What is Solid Waste Management

On October 6, 2011, in Solid Waste Management, by Jitendra

When we talk about solid waste, it is a collective term which is generally used for garbage, rubbish, trash, refuse which belong to the category of solid waste materials as set apart from fluid refuse. In most urban societies, proper disposal, collection and treatment of solid wastes is of utmost importance to civic authorities and this is increasingly impacting our environment and the health of the beings which live inside it.

As per statistics, in the United States alone, about two kg of wastes are collected per person by the municipalities. Such solid wastes exclude recyclable materials such as paper, paperboard, glass. Most of the solid wastes comprise of food residues in large quantities, yard trimmings, textiles, plastics and sludge from sewage treatment. Today there are many recycling programs as well as compost programs which are being undertaken by sewage treatment authorities by which the solid waste management has been impacted to a great extent. However, even then, the amount of solid wastes that societies and cities continues to accumulate keeps increasing and threaten to pollute our land, water, air unless such garbage is more effectively managed.

What is Solid Waste Management Most solid wastes land up in landfills. In most cities, the municipalities collect the garbage from the various collection points and gather them in landfills. However, such solid wastes if allowed to remain untreated can lead to vermins growing and breeding in such areas as well as increase the growth of disease carrying organisms, pollute the land and water bodies and so forth. Hence sanitary landfills are often used as a method of disposing solid wastes. Here the water is spread into thin layers and covered with earth. Such sanitary provisions help to remove most of the risks of pollution. Most landfills depend on the natural decaying process whereby most of the elements are broken down and returned back to the soil. However, many types of paper, plastics and textiles do not degrade and hence become major causes of pollution to the environment.

Incineration is often resorted to which helps to reduce the volume of solid wastes by burning them off. However, fly ash, toxic fumes and other forms of chemical by products often come out of such a process which are equally contaminant to the environment. Today, new techniques have been formed of scrubbing off pollutants from the incinerator stacks before the incinerators are used. Around 16% of municipal solid wastes are combusted.

Recycling and composting are other ways of solid waste disposal. These methods not only help to enrich the natural supply of earth’s resources but also help to conserve energy in the different manufacturing and mining industries. Steel from scraps and aluminum recovered from cans are widely used in many recycled projects.

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