Over the past few years, waste management has become a global concern. Commonly, waste is generated in households, factories, construction sites, refineries and nuclear power plants. As the population is increasing, consumption trends are changing. Along with improvement in lifestyle, it has posed alarming threats to the environment. If waste is not managed properly it can cause serious problems to human health and the environment. So, it is necessary for people and businesses to know the importance of waste management.
Why We Need Waste Management
The handling and disposing of liquid and solid waste, its treatment and recycling for further use falls under waste management.
Centuries ago, people used to dispose of their waste by digging a hole into a far-off land area. This waste disposal technique was meant to be efficient because of less population around that time. Waste production was less due to low population which made waste management easy. But now, due to the growing number of people, waste production has drastically increased making the disposal difficult. The waste produced nowadays include non-biodegradable and inorganic elements. If this waste is disposed of in landfills, it will decompose unnaturally and will take a lot of time. Waste management allow use to efficiently and properly dispose of all kind of waste.
Waste Management’s Importance
Waste management is important as it saves the environment from the toxic effects of inorganic and biodegradable element present in waste. Mismanagement of waste can cause water contamination, soil erosion and air contamination.
Waste can be recycled if collected and managed efficiently. Waste materials such as plastic, glass and paper can be segregated into different columns in order to process them to make new products which will save the natural resources. Moreover, when this waste is not recycled, it usually end up in landfills or oceans posing threat to human health and marine life. In most areas of the world sewage treatment is not done properly, leading to eutrophication and beach closures. According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) an estimate of 8 million ton plastic ends up in oceans each year.
Waste Management’s Importance: Food
Food Waste which is dumped into landfills produces methane gas due to breakdown without oxygen. Methane is a greenhouse gas and even more harmful than carbon dioxide. According to Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) methane poses harm to the environment 84 times more than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after being released. It absorbs sunlight causing an increase in global temperature.
According to an estimate in the year 2016, 1.6 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were recorded as a result of solid waste discard (WHAT A WASTE 2.0). About 50 percent of these emissions were resulted due to food waste. By the year 2050, these emissions will increase to approximately 2.4 billion tonnes if solid waste management will not improve.
Waste Management’s Importance: Economy
Waste management will not only save natural resources, biodiversity, and human life, it will also impact the economy in a positive way as there will be more jobs created for running an efficient waste management system. In developed countries waste is disposed into garbage disposal sites while in developing economies the waste usually ends up on streets and vacant areas. When this untreated waste is exposed to the air, it causes environmental hazard and also impacts the infrastructure. With the passage of time, waste management is becoming more important not just for environmental protection but also as a growing industry for an economy.
Businesses can save money by recycling the materials they produce. This would help decrease their waste disposal costs. Moreover, having knowledge about the different kinds of waste the company is creating, would make it easier for them to find waste management services according to their need and minimize their transportation costs. In addition to this, it helps environmental sustainability by minimizing emissions of greenhouse gases and preserving natural resources which in turn promotes the good image of the business. Restaurants can giveaway perishable food items to the needy instead of wasting them and causing harm to the environment.
Efficient Waste Management
Waste management is not only the responsibility of government organizations but as a responsible citizen, it is our responsibility to play our role in managing waste. Let’s see how efficient waste management can be done;
First and foremost, we should reduce waste at the source. It can be done if people minimize the waste they produce on daily basis. To know which product to use and how to dispose of it is extremely important. When visiting a restaurant, order as much food as you can eat rather than wasting it.
Reutilization of Waste
Some products can be used several times after being bought. Items can be used for the same purpose again or can be reused for different means. For example, we can donate our books and clothes to the needy for reuse or can redesign our clothes to wear again and give them a new look.
Recycling facilities can process the waste and make it useful for further use. Biodegradable waste such as food, paper or wood can be decomposed organically to make manure or fertilizers for plants.
It is the least preferred way of waste management. In this method combustion of non- recyclable waste is done, which results in a decreased amount of solid waste which is to be ended in landfills. This process aids in producing renewable energy along with minimizing carbon dioxide. In addition to this, methane release can be minimized which is produced through waste disposal in landfills.
Understanding waste management’s importance
In the current situation conventional ways of waste management can’t be practiced. With the passage of time waste management techniques have been evolved and it is important to realize that how important waste management is for our sustainable future and how we can assist in this regard. I hope by understanding the importance of waste management, you are inspired to check on how you are contributing to waste management and become aware of the power you have to help make the world a cleaner place.
You can easily help in taking part in proper recycling and regulating your trash, reducing your waste production with zero waste habits and so on.
Learn more about waste management.
“Marine Problems: Pollution.” WWF. Web. 26 Feb. 2021.
“Methane: The Other Important Greenhouse Gas.” Environmental Defense Fund. Web. 26 Feb. 2021.
“WHAT A WASTE 2.0.” Trends in Solid Waste Management. The World Bank. Web. 26 Feb. 2021.