What is Waste Management?
‘Waste Management’ refers to the management of waste from its inception to final disposal. It incorporates collection, segregation, disposal and recycling of waste. It also encompasses the legal and regulatory framework related to the waste management.
All kinds of wastes like municipal waste, industrial waste, agricultural wastes and special types of wastes like health care wastes come under the category of waste. The method of management of different type of waste may be different.
Why the Waste Management is Necessary?
Waste management is necessary for environment protection as well as for energy conservation. It reduces the effect of waste on the health of human beings, animals and other species living on our planet. Waste management also help reuse and recycle the waste items such as paper, metal, glass, etc.
Waste Management and Disposal Methods
Management and disposal of waste is very necessary as it can pose serious challenge to the environment if not disposed properly. Particularly, the management and disposal of non- biodegradable and toxic wastes like health care waste, radioactive remains, etc. can potentially cause health hazard and damage to the environment. Therefore, the disposal of these kind of wastes is serious concern.
There are many methods of waste management & disposal, some of which are discussed below:
This is the most popular and simple methods used in modern times. This involves throwing daily waste/ garbage in the landfills. Landfills are commonly found in developing countries.
The disadvantages of this method is odors and foul gases coming from the landfills which are unpleasant to the commuters and local residents near the land fill. Although there are some methods which can be used to reduce the odor. Other disadvantage is that the pollutants may seep into the ground and contaminate the ground water causing health hazard.
This method is being used less now a day due to shortage of land and presence of gases like methane, etc. in the nearby areas.
Incineration or combustion is the disposal method in which the waste or garbage is disposed by burning at high temperature. The waste is converted into residues and gaseous products through this method. For burning the waste, incinerators are used which convert the solid materials into heat, gas, steam and ash. This method is used in the countries, where land is not available for landfill method of waste disposal, such as US and Japan.
Recovery and Recycling
In the resource recovery method, the useful discarded items are extracted for next use. These discarded items are then processed to extract or recover materials and resources or convert them to energy in the form of usable heat, electricity or fuel.
In the recycling process, the waste products are converted into new products to prevent energy usage and consumption of fresh raw materials. Recycling is the third component of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle waste concept.
Recycling is very useful method of waste management, which helps to reduce energy usage, reduce the volume of landfills, reduce water and air pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent natural resources for future use.
Composting is a waste disposal methods used to decompose the organic wastes, such as garden and kitchen waste, into nutrient rich food for plants. It’s a natural bio- degradable process in which the organic waste is kept at a place undisturbed for months to be decomposed by microbes.
It is one of the best method of waste disposal since it converts the unsafe waste material into useful compost. The disadvantages of this method is that it is slow and requires a lot of space to convert the organic waste into compost.
Plasma gasification is a method of waste disposal in which the solid and liquid wastes are converted into synthetic gas with the help of plasma troches. In this method, a vessel consisting of plasma torch, operates at +10,000 0F which creates a gasification zone till 3000 0F to convert the solid and liquid wastes into a synthetic gas (also known as syngas). This method provides renewable energy and other benefits.
Avoidance/ Waste Minimization
This method of waste management focuses to reduce the creation of waste materials so that less waste material is available for disposal. Waste reduction and avoidance is achieved by recycling the old materials, repairing broken items instead of buying new ones, avoiding the use of disposable items like plastic bags, using second-hand items, etc. This is the simplest method of waste management.
Advantages of Waste Management
There are many benefits of waste management, some of which are discussed below:
Waste management and disposal helps keep our environment clean and green by proper disposal of waste material. This makes people healthy and disease free.
Decomposition and reduction of waste eliminates harmful materials which affect our environment adversely. If the waste is disposed properly, it reduces the impact of harmful green- house gases like carbon di-oxide and carbon mono-oxide and methane that are exuded from the landfills.
Energy conservation is one of the greatest benefits of waste management. Take the example of the practice of recycling papers. When a used paper is recycled, it minimizes cutting of trees and helps conserving energy and reducing carbon footprints.
Waste management and disposal has always provided jobs to people engaged in this practice. Now the waste management is becoming more organizes and emerging as an industry thus it has potential to create lots of employment opportunities.
Helps introducing best practices
Waste management helps people adopting best practices to keep our environment neat and clean. It motivates and teaches people to reuse and recycle produces and manage the waste properly. This practice eventually helps to create a sustainable world where all human beings, animals, plants & other species can live happily.
Waste management is the management of waste since its inception to final disposal. Waste management is necessary for environment protection as well as for energy conservation. Landfills, incineration/ combustion, recovery & recycling, composting and plasma gasification some of the important methods of waste management and disposal. The advantages of waste management include neat & clean environment, pollution control, energy conservation and employment creation.