Segregation at Source
India, with a population of 377 million and, an equally high amount of waste generation amounting to 62 million tonnes of waste every year, collects 70% of the total waste and treats only 20% of that. The rest (around 50%) is dumped in landfill sites.
Waste is no alien term for people. Whenever we step outside of our house, we can easily see waste been disposed of at various places. Every nook and corner of our city, our state, and our country is a witness of disposed waste. Waste is basically some unwanted objects and items that no longer serve our utility and are left behind after their first use. With a great population as that of India, it is expected that a huge amount of waste would be generated as mentioned above. Waste comprises of different kinds ranging from being biodegradable to non-biodegradable. The wastes, if not treated properly, are destined to have adverse effects on our health. The foul smell and the filthy condition in which these wastes remain is fatal for human beings and therefore, it is important that these wastes are disposed of at the earliest possible and this would be beneficial for both the environment and the human being. But before disposing them off, the need of the hour is to segregate them at the source.
Segregation at source implies engaging oneself into classifying the wastes into different categories. It is a significant aspect of waste disposal that the wastes must be segregated based on biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and domestic hazardous wastes. This is important because if the distinction and separation are not done properly at the source of generation only, the wastes would not be properly treated. To be precise, when the normal waste would get mixed with the hazardous waste, and treatment process that will follow would be harmful to the environment and for the people. It is also imperative as the cost of disposal of hazardous wastes is reduced as the normal wastes are separated from the mixed lot. In recent news, we have seen that the developing or underdeveloped countries are returning the wastes sent to them by the developed ones for disposing of. This is because they could no longer hold the wastes and put the huge amount of waste in landfills. The space contraction and deadly diseases that are transmitted through the wastes are killing the people. This is a serious issue and could be tamed to a great extent with the practice of segregation as segregation would imply lesser amounts of waste after treatment that would go in the landfills. Not only this, because of segregation, the chances of following the 3R’s principles are widened and the reuse and recycling of wastes could be held more efficiently. If we will segregate the wastes at source only, we could employ many items from it to a reusable position. For example, plastics bottles and containers could be reused for planting purposes or storing cereals and pulses. The biodegradable wastes like vegetable peels etc could be used for making composts that would enrich the soil. Even the metals once segregated from the other wastes could be used in manufacturing or construction industries. Some wastes could also be used for energy recovery purposes. If we want to get ourselves rid of harmful and deadly diseases it is important to segregate them prior.
Various practices could be undertaken to make segregating an effective measure. The government has made it mandatory for the wastes generators to have two dustbins for different kinds of wastes, for instance, in the household, it is advised for them to have two dustbins one green and the other blue. Green is to be used to dispose of wastes that are wet in nature, for example, peels of fruits and vegetables, food remains, etc and the blue dustbin is used as a dry bin mainly for the dry wastes waste paper, cartons of goods, packaging of the products, plastics, etc. The government has also started the program called MoUD, which is a multimedia campaign for educating the masses for reducing waste generation, practicing segregation, and is working towards leading as an example for the whole nation. Apart from this, it is also advised for the people to carry out healthy sanitation activities and properly dispose of the sanitary wastes like toilet paper, sanitary pads, etc. Also, the practices like gathering the wastes and burning it or throwing it away haphazardly, or even not properly burying it are equally harmful to the environment and people and must be immediately stopped, because it will form a vicious circle. The solid wastes would be burned and would turn into gaseous waste, the gaseous wastes would then be settled down with the help of sprinkling of water and would therefore turn into liquid waste and when we will provide heat to that waste to dry it would again take its original form. To put an end to it, we must segregate them in their original form only or rather engage them into other useful activities. For instance, plastics are very harmful to the environment and could not be easily disposed of but they can be included in different works because they have high calorific value, like recently we have seen the use of plastics in various industries and even in space missions. Doing this would prove to be a better option as it would reduce the cost as well as it would also be beneficial for the environment.
Segregation of wastes in a country like India is very imperative because being a developing nation one of the primary things is to minimize the cost in every field and especially in waste generation and the key to this is the practice of waste segregation at source. The process of segregation is important when the process attached to it is implemented properly. Even when if the segregation is successful but the process is hindered, the desired results would never be obtained, as both these serves as an integrated team and are dependent upon each other. Though the segregation of wastes is important, it should never be enforced upon people. The chance should always be given to the people to accept it as a practice of day-to-day life and moreover like a habit. If it is made a habit it would be as natural as to do other chores and not something mandatory but significantly important to do.