You hear the sound of the doorbell ringing. You’ve been eagerly waiting for this as you know it’s the delivery man with the parcel you ordered online.
Unlike other days when it’s your mother who has to answer the door no matter who comes to your house, in this case it’s you who will be the first to rush to the door.
In no time, you’ve answered the doorbell, signed the paper and frantically tear up the box in order to take out the precious thing you’ve been waiting for so long to arrive.
Usually, the parcel comes to us wrapped in different layers of bubble wrap, thermocol, plastic, cardboard and more layers of cardboard. In fact, the act of opening the box is a ritual we all love.
Meanwhile, the dustbin is overflowing with all the plastic and bubble wrap you ‘ordered’ along with the parcel. None of us have any idea where it may land up and we don’t care about it either After all, we’ve got what we want.
At different points in history, numerous great personalities have had some great thoughts through which they did something worthwhile for everyone. It was their circumstances that made them ponder upon what needs to be done to bring a change among people. In our present age, we too have something to think about.
We see it everywhere. At times, we also complain about it. But we need to do much more than this. Amidst all the issues faced by our society, the issue of waste management affects all sections of the society in the same measure.
Society as a whole should try to find a solution to the problem. If the apple that fell on Newton got him start thinking about gravity, the waste we see lying around is something we need to think about.
Efficient Waste Management – the need of the hour
Waste management is an urgent need and has gained all the more importance in the present age where there are more cities than villages. Moreover, the rise of a consumerist culture has created a way of life where we consume more than we need and generate tons of waste in the process.
In the earlier days, waste management was never a serious issue. This is because people lived a simple life using natural products which did not create much waste. They used utensils made of iron or copper for cooking and bottles and canisters made of glass for storing food items.
Our parents’ childhood memories revolved around such a period when plastic was not very popular. They faced far less pollution problems than we face nowadays. Conservation was never a trending topic.
In those days, they didn’t have to worry about it as they lived a simple, less sophisticated life. Unfortunately, we live in a period where the Earth is getting polluted more than ever before. This is where efficient waste management can be a solution to this challenge.
Types of Waste
Waste management is a civic issue. It is mostly faced in cities as it is here that more number of people live, thus generating more waste. Mainly, there are two types of waste – Biodegradable and Non- biodegradable. Biodegradable waste refers to waste that decomposes naturally in soil.
These include food waste, paper, dry leaves etc. This waste gets decomposed because worms and other microorganisms present in the soil break down the waste into smaller particles which slowly blend with the soil. This can then be used as manure for plants. It also increases soil fertility.
Non-Biodegradable waste refers to waste that cannot be decomposed by natural processes. This is because these are man-made products. Non-biodegradable waste comprises of plastic waste, synthetic clothes, steel, aluminum, electronic waste etc. Such waste does not decompose naturally in soil.
When we dump plastic and other such non-biodegradable waste, it stays as it is and doesn’t undergo any change. In addition to this, they contaminate the soil and destroy its natural fertility. They rob the soil of its nutrients and minerals making the place uninhabitable.
E-Waste or electronic waste
The most dangerous polluter in this category. It is the waste generated from used appliances and mobile phones.
These include wired, cables, rusted metals, micro-chips, CD-ROM’s, hardware etc. Unlike plastic which can be recycled, e-waste cannot be recycled easily. It is an expensive, time-consuming, and long-drawn process.
Consequences of Ineffective Waste Management
The mounting piles of garbage in our surroundings are also one cause of soil pollution. Burning of waste is not the solution to curb this menace. This releases toxic fumes which are a serious health risk. Prolonged exposure to such gases can cause respiratory and heart problems.
On the other hand, when fertile land is converted into landfills, we lose a huge chunk of precious land that could be used for agriculture.
Irresponsible authorities and our ignorance of the gravity of this issue is what resulted in this being such a grave challenge. It is high time that we understand the ill effects of an inefficient waste management system and take measures to tackle the problem.
Solution – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
On a positive note, along with the rising problems created by increased waste generation, we have also come up with ways to control it. Government and the civil society organizations have devised novel methods to solve the crisis. There are numerous methods and scientific ways by which we can recycle waste at home.
These include pit composting, pipe-compost and biogas plants for food waste and recycling machines and incinerators for non-biodegradable waste.
A ban on plastic can also reduce the use of plastic to a large extent. Residential communities can also arrange for their waste to be taken to recycling centers and encourage composting at homes. This can later be used as manure for soil. Also, instead of burning paper waste, we can sell them to the scrap market.
Best out of waste is the new in-thing nowadays. It has slowly replaced the use-and-throw culture. We can create amazing craft work from paper or plastic. This is another mode of recycling.
All of these methods are slowly gaining ground among the masses as there is increased awareness among the people that waste management and development go hand in hand.
We have more to achieve in this direction as we are solely responsible for the fate of our actions that harm the earth. Thus, effective waste management is one step in this direction.