What are the impediments in disposing the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? [Answer in 150 Words]
Brief Introduction about Solid Waste
- “Solid waste” means any garbage or refuse, resulting from various human activities that may be domestic chores, industrial operations, commercial, mining, and agricultural activities.
- Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste. Therefore several developmental activities, and an ever increasing population, are continuously generating solid waste.
- Every year, 55 million tonnes of municipal solid waste and 8 million tonnes of industrial solid waste is generated in India.
- For the development to be sustainable, it is important that the solid waste being generated is being disposed in an efficient way and is not taking a toll on environment. However, there are certain factors that act as impediments in disposing them.
- India is a society where the notion of purity and impurity runs deep in the minds of people. But due to this notion, while the homes are kept clean, the waste is discarded in the open mindlessly.
- People are not considerate enough to the environmental damage being caused due to the improper disposal of solid waste.
- All schemes and strategies for solid waste management will go in vane unless the people are considerate enough to these problems and take measures to address the same.
Un-trained Safai Karamcharis
- In addition to this the ‘safai karamcharis’ are un-trained and there is a lack the basic training in solid waste management. Due to this the solid waste is not properly segregated that leads to inefficient disposal of waste.
- Moreover, most of the waste is dumped in an open site on the outskirts of the cities or is incinerated which has further ramifications for the environment.
Insufficient Budget of Local Bodies
- The onus / responsibility of disposing and managing the solid waste is on the shoulders of Municipalities.
- However, due to a limited budget they are unable to deliver on this responsibility properly.
Lacunae in Technology
- Various developed countries have developed technologies to address the problems of Solid Waste Management (SWM). And many developing countries like China and Brazil are also adopting these technology.
- However, in India the limited budget of Municipalities combined with low motivation has inhibited innovation and the adoption of technology that could transform waste management in India.
- However, in spite of these issues, certain steps are being taken to remove the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment. Some of the important ones can be explained as follows.
- Bio-remediation is an important technique to safely remove the toxic wastes. It allows the naturally occurring micro-organisms to consume and break down environmental pollutants to clean a polluted site.
- Phytoremediation is the direct use of living green plants for in situ, or in place, removal, degradation, or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water and groundwater.
- Phytoremediation is a low cost, solar energy driven cleanup technique.
With the development of sophisticated technology, other methods like waste to energy conversion, plasma gasification, leachate etc are also being pursued for safely removing toxic waste.
- Generation of solid waste is an inevitable outcome of any human developmental activity. As we progress in our development, the amount of solid waste is likely to increase.
- Per Capita Waste generation in India is expected to increase rapidly in the future at 1-1.33% per cent annually.
- Efficient waste management is an important part of the SDG goal 11 as well that aims at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
- Amidst this it is important that the impediments to the effective disposal of solid waste is tackled and newer technologies are adopted to deal with it so that the development remains sustainable.