Have you ever thought, Where all of our waste goes? What would happen if we continue throwing waste here and there? What would be the side-effect? Are there some solutions we can apply to manage waste?
These are some common questions we all ask but how many of us try to solve them? We can ask questions to the Government but it is not only their responsibility we all have to work together for a better community. We are all busy in our lives. We had forgotten some important things in our lives and one of them is our nature. We are all forgetting about taking care of nature and one of the things that harm our nature is waste.
What is waste and How is it harming our nature?
Waste is unwanted and unattainable materials and is regarded as a substance which is of no use ( But sometimes it could reuse or recycle) Waste that we see in our surroundings also known as garbage. Garbage is mainly considered as solid waste that includes waste from our homes (Domestic waste), Waste from school, offices etc ( municipal waste), Waste from industries and factories ( Industrial waste).
According to India Today, India generates more than 1.50 lakh metric tonnes of solid waste every day. The waste we are producing is very large in number and causes some serious problems.
Do you know?
The Deonar dumping ground is India's biggest dumping ground or landfill. The dumping ground extends our 132 hectares and receives about 5,500 metric tonnes of waste, 600 tonnes of silt and 25 tonnes of biomedical waste daily.
How waste is harming our nature?
Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems. Some waste will eventually rot but not all and in the process, they generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to global warming.
Waste materials that are a curse for nature:
Polythene bags and plastic bottles- polythene bags and plastic bottles take about 10 to 1,000 years to decompose in nature and plastic bottles take about 450 years and more to decompose in the soil. Till then, they all are present in nature and cause soil pollution.
One of the famous quotes by Emerson
"We have not inherited the world from our forefathers. We have borrowed it from our children''
Meaning - we don't have any right on this earth, we had borrowed it from our children so we don't have any right to destroy this earth. We have to save earth for future use and it is our responsibility to give this earth to our children as it is. So we need to stop using harmful things and stop generating so much waste and should do work for a brighter future.
Now, we have seen what are the causes? But how can we solve this problem?
Firstly, I would like to tell you a story
"Once upon a time, there was a village called Chaganpur in southern India. The village was exploitive of nature. There was everything available be it good crops, rivers or mountains. But by modernity people start using plastic bags in large amounts, they don't segregate their waste and used to throw their waste here and there in plots but in a short time in every plot build home and no place is left for dumping waste. Firstly, everyone used to feel easy to ignore the problem but after sometimes when it starts stinking everyone thought that it is the high time to take some action. So, they decided to take this case to the panchayat. Panchayat decided to have a meeting on Sunday on this case.
People gathered and they started thinking about solutions. So, the following conversation happened-
Mohan- In my opinion, we should make a pit and start dumping our waste in that pit.
Sattu- But it will pollute our soil. In my opinion, we should follow the 3 R's policy. R's stands for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. By this, we can reduce our waste and it will also help in the reduction of soil pollution.
Krishna and Mohan- what do you want to say that these all waste is collected because of us. No, this waste is collected here because of the government. You cannot make a fool of us.
Sattu - No, I am not saying that. My point is just that we all should be responsible for our environment. Everything is not the Government mistake. We all also have responsibilities towards our nation.
Rekha - Mukhiya ji, Mohan's idea is good. l also think that we should start dumping our waste in the pit. Sattu had lost his mind. He thinks that he is the only intelligent person left in this world.
Mukhiya ji- We can have voted for both the ideas.
So, the next step is to count the votes. They start counting votes.
Mukhiya ji- The idea that wins is Mohan's idea. So from nowhere, we will start dumping our waste in the pit.
They started dumping their waste in the pit. They start growing their crops. But unfortunately this year their crops were not good. They cannot be sold because of the smell that is coming from them. Suddenly everyone started going to Mohan's house because his family is very sick. They cannot even stand from bed.
Then Sattu says- I am telling you all now that we all should stop dumping our waste in the pit. Because of that our soil is polluting day by day. This time crops were not that much healthier and eating that crop Mohan's family is sick. Do you want your family in the same condition? If you want so, you can continue dumping waste in the pit. If you don't want so, start applying 3 R's policy.
Sarpanch Meeting held-
Everyone was very worried. Mukhiya ji said what do you want to do next? Everyone said we want to apply 3 R's policy. So, Mukhiya ji asked Sattu to explain everything about 3 R's policy.
Reduce- using non-biodegradable products in less number.
Reuse- use products for at least 2-3 times as a new product.
Recycle- send the recyclable products to recycling factories.
Sattu said if we will try to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste so there would be waste collected in less number and that will help the soil to prevent itself from soil pollution and for now, we can call to Municipal corporation to give their services in our village also and we will try to plant as many trees as we can. Everyone agreed with Sattu and started following this policy in their village and then the village back in its original state."
The policy that was applied is called 3 r's policy.
Reduce means to stop using the number of things in a large amount and if we will reduce the number of things so, there would be less to recycle and reuse. The process of reducing things begins with an examination of what we are using?
Is there something else that can be used for this purpose?
As we know it takes a lot of time to polythene bags and plastic bottles to decompose in the soil. So, we can use paper, jute and cloth bags and glass bottles instead of polythene and plastic bottles.
Is this something that needs to be done?
30% of waste in landfills comes from product packaging. So, We really need to avoid products with more packaging and should use eco-friendly products.
These are some things we can do to reduce waste-
Print on both sides of the paper to reduce the wastage of paper.
Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
Use refillable pens instead of buying so many.
Reuse means to use some products for second Times as a new product. When we reuse something as opposed to throwing it away we keep out the waste out of landfills and create something new. We can reuse old products or can donate them to the needy one.
Before buying something, think about is there anything you already have that can help you?
When we all go to shopping malls we all just buy new clothes without thinking that we already have so many clothes and if you really want to buy some clothes so remember to apply to hand me down policy. Like when we bought home we want everything to buy new but just think about, How old things can be used as new things?
Use the broken items for creating something new.
Make doormats by polythene bags.
Use older newspapers to pack something.
We can plant the plants in plastic bottles.
Donate old books, so it can be used by anyone else.
Recycling means to remanufacture of a product to be sold as new. Along with paper, plastic, and glasses, there are tonnes of things which could be recycled.
How can we recycle waste products?
We can find recycled factories and can give our things to them for recycling.
We can collect plastic bottles and can make wall hangings.
Buy products that are recycled.
These small steps can save our whole earth. Now you have to choose which kind of future you want? It will only depend on your actions, How the future will look like? So just think before doing something.
- Vibha Rawat, grade 10
Kashmere gate, Delhi