‘Nature’; it is one such word from which we are very familiar and why we shouldn’t? At last, it is the mother of all creatures.
When I am talking about nature what image first comes to your mind?
A place where there are cool and transparent bottomless rivers that quench the thirst of every creature; the pleasuring air in which we can breathe freely and as deep as we can; the clear sky where we can find the sky creeping mountains; trees that shot high into the sky and provide a place to every peddler; a place where birds can creep small animals can move, fearlessly.
Is this is a place that comes to your mind? Or a place where water is polluted by human and industrial wastes; the air where we can’t breathe properly; the beautiful smiles of our face cover beneath face mask; where there is no greenery, no forest cover.
The first one is the place where humans were living a few decades ago and the second one is the place where we are living now.
That’s very surprising that within a short period human has managed to damage its environment, adversely. There are many causes behind these environmental damages but the cause of all causes is the blind production of wastes.
These waste substances create land, water, air, and soil pollution. The improper disposal of these wastes causes many hazardous and even life-threatening diseases. Global warming, environmental imbalance, Eutrophication, Acid rain, etc. all are the after- affects of improper waste disposal.
Then naturally, the question arises in your mind that can we stop producing this waste?
Well, Readers, the answer is very simple- No, because human is an ambitious species from its evolution. Human needs can never satisfy. When human needs increase then it is very common that the waste generated by humans also increases.
So, what we can do now?
Although we can’t stop producing waste yet we can reduce it and handle it in such a manner that its affect on the environment can be minimized and this process is called Waste Management.
Waste Management is not just an activity, it has become a necessity of today’s world and for a densely populated country like India, it is a matter of serious concern.
Waste management includes activities ranging from its collection at the source, its transportation, a different type of treatment, and eventually disposal of the treated waste.
From household to industrial level, everyone should put their efforts to reduce this waste. It is a prime responsibility of a household waste generator to separate this as biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste because if we separate this waste at the point of the generation then it will ease the further steps involved in waste management.
Even we can manage that waste at the domestic level. If the waste is biodegradable like vegetable peel, rotten fruits, etc. then we can use bio-reactor technology, in which microbes are used to treat that waste products and is converted into manure by using enzymes present in the microbes. It reduces the amount of waste and also generates a useful product at the same time.
If the waste product is non-biodegradable like plastic then we should be very careful because plastic is considered one of the worst pollutants. If we dump it in water, it creates water pollution. If we throw it on land, it creates land pollution. If we burn it, air pollution creates.
To deal with plastic waste one should adopt 5R’s- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, and Regenerate.
The ‘Best out of Waste’ method is also proved to be very effective in managing waste like plastic. This method can be well explained by taking the example of Jambulingam Street, Chennai. The road of that street was built in 2002. You may think that what’s new in that? Those roads were made from a cheap, polymer glue made from shredded waste plastic. That plastic road not only eliminates the road-cracking problem of that flood prone region but also shows human creativity towards waste management.
Management of Agricultural waste is also getting important these days. You may hear about ‘Parali’ that’s annually burns in Punjab and Haryana. It is considered the major reason for air pollution in Delhi and NCR. That kind of wastes is needed to be regulated as early as we can. We see that the burning of rice husk which is the waste material in the paddy field has caused pollution. Subsequently, it has been used as a raw material in the formation of bricks that remove the problem of air pollution as well as it can raise farmer’s income.
Domestic and agricultural waste management can’t alone get rid of the problem until the work would expand at an industrial level.
The manufacturing industries are the largest waste producing factor in India and all over the world. These industries need to be responsible for the environment. They must not directly discharge their waste on soli, air, or water. Improper disposal of toxic and contaminated Byproducts increase the risk of infection and develop resistant microorganisms. Even the mixing of hazardous with non-hazardous waste result in contamination and makes the entire waste hazardous.
As technology enhances, the need for waste management especially in the industrial sector also increases.
But after seeing the present scenario of the growing population and the blind production, we can say that achieving proper waste management is still a big deal for a country like ours.
The complete dependency on the informal sector for waste management, lack of finance, improper transportation of wastes, outdated technologies, overfilling of landfills are some of the factors that hinder us from moving in the direction of waste management.
But all these are the secondary hindrances. The primary obstacle is the unaware attitude of our society towards waste management. If we would be able to create awareness among society then surely, we can overcome that secondary hindrance also.
If a human can create waste, can’t this human be able to manage it?
I leave its answer to the present generation.
We need to understand that this nature can exist without us but we can’t exist without this nature.
So, save nature to save ourselves!