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Every living thing on earth generates waste and it is a thing of great concern to our ecosystem. These wastes vary one from the other depending on their composition. Some wastes are harmless (take for example the release of Oxygen by green plants during photosynthesis) while others are harmful.

Waste can be generally defined as any unwanted material or substance that is (or may be) detrimental to its host. Wastes can be unusable or unwanted items in our homes / offices / industries, remains, by-products, garbage, excreta and dung, used or contaminated water from domestic, industrial or mining applications.

Fig 1: Open defecation in an abandoned plot of land. The person is circled red in this picture.

The excreta will get leached down into the ground and this in turn pollutes the surface aquifer.

The greatest killer of our ecosystem is urbanization / industrialization. Trees that are supposed to check green house gases and erosion are fallen down and probably sawn into woods to give way for urbanization with little or no effort by the relevant government agency to ensure their immediate replacement through replanting.

For every product manufactured, there is a corresponding waste produced in that process which in turn endangers the ecosystem and pollutes the groundwater because every waste one way or the other enters the ground as its final destination and mixes the groundwater.

These wastes can come in various forms. It can be in solid form, example dung and some household and industrial wastes; it can be in liquid form, example: most industrial wastes; or gaseous / smoky / vapor (heat) form like mining environments, bottling companies, gas flaring from oil companies.

Each country has its own Waste Management Authority that has laid down some procedures and guidelines as to how to effectively and efficiently manage her wastes and also check periodically if its leaking into the ecosystem and mitigate it. It is advisable to contact them for effective waste disposal method. They conduct and assess companies that produce toxic wastes on a periodic manner to ensure compliance on best practices.

However, there are best ways of handling wastes especially toxic ones:
  1. They must be carefully labeled and sealed by trained personnel (while wearing safety aprons – if applicable).
  2. They must be monitored where they are stored to ensure there is no leakage (and if any – must be attended to immediately to forestall environmental degradation).
  3. Must have a hotline number (if possible Toll free) in case of emergencies.There are different ways wastes are disposed depending on its hazard level:
  1. Non hazardous                                 ------ can be discharged directly into surface waters
Hazardous                                           ------- must be properly treated and certified by the relevant Government Agencies before being disposed off (either into wells or landfills or ocean –as the case may be).

It is better and advisable to reduce these wastes to biodegradable materials before disposing it off. Moreover, open defecation should be banned and mobile toilets adequately provided by the government.


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