The world can never be rid of waste materials. However, the production of unwanted as well as useful waste materials can be controlled through proper management. Biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes are the two types of waste present in our planet. We are currently faced with problems that aroused due to improper management of wastes, be it biodegradable or non –biodegradable. Excessive production of either can be a huge problem to the ecosystem and environment.
Biodegradable wastes like cow manure and food wastes, when produced in excess and discarded into the soil can cause an increase in soil Ph causing damage to the soil, plants and other organisms living in the surroundings. Food wastes and cow manure, when exposed to air gets mineralized into carbon dioxide by methanotrophic bacteria present in the soil. The gaseous form of methane increases surface ozone that causes harmful chlorosis, yellowing the leaves of plants. This chlorosis causes damage to plants and crops about nine times that done by carbon dioxide in the air.
Non-biodegradable waste like plastic is something that we cannot live without. The want and need of the people for these materials is also a major issue in eradicating this harmful material. It has become a part of our everyday life, ranging from carry bags, sheets and covers to pipes, car parts and buckets. Plastic, when discarded doesn’t rot away or decay like biodegradable materials, disrupting the biodiversity, ecosystem and our environment. Made out of various chemical components, they cannot be destroyed without having consequences. When burned, plastic lets out various furans and dioxins into the atmosphere causing serious threat to the health of plants, animals and humans alike. Another component of plastic, PVC, is a highly carcinogenic non-biodegradable material. When discarded without proper management, PVC’s release toxic, chlorine based chemicals, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, water and food.
Production of fecal waste materials by animals cannot be controlled by humans but with proper and controlled use of these materials, production of excessive amount of these materials becomes negligible. Ways to use it properly is to have bio gas plants and bio fertilizer production. Food wastes can easily be controlled by not wasting any food and having a vermicompost, bio gas plants etc.
Problems with non-biodegradable materials cannot be resolved as easily since it has become a part of our everyday life. But the Indian government has taken initiatives to subduing the use of plastics and its components. India has taken a pledge to ban all single use plastic by the year 2022 and has already banned the import of plastic in March 2020. With the ban of plastic covers, cups, bottles, plates et cetera, annual consumption of plastic has been cut down to about 5-10%. Also, about 60% of plastic in the country is being recycled annually and with more cooperation from the people, it can go up to 75 or 90 per cent of the country’s plastic being recycled. If the people around the globe are against the production and use of plastic, this toxic substance can be wiped off the face of the earth.
In conclusion, though the improper management and use of waste materials poses a great threat to the existence of humanity, the answer to these problems lie in plain sight. Not wasting food to reduce food wastes and having a bio fertilizer to produce fertilizers from excess manure that is used as a fertilizer in its raw form. Government policies and initiatives to reduce the use of plastic and recycling them have increased a decline in wastage of plastic materials. If the people in this world join hands in defiance to waste materials, the world won’t be rid of it but will be rid of excessive toxic substances that disrupt the ecosystem and the environment that we live in.