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ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION – 13

Agriculture wastes

include both natural (organic) and non-natural wastes generated through farming activities. It includes spoiled food grains, vegetables, animal and plant wastes, litter, pesticides. Other agricultural wastes are produced from agricultural products processing industries like Sugarcane Factories, Tobacco Processing Units, Slaughter Houses, Livestock, Poultry etc. Agricultural wastes are mostly biodegradable but few wastes like pesticide and fertilizers are toxic. These waste add to the POP (persistent organic pollutants) and stay for million years.

Management Strategy – management and recycle at source, conversion into biogas and manure for further production. 

Biomedical wastes produced from hospitals, medical centres and nursing homes are called biomedical wastes. These wastes are highly infectious and may pose severe threat if not managed properly. Biomedical wastes may be solid or liquid that includes discarded blood, sharps, soiled wastes, disposables, anatomical wastes, cultures, discarded medicines, chemical wastes etc. 

Management strategy – careful disposal, sanitation, fumigation, disinfection 

Radioactive wastes

Radioactive wastes are hazardous, by-products of nuclear reactions. They pose severe threat to human life and environment. Radioactive wastes decays over time ranging from a few days for highly radioactive isotopes to millions of years for slightly radioactive ones. Hence, these wastes have to be isolated and confined at appropriate disposal facilities for it to completely decay. The sources of radioactive wastes are from mining of radioactive substances, atomic explosion, nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear weapons reprocessing, medical and industrial wastes etc.

Management strategy – control in emissions and careful disposal

E-waste 

Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for refurbishment, reuse, resale, salvage recycling through material recovery, or disposal are also considered e-waste. Electronic scrap components, such as CPUs, contain potentially harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.

Management strategy – reuse, and recycle. 


WASTE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES AND PRACTICES


62 million tonnes of waste is generated annually in the country at present, out of which 5.6 million tonnes is plastic waste, 0.17 million tonnes is biomedical waste, hazardous waste generation is 7.90 million tonnes per annum and 15 lakh tonne is e-waste.  He added that the per capita waste generation in Indian cities ranges from 200 grams to 600 grams per day.  Shri Javadekar underlined the fact that 43 million TPA is collected, 11.9 million is treated and 31 million is dumped in landfill sites, which means that only about 75-80% of the municipal waste gets collected and only 22-28 % of this waste is processed and treated.   “Waste generation will increase from 62 million tonnes to about165 million tonnes in 2030

Waste management or Waste disposal is all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes amongst other things, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste together with monitoring and regulation. It also encompasses the legal and regulatory framework that relates to waste management encompassing guidance on recycling etc.

Landfills 

Throwing daily waste/garbage in the landfills is the most popularly used method of waste disposal used today. This process of waste disposal focuses attention on burying the waste in the land. Landfills are commonly found in developing countries. It is one of the simplest and most widely followed techniques but has huge environmental burden. Reducing urban spaces and landfills ending up as hills beyond their capacity is posing serious threat to the local ecosystem. Mostly in urban areas, water bodies are converted into landfills and it is adding to the water shortage problem.

Incineration or combustion is a type disposal method in which municipal solid wastes are burned at high temperatures so as to convert them into residue and gaseous products. The biggest advantage of this type of method is that it can reduce the volume of solid waste to 20 to 30 percent of the original volume, decreases the space they take up and reduce the stress on landfills. This process is also known as thermal treatment where solid waste materials are converted by Incinerators into heat, gas, steam and ash.

Composting is a natural process where organic wastes break down into nutrient-rich compost perfect for your garden plants. Microbes decompose the organic materials as they sit in a compost pile or bin for months. Composting preserves more nutrients than incineration and is the preferred method for organic waste disposal.

  1. Faecal sludge management (FSM) – is the slurry that contains both solid and liquid waste that accumulates in onsite sanitation systems (OSS) e.g. septic tanks. It is raw or partially digested slurry that results from the collection, storage or treatment of combinations of excreta and black water, with or without grey water. This has three main components – scum, effluent and sludge. It has an offensive odour, appearance and contains significant levels of grease, grit, hair, debris and pathogenic microorganisms. FSM involves collection, treatment and proper disposal/ reuse. Efficient faecal sludge (septage) management include safe disposal of the treated septage.
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