Haritima : The Environmental Society Of Hansraj College

what is solid waste management?

  • In simple words, it can be said that management of the solid waste in the environment through man-made or natural processes is known as Solid Waste Management.
  • The higher standards of living of ever-increasing population have resulted in an increase in the quantity and variety of waste generated.
  • Now the consumption rate is much higher than the production rate. Management of solid waste has, therefore, become very important in order to minimize the adverse effects of solid waste.

classification of solid waste

  • Waste from Homes: Polyethylene bags, cans, scrap metals, glasses, bottles, waste paper, food waste, cloth, etc.
  • Waste from Shops: Egg shells, tea leaves, packaging material, waste paper, bottles, peanut shells, etc.
  • Construction/demolition waste: Debris and rubbles, wood, concrete, etc.
  • Agricultural Waste: Horticulture waste, Vegetable parts.
  • Biomedical Waste: Anatomical waste, pathological waste, infections waste, etc.
  • Waste from slaughtered homes: Residues and remains of slaughtered animals.

an urban solid waste dumping site

  • Biodegradable Waste: Urban solid waste materials that can be degraded by microorganisms are called biodegradable waste. Examples; are vegetable waste, tea leaves, egg shells, peanut shells, steal food, dry leaves, etc.
  • Non- biodegradable Waste: Waste that cannot be degraded by microorganisms is called non-biodegradable Waste. For example; scrap metal, polyethylene bags, glass bottles, etc.
  • Industrial Waste: Includes a large number of materials such as factory rubbish, packaging materials, organic waste, metals, acids, etc.
  • Radioactive waste: produced by nuclear power plants.
  • Thermal power plants produce fly ash in large quantities
  • Solid waste: (from other types of industries) includes scrap metal rubber, paper, oils, plastic, paints, scrap leather, ceramics, heavy metals, glass, wood, batteries, etc.

Effects of solid waste

  • People clean their houses and litter their immediate surroundings, thus, producing a foul smell.
  • Spoiling of waste leads to breeding of various types of insects and infections germs which are harmful to the people.
  • Recyclable waste when mix into non-recyclable waste makes it unable the process of decomposition which leads to the creation of more landfills.
  • Waste like paper, scraps, polybags when mix with batteries, radioactive materials, pesticides, makes segregation and disposal more difficult and riskier. Burning of such substances produces harmful and highly toxic gases.
  • Industrial solid wastes are highly toxic and hazardous which may spread on land and can affect productivity in soil.
  • Toxic substances percolate to contaminate the groundwater.

how we can manage solid waste management?

For waste management, we stress on REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE before destruction and safe storage of waste.

  • Reduction in use of raw materials: It will correspondingly decrease the production of waste. Reduced demand for any metallic product will decrease the mining of its metal and would cause less production of waste.
  • Reuse of waste materials: Villagers make casseroles and silos from waste paper and waste materials.
  • Bottles, foil roles, waste paper, glasses can be used for DIY home decors.
  • Making rubber rings from discarded cycle tubes instead of rubber bands reduces the waste generated during manufacturing of rubber bands.

Because of financial constraints poor people reuse their material to the maximum.

  • Recycling: It is the processing of discarded materials into new useful products.
  • Old aluminum cans and glass bottles are melted and recast into new cans and bottles
  • Preparation of cellulose insulation from paper, preparation of fuel pellets from kitchen waste. Preparation of automobiles and construction materials from steel cans.

For discarding waste the following methods can be adopted

  • Composting: The process of making compost from the waste material is very popular. All the kitchen waste, newspapers, dry leaves or any biodegradable item is mixed with compost. Then after it is left over for a period of three to four months. During this time the waste is allowed to degrade or decompose in an oxygen-rich medium. A good quality nutrient-rich and environmentally friendly manner are formed which improves the soil conditions and fertility.
  • Incineration: Incinerators are large burning plants capable of burning a large number of materials at high temperatures. During incineration high levels of dioxins, furans, lead and cadmium may be emitted with fly ash from incinerators.

For incineration of materials, it’s better to get rid of batteries containing heavy metals. Prior removal will reduce emissions of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

  • Sanitary landfill: In a sanitary landfill, garbage is spread out in the layers, compacted and covered with clay or plastic foam.

In the modern landfills, the bottom is covered with an impermeable liner usually several layers of clay, thick plastic and sand. The liner protects the groundwater from being contaminated due to percolation of leachate.

Leachate from bottom is pumped and sent. When landfill is full, it is covered with clay sand gravel and topsoil to prevent seepage of water. Several wells are drilled near the landfill site to monitor if any leakage is contaminating the groundwater.

Methane produced by anaerobic decomposition is collected to produce electricity and heat.

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