We try to protect anything that is precious to us. Sometimes we cannot find or get that but still, we give an attempt towards it, in the hope that one day it will be accomplished. Similarly, I am going to try bringing your attention to an important topic that is waste management. We all have the right to think and make the choices of our interest. Waste management has become a subject of concern globally and nationally. Let’s see why it is so? And is there any method that can solve this problem.
Even by trying our best some waste always gets generated, and we have noticed that but what do we do after that is important. Many times we mix all this in a container and throw it in bins provided by the government on road or sometimes we fool people who collect all this garbage. When we think of garbage disposal, we think that it gets loaded on municipal trucks which is either dumped as landfilling or undergo recycling. Have you ever bothered to know what exactly happens to it? Well, I would like to tell you a few things about the waste generated by us and others. And how does it affect lives and the environment?
Let’s consider the journalism initiative in Mumbai. According to Indiaspend.com, 377 million people in urban India generate 72 million tonnes (MT) of garbage daily. Some 45 MT of this is untreated, becoming a source of environmental pollution and, further down the line, an assortment of ailments. The kind of trashes produced is tremendous and we are not capable of managing it properly and reuse. We end up creating mountains of waste dumping in remote areas for landfilling and mostly burning. Many of us have thought it is a way to tackle the problem. Do you know that the waste that is left for the landfilling and burning creates methane gas and carbon dioxide which results in greenhouse effects and climate changes? Have you ever thought of its effects on human health? Certainly, chemicals released from untreated waste at dumping yards have a huge effect on human health e.g. cyanides, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls are highly toxic and exposure can lead to diseases like heart attacks, breathing problems (asthma), etc. or even can cause death. To tackle this problem we can adapt a very famous guideline provided by the government and that is to separate waste.
Segregating the waste
Manufacturing new materials is usually polluting and require a lot of mechanical and manpower with lots of energy. Therefore recycling is a much better option. So we need to replace one of our old habits of keeping all the waste in a single container and start separating the waste generated in our house. How does separating this waste help us and others?
Since different types of waste are produced at our house, it requires different ways of treatment. Separating will help to send it to the right place for its treatment or recycle. For this to happen we need to make separate space at home for garbage disposal and identify the types of wastes. Here is a small method to do it.
Assign bins to keep the waste material
Colour bins can help you segregate your waste better. If you do not have coloured bins you can label the bins as organic waste and non-organic. Also, make some space like a compartment for hazardous waste.
The first bin is for organic waste (wet garbage)
There are many organic wastes generated in our home such as
➢ Kitchen waste like cooked and uncooked, including eggshells and bones
➢ Flower and fruit waste, juice peels and house-plant waste
➢ Garden sweeping or yard waste consisting of green/dry leaves
➢ Rotten vegetables & fruits
➢ Tea leaves/bags, etc.
This organic/ bio-degradable waste helps in making compost and this can be used for farms and small gardens instead of fertilizers like urea, dye, etc. This acts as manure and enriches the soil. This waste can be reused completely. Even one can try making compost at home followed by a few simple methods.
Second Bin for inorganic waste (dry garbage)
➢ Paper and plastic, all kinds
➢ Glass and metals of all kinds
➢ Foils, wrappings, pouches, sachets and tetra packs (rinsed)
➢ Discarded clothing, furniture and equipment, etc.
This bin always helps you fill your pockets with money if you can find a proper buyer. By selling it directly to the companies that use the material for recycling and reuse can give a feasible amount. By reusing it you can save resources.
Third bin for hazardous waste.
It is not necessary to make other bin as hazardous waste is not generated much.
➢ Expired medicines
➢ Bleaching chemicals
➢ Biomedical waste like a needle of injection, bandages, etc.
This type of waste mostly cannot be reused or recycled. To handle this proper methods should be followed to discard it and decompose it otherwise it leads to saviour problems and harm the environment. So it is necessary to separate and maintain it.
Government and NGOs like Raddiconnect in Mumbai, TIGO (Trust in Green Only) in Pune, Chintan in Delhi took the initiative to clean the environment and help others to dispose the waste by collecting it from doorsteps and use this waste to make money. By using different methods they are trying to provide employment opportunities to the needy people and feed their families. Your waste can be a way to fill the stomach of others. M. B. Nirmal is the founder and chairman of Exnora International says, “Waste is not waste until it is treated as waste”. By spreading the awareness about the separation of waste and using this waste as various ways to generate zero waste in Vellore. So to free India from this waste, all we need to do is change our habits and start segregating waste. Now it’s up to you to improve the condition of the environment or to pollute it more.
The choice is yours to create a future you want to see!
- Sachinkumar Pandit, First year B.Sc.
Yashwantrao Mohite college, Pune