Waste are anything, unwanted or unusable materials that are intended to be disposed of. For example: a broken toy, used batteries, vegetable and fruit peels, sewage etc. Waste can be categorized into different types. Earlier we used to categorize waste broadly into two categories:
Now we have more apt classification and categorization of waste on the basis of certain parameters such as source of generation, their disposal etc. We see a lot of waste disposed in our community on daily basis. These wastes come from household, industries, agriculture etc. As per annual report of Indian Government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs, it is estimated that the total generation of solid waste is approximately 150,000 tons per day. Also,2018 World Bank report found that India generated 277.1 million tonnes of waste annually. With such a huge amount of waste production per day, we need an effective waste management for their proper disposal.
In our day to day life we see garbage lying here and there in our locality, on roads and several other places. Sometimes even we see huge dump of waste lying near the roadside. These wastes tend to be there for a long period of time that not only seems nuisance but also leads to spread of diseases that affects public health, wildlife and even it has adverse impact on climate.
Unattended waste lying around attracts flies, rats, and other creatures that in turn spread disease. Normally it is the wet waste that decomposes and releases a bad odour. This leads to unhygienic conditions and thereby to a rise in the health problems. The emissions from trash can lead to develop diseases such as asthma, birth defects, cancer, cardiovascular disease, childhood cancer, COPD, infectious diseases, low birth weight, and preterm delivery. The plague outbreak in Surat is a good example of a city suffering due to the callous attitude of the local body in maintaining cleanliness in the city.
We came across a news around a year ago that nearly 18kg plastic trash was surgically removed from the stomach of an ailing cow which had been admitted to Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) at Parel, Mumbai. Unfortunately, the animal did not survive.
As per the data submitted by the Rajasthan government in the state Assembly which was accessed by India Today, close to 1,000 bovine animals, including cows, have died in the last four years due to the consumption of garbage. Cattle deaths due to consumption of plastic or other harmful metals became a common scenerio now adays. Waste disposed in water bodies had resulted in misery for several aquatic animals like fish, seals, turtles, whales etc. This not only affect wildlife but also imparts huge effect in our lives. As these wastes tend to enter in our food chain leading to several diseases such as minamata caused by fishes. It can also leads to financial strain as the milk productivity of cows decreases due to plastic consumption.
The trash that is dumped in landfills releases methane gas. Open landfills were found to represent 91% of all landfill methane emissions. The burning of large, open piles of trash in various parts of the world emits dangerous levels of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is heating up our planet. Researchers have calculated that approximately 40% of the world’s trash is burned in this fashion, posing large-scale risks to both our atmosphere and the people that live near these burning sites.
The government has taken several initiatives towards sanitation .The national cleanliness drive – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – is one of the most popular campaign launched by honourable PM Narendra Modi. Launched on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2, 2014, the movement had people coming out to clean the roads across India. Implemented as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government claims to have built over nine crore household toilets and 32 states or Union Territories have been declared open defecation-free since October 2, 2014.
The ‘Namami Gange Programme’ was approved by the union government (June, 2014) to conserve and rejuvenate the river .The Centre allocated a total of Rs 20,000 crore to conserve and rejuvenate the river. It involved the people living on the banks of the river, and helped them attain sustainable livelihoods and feel the impact first-hand.
Since now we have came across several impacts of improper waste disposal and can come to conclusion that for leading a healthy and better lifestyle, sanitation is very important. From our rooms to our community it is our responsibility to check that our society is clean. At the grassroot level, the people of our community can do a huge contribution towards proper disposal of waste. A minimum participation of the community is required in putting the garbage at the street in a proper way
at the right time. People can be collectively responsible in more or less organised activities, like meetings, clean-up campaigns, and awareness-raising activities. Furthermore, community participation may involve making material, financial or physical contributions to activities of solid waste management, for instance working as cart operator or sweeper, and paying fees for waste collection. A step further is actively participating in formulating the project i.e. participation in meetings and expressing opinions and ideas about the objectives and activities of the project, and closely following the project and its progress.
Case study- A pilot project on community participation in Bangalore:
Nagapura, ward fourteen of Bangalore, has a population of 40,000 to 50,000 inhabitants and is comprised of a middle and upper class area with about 8000 households
and a low-income area with approximately 800 households. The ward is mostly residential with some major commercial centres, which are the major waste generators. About 15 to 20 tons of waste per day is generated. Schemes for door to door collection have been present for
the last few years. One of the schemes is run by the Centre for Environmental Education
(CEE), which provides waste collection to 430 houses and employs six waste retrievers that operate three tricycles. The waste collectors earn additional money from the sale of recyclable materials such as glass, paper, and plastic. The organic waste is composted in pits in a nearby park on land that has been provided by the municipality. Participating residents pay
a monthly fee, which is set by the waste management committees. From these fees the salaries of the collectors are paid and surplus money is used for maintenance of equipment.
We saw the impact of improper waste disposal on our surrounding and in our lives. Though the government had taken several initiatives to provide public sanitation, we are also collectively responsible towards keeping our surrounding clean. As a community we can not only help in effective waste management but can also contribute to provide employment to some poor people as we see in case of Nagapura.