The people are not bothered by the possible results they might face in future due to their actions on the environment or even to their own health.

Effects

Air pollution: It emits a large amount of pollutants into the atmosphere which will have a very harmful impact on our lives. It will destroy the aesthetic beauty of the atmosphere. Global warming: Emission of toxic compounds such as nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and particle pollution lead to acid rain and contribute to global warming, ozone depletion, and the formation of smog. The release of carbon monoxide holds a significant role in the rise of the global temperature.

Fires: Uncontrolled burning of wastes may lead to forest fires affecting the inhabitants of the forest. It may even have significant impacts on the surrounding areas causing loss of life.

Health effects: Many diseases such as lung infections, heart problem, skin irritation, problem or abnormality in breathing. The direct contact with waste or the indirect contact by transmitting bacteria from waste to infected wound may lead to skin irritation and blood infections.

Climate change: There are chances for emission of many varieties of greenhouse gases during the decomposition of some kind of waste. These trap the sunlight in the atmosphere, raising the temperature levels and this may also cause abnormality in weather conditions like the occurrence of storms, typhoons etc.

Soil contamination: The soil loses its nature of fertility and replenishment by the impact of various toxic chemicals. It, in turn, destroys the vegetative capacities of the soil and soil might lose its softness and become unproductive.

Water pollution: The improper dumping of waste, poor management, and improper segregation leads to water pollution. The main factor is the leaching effect especially leakages of highly toxic chemicals from batteries, hospital wastes, paint bottles etc. which will pollute the groundwater. The reckless dumping of wastes into rivers and lakes also affect the health of living organisms. It also affects the life of aquatic habitat leading to the extinction of many species.

Remidies

Recycle: Recycling waste is a better option for getting rid of waste and reusing it adds to the value of the existing product. There are many different things that are recyclable: paper, tin, aluminium, plastic and many different materials can be recycled to a great extent.

Composting: It is the process by which domestic waste are converted into compost. The domestic wastes includes grass, leaves, leftover food, cow dung etc. A pit of size usually 2 meter long, 2 meter wide and 1 meter deep are formed. It is then filled with garbage and cow dung alternatively and which is then covered with a layer of soil and allowed to rest for a few days. The size of the pit usually depends on the amount of garbage and the available space. The upper part of the pit should be kept one and a half or two feet high from the ground level which will prevent seepage of rainwater into it. The organic manure obtained from this can be used in cultivation.

Vermiculture: It is the process of decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms under controlled conditions. A layer of organic waste such as leaves, grass, crop residues, vegetable peels, animal wastes, and food garbage etc. are placed in a soil pit, over which earthworms are added. These worms keeps the system in motion and helps in proper decomposition of waste. A small amount of water is sprayed on top of each set of layer to maintain wetting. After a proper period of rest, the organisms consume a large portion of organic matter and transform it into compost. This can be used to improve soil fertility and as manure for crops.

 

Only by utlizing such techniques we can reverse the damage we’ve yet imparted on our Mother Earth.

Article by Navya