After studying air, water, soil and industrial waste pollution in this unit, by now you must have started feeling the need of controlling environmental pollution: How can you save your immediate environment? Think of the steps/activities, which you would like to undertake for controlling air, water, soil and industrial waste pollution in your neighbourhood. Here, an idea about the strategies for the management of waste is given.
14.6.1 Waste Management
Solid waste is not the only waste, which you see in your household garbage box. Besides household discards, there are medical, agricultural, industrial and mining wastes. The improper disposal of wastes is one of the major causes of environmental degradation.
Therefore, the management of wastes is of utmost importance. You must be aware of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Clean India Mission’ launched by the Government of India.
Two programmes are being implemented under the broad umbrella of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. These are Swachh Bharat Mission–Urban (SBM–U) and Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM–G). The SBM–U primarily aims at making Urban India free from open defecation and achieving 100% scientific management of solid waste in the country.
The SBM–G targets to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in rural areas by promoting cleanliness and hygiene, and eliminating open defecation. It is accelerating its efforts to achieve the goal of universal sanitation coverage by 2 October, 2019, which is the birth aniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. If you have participated in some event on Swachh Bharat Mission, write your experiences.
Collection and Disposal
Domestic wastes are collected in small bins, which are then transferred to community bins by private or municipal workers. From these community bins, these are collected and carried to the disposable site. At the site, garbage is sorted out and separated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials.
Non-biodegradable materials such as plastic, glass, metal scraps etc. are sent for recycling. Biodegradable wastes are deposited in land fills and are converted into compost. The waste if not collected in garbage bins, finds its way into the sewers. Some of it is eaten by cattle.
Non-biodegradable wastes like polythene bag, metal scraps, etc. choke the sewers and cause inconvenience. Polythene bags, if swallowed by animals can cost their lives also. As a normal practice, therefore, all domestic wastes should be properly collected and disposed.
The poor management causes health problems leading to epidemics due to contamination of ground water. It is specially hazardous for those who are in direct contact with the waste such as rag pickers and workers involved in waste disposal, as they are the ones who handle waste materials mostly without protective device such as gloves or water proof boots and gas masks. What can you do for them?