Waste management is everybody’s job. But some of us have inadvertently delegated this duty to ‘waste management people’ all to the detriment of our environment. This is a two-part post that seeks to explain the basics you may need to know on the effective management of waste.
Wastes have types
We all generate wastes every day in our homes, places of work etc. and have various ways to dispose all the wastes generated to have a clean environment. What we all call clean differs, so one person’s ‘clean’ might not be ‘clean’ for another. But that is not the focus of this piece. The wastes we generate vary in forms, types, chemical composition, and sizes. These variations determine how best to dispose the waste to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Wastes can either be organic, which decompose or decay easily, or inorganic, which take a long time to decompose or decay. Food wastes and dungs are examples of organic wastes, while metals and plastics are examples of inorganic wastes. These two types of waste have their various ways of contributing to the environment positively or negatively, depending on where they are dropped. Because the environment acts upon these wastes differently, it is very important to dispose every kind of waste we generate properly.
Why you should dispose properly
While all some people do is pack all kinds of waste together in a waste bin for disposal, we need to be mindful that all kinds of wastes should not end up in the same place. Why all wastes should not end up in the same place is because they decompose at different time frames. Those that decompose in 24 hours will leave those that take a longer time to decompose behind, and those left behind will be left to constitute a nuisance within the environment in a way or another. So, you see that just a tiny careless action of mixing waste together can cause a big waste management problem. Some people believe that the wastes they pack together would end up at the dumping ground and would be burned. But do you know that when wastes of different types are burned, the process of burning releases greenhouse gases into the environment? The gases released can cause numerous chronic and acute health problems, contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer that in turn affects our climate. Meanwhile, some just dump their wastes inside gutters and drainage leading to blocked drainages. And some wastes find their ways to the oceans to destroy the lives of aquatic animals.
Written by Abiola Akinniyi