Garbage In, Garbage Out

Waste Disposal

What is the one thing we hate seeing on the roads? It’s waste, right? People throw away waste everywhere without thinking. But do you know that it can lead to epidemics? Waste disposal is essential for the sanitation of a city and health of the citizens. Let’s study how we can dispose off waste in a safer manner.

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What is Garbage?

All the waste we generate in the form of fruit and vegetable peels, leftover food, packing material, old and unwanted plastic objects, old clothes,  etc. is the ‘garbage’.

Dealing with the Garbage

Garbage may have these components:

  • Useful components or products which we can reuse or recycle.
  • Components which we can neither recycle nor reuse and are useless components of the garbage.

While dealing with the garbage, it is important to separate the useful part of the garbage. Also, it is very important to dump the non-useful part in such a way that it does not harm the people or the surroundings. Let’s learn about some of the methods of waste disposal.

Methods of Waste Disposal

1. Composting and Vermicomposting

This method is useful for the disposal of biodegradable waste. The part of the garbage which can rot in nature to form harmless substances is called biodegradable (plants and animal waste). Different biodegradable waste can be dumped in a pit. Here, it can be allowed to decompose after which the garbage will convert into useful manure. This is known as composting.

The process of decomposition may take around 2 to 3 months. To make the process fast, red worms may be used for composting. This method is called vermicomposting. Vermicompost is the high-quality manure.

waste disposal

Advantages of Composting

  • The useful component of the garbage can be converted into manures which can enrich the soil.
  • Degradable waste is easily disposed of.

2. Landfilling

A low-lying open area out of the city where garbage is collected and dumped is known as a landfill. The garbage is loaded into the truck and dumped in the landfill. When that area is fully covered with the garbage, it is covered with layers of soil. Now it can be converted into a park or a playground.

Advantages of Land-filling

  • It is an easy method of waste disposal.

Disadvantages of Land-filling

  • Garbage remains open for a long period of time. This can attract flies and cause various diseases.

3. Incineration

This method is mainly used to dispose of the medical waste. In this method, garbage is burnt at a high temperature in a special furnace called Incinerator. This reduces large amounts of garbage into a small amount of ash which can be disposed of in the landfill site.

waste disposal

Advantages of Incineration

  • It is the most suitable waste disposal method to dispose of the medical and contaminated waste.

Disadvantages of Incineration

  • Energy is used for burning which makes the method costly.
  • It may lead to air pollution.

3R Rule for Waste Disposal  

waste disposal

Reduce 

With individual efforts, we can reduce the waste we produce in the first place. For example – materials must be bought from the market only if it is necessary for us.

Reuse

We can use the same thing again and again for different purposes. For example-

  • We can use plastic jars of jams, pickles, oil, etc. for storing things like salt, spices, sugar etc.
  • Old invitation cards can be reused to make envelopes.

Recycle

We can reform glass, plastic, metal and paper objects and convert them into useful substances. This process is recycling. For example,

  • We can recycle old newspapers, magazines, books, notebooks to make new paper or cardboard.
  • Broken or discarded plastic items can be melted and remoulded to form other useful substances.

Role of Ragpickers and Kabadiwalas in Waste Disposal

Ragpickers collect waste from the open dumping areas and supply to the recyclable units. In this way, they earn a living for themselves as well as help to clean the environment.

Kabadiwallas collect waste like plastic, glass waste and old newspapers and pass it on to the recycling units. This helps in reducing the quantity of waste generated.

E-waste and its Management

Electronic waste is made up of all thrown away electronic items like mobiles, SIM cards, remote control etc. Special care has to be taken for disposal of these items because it may be harmful to the surroundings. Some initiative was taken by companies like Nokia.

They encourage mobile phone users to dispose of their used accessories irrespective of the brands at any of the recycling units of Nokia priority dealers. ‘Parisaraa’, an eco-friendly recycling unit in Bengaluru, collects e-waste and helps in recycling.

A Solved Question for You

Q: Two separate pits A and B were dug. Material C was put in pit A whereas material D was put in pit B. Both the pits were covered by soil. After a month when they were dug, it was found that material C remained as such whereas material D had rot completely.

  1. What type of materials are C and D
  2. Give one example each of C and D
  3. What is responsible for rotting of material D?

Solution:

  1. C- Non biodegradable; D- Biodegradable
  2. C- plastic bottle ; D- leaves
  3. The action of microorganisms present in the soil.
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