Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management involves the process of collecting, transporting and processing of waste which come about as a result of different human activities. Global urbanization has increased the generation of waste products hence it is fundamental that countries find proper ways of disposing of their waste. Benefits of a proper solid waste management system include cleaner environment and living conditions, better health for everyone and better aesthetics for the country.
There are four solid waste management strategies that have been implemented by the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA).These include; waste reduction and reuse of waste; recycling; recovery of energy; treatment and disposal of waste. The strategies chosen depend on the person handling the waste (manufacturers, consumers, municipal councils etc), best means of disposal and how best the waste products can be reused.
Reduction and reuse of waste curbs the menace from the source to prevent waste production. Such measures include reducing toxicity in items, redesigning or reducing packaging, making bulk purchases and reusing of products(Hester & Harrison, 2002). Source reduction decreases pollution, preserves energy, saves our natural resources as well as money used to buy and produce toxic materials.
Through recycling, otherwise waste materials can be sorted and processed into raw materials which are used to manufacture other new products. Recycling helps to reduce the emission of toxic gases from greenhouses, provides raw materials for new products and creates employment opportunities.
Anand (2010) explains that Waste-to-energy involves the usage of waste products to generate electricity, heat and usable fuel through a variety of processes such as gasification, combustion, pyrolization and so forth to generate common by-products such as biomass.
Through an integrated waste management system, waste can be treated and disposed in an environmentally conscious manner. Landfills are the most common disposals for waste products. The US Environment protection agency regulates waste disposal on landfills by ensuring that it is done according to the stipulations provided. An alternative method is combustion which reduces the amount of land needed for landfills.
With the steady increase in urbanization, Solid waste production can be administered by government bodies, corporate organizations, farmers, manufacturers and consumers alike using the applicable strategies discussed above.This will create healthier waste management which in turn makes for healthy living conditions.