WASTE IN MY COMMUNITY
Human activities related to livelihood and welfare generate waste. All waste are pollutants and they create pollution in one way or other. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective or of no use. Community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. This is a brief essay on how the wastes affect and influence the community and the different ways we can tackle the problems faced from it.
Classification of wastes:
- Bio-degradable wastes: These are wastes capable of being removed or degraded by biological or microbial action. Waste from agricultural products, animal wastes and wastes from food processing, leather, paper, fibre, etc. come under this group.
- Non bio-degradable wastes: the substances which are normally not acted upon and decomposed by microbes are non-biodegradable wastes. It includes mineral waste, mining waste and industrial waste, plastics etc.
- Mixture of bio-degradable and non bio-degradable wastes: It includes municipal waste and industrial waste. Municipal waste contains household garbage, piles of food scraps, old newspapers, discarded and thrown away materials, glass, cans, old appliances, broken materials, leather, shoes, plastics and others.
Health hazards of accumulated wastes:
- Decomposes and favours fly breeding
- It attracts rodents and vermin
- It is unaesthetic and produces bad odours
- There is a possibility of water and soil pollution
- The pathogens present in the solid waste may be conveyed back to man’s food through flies and dusts
Due to all the above factors the development of newer and more dangerous diseases might be at hand reach level. These effects are not confined to the human population but also affect the plant and other animal populations. So it is our necessitating duty to properly dispose off the wastes and keep our surroundings and community cleaner and more sightful.
One such disaster is mentioned below…
Minamata disease was first discovered in the city of Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, in 1956. It was caused by the release of METHYL MERCURY in the industrial wastewater from a chemical factory owned by the Chisso Corporation, which continued from 1932 to 1968. This highly toxic chemical bioaccumulate sand biomagnified in shellfish and fish in Minamata bay which, when eaten by the local population, resulted in mercury poisoning. This is one of the fatal accidents due to non indulgence in waste management.
Disposal of wastes:
There is no single method of waste disposal which is equally suitable in all circumstances. There are various methods for the management of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. Some of the methods are,
- Controlled tipping or sanitary landfill
- Manure pits
1. Dumping: In this method waste is dumped in low lying areas. This is an easy method of disposal of dry wastes and is also suitable for reclamation of land. As a result of bacterial action, the waste decreases considerably in volume and is converter gradually into humus. It is considered as the most unsanitary method of waste disposal.
2. Controlled tipping or sanitary landfill: It is the most satisfactory method of waste disposal where suitable land is available. In this method the material is placed in a treneh or other prepare area, adequately compacted, and covered with earth at the end of the working day. Three methods are used in this operation. They are, the trench method, the ramp method and the area method.
3. Incineration: Wastes can be disposed off hygienically by burning or incineration. Incineration requires a preliminary separation of dust or ash from the waste. Incineration involves heavy outlay and expenditure besides manipulate difficulties. Further, disposal of waste by burning is a loss to the community in terms of the much needed manure.
4. Composting: It is a process of nature where matter breaks down under bacterial action resulting in the formation of a relatively stable humus like material called COMPOST which has considerable manurial value for the soil. The heat produced during composting around 60 degree Celsius or higher destroys all pathogenic agents.
5. Manure pits: They are dug by individual house holders to dump the garbage, cattle dung, straw and leaves. They are covered with earth after each day’s dumping. In 5 to 6 month’s time, the waste is converted into manure which can be returned to the field. This method of waste disposal is effective and relatively simple in rural communities.
6. Burial: A trench is excavated, and at the end of each day the trench is filled with earth and compacted. This method is suitable for small camps.
The key to man’s health lies in his environment. Much of mans ill-health can be traced to adverse environmental factors such as water pollution, air pollution, poor housing conditions and presence of vectors of diseases which pose a constant threat to man’s health. The purpose of environmental and community health is to create and maintain ecological conditions that will promote health and thus prevent disease in all living beings on our planet.