Solid Waste Management

Solid waste management refers to the supervised handling of waste material from generation at the source through the recovery processes to disposal.
Created On: Aug 27, 2015 18:35 IST
Modified On: Dec 7, 2015 15:50 IST

Solid waste management refers to the supervised handling of waste material from generation at the source through the recovery processes to disposal. So solid waste management can be termed as: Systematic control of generation, collection, storage, transport, source separation, processing, treatment, recovery, and disposal of solid waste.

The term Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is generally used to describe most of the non hazardous solid waste from a city, town or village that requires routine collection and transport to a processing or disposal site. Sources of MSW include private homes, commercial establishments and institutions as well as industrial facilities. However MSW does not include wastes from industrial processes, construction and demolition debris, sewage sludge, mining wastes or agricultural wastes. Municipal solid waste contains a wide variety of materials. It can contain food waste such as vegetable and meat material, left over food, egg shells, etc which is classified as wet garbage as well as paper, plastic, tetrapacks, plastic cans, newspaper, glass bottles, cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, metal items, wood pieces, etc. which is classified as dry garbage.

Waste Management is a set of Activities that include the Following:

  1. Collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste;
  2. Control, monitoring and regulation of the production, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste; and
  3. Prevention of waste production through in-process modification, reuse and recycling

The term usually relates to all kinds of waste, whether generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, or other human activities, including municipal (residential, institutional, commercial), agricultural, and special (health care, household hazardous wastes, sewage sludge). Waste management is intended to reduce adverse effects of waste on health, the environment or aesthetics.

Issues relating to Waste Management Include:

  1. Generation of waste
  2. Waste minimization
  3. Waste removal
  4. Waste transportation
  5. Waste treatment
  6. Recycling and reuse
  7. Storage, collection, transport, and transfer
  8. Treatment
  9. Landfill disposal
  10. Environmental considerations
  11. Financial and marketing aspects
  12. Policy and regulation
  13. Education and training
  14. Planning and Implementation.

Waste management practices are not uniform among countries (developed and developing nations); regions (urban and rural area), and sectors (residential and industrial)

Control Measures of Urban and Industrial Wastes:

An integrated waste management strategy includes three main components:

1. Source reduction

2. Recycling

3. Disposal

Incineration is the process of burning municipal solid waste in a properly designed furnace under suitable temperature and operating conditions. Incineration is a chemical process in which the combustible portion of the waste is combined with oxygen forming carbon dioxide and water, which are released into the atmosphere.

Lead, mercury and arsenic are hazardous substances which are often referred to as heavy metals. Lead is an abundant heavy metal and is relatively easy to obtain. It is used in batteries, fuel, pesticides, paints, pipes and other places where resistance to corrosion is required. Most of the lead taken up by people and wildlife is stored in bones. Lead can affect red blood cells by reducing their ability to carry oxygen and shortening their life span. Lead may also damage nerve tissue which can result in brain disease. Mercury occurs in several different forms. Mercury is used in the production of chlorine. It is also used as a catalyst in the production of some plastics. Industrial processes such as the production of chlorine and plastics are responsible for most of the environmental damage resulting from mercury. Our body has a limited ability to eliminate mercury. In the food web mercury becomes more concentrated as it is taken up by various organisms. In an aquatic environment, mercury can be absorbed by the plankton which are then consumed by fish. In addition, fish take up mercury through their gills and by eating other fish contaminated with mercury.

Vinyl chloride is a chemical that is widely used in the manufacture of plastic. Usually people are only exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride if they work with it or near it but exposure can also occur from vinyl chloride gas leaks. After a long continuous exposure (one to three years) in humans, vinyl chloride can cause deafness, vision problems, circulation disorders and bone deformities. Vinyl chloride can also cause birth defects.

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