Waste management is the handling of discarded materials, Recycling and composting which transforms wastes management. The management of waste also includes disposal, such as landfill.
Waste can be almost anything, including food, leaves, newspaper, bottles, construction debris, chemicals from factory, candy wrappers, disposable diapers, old cars, or radioactive materials. People have always produced waste, but as industry and technology have evolved and the human population has grown, waste management has become increasingly complex.
According to EZAJR, the primary objective of waste management today is to protect the public and the environment from potentially harmful effects of waste. Some waste materials are normally safe, but can become hazardous if not managed properly. For example 1 gal (3.75l) of used motor oil can potentially contaminate one million gal(3,790,000l) of drinking water. Every individual, business, or organization, must make decisions and take some responsibility regarding the management of his or her waste. On a larger scale, government agencies at the local state and federal levels enact and enforce regulations governing waste management. These agencies also educate the public about proper waste management. In addition, local government agencies may provide disposal or recycling services, or may have authorized private companies to perform those functions.
Throughout history there have been four basic methods of managing waste. Dumping it, burning it, finding another use for it (refuse and recycling) and not creating the waste in the first place (waste prevention), how those four methods are utilized depends on the wastes being managed. Municipal solid waste is different from industrial, agricultural, PR mining waste. Hazardous waste is a category that should be handled separately, although it sometimes is generated with the other types.
The first human did not worry much about waste management, they simply left their garbage where it dropped. However, as permanent communities developed, people began to dispose of their waste in designated dumping areas. The use of such ” open dumps” for garbage is still common in many parts of the world. Open dumps have major disadvantages, however especially in heavily populated areas. Toxic chemicals can filter down through a dumps and contaminate ground water. The liquid that filters through a dump or landfill is called Leachate.
Dumps may also generate mathane, flammable and explosive gas produced when organic wastes decompose under anaerobic (oxygen poor) conditions.
By Glory Bartholomew and Hirhyel Adamu students of Mass communication university of Maiduguri.
SOURCE: The Nigerian Voice (opinions)