- Solid wastes or municipal solid wastes generally comprise paper, food wastes, plastics, glass, metals, rubber, leather, textile, etc.
- Open-burning reduces the volume of the wastes, although it is generally not burnt to completion and open dumps often serve as the breeding ground for rats and flies.
- Sanitary landfills were adopted as the substitute for open-burning dumps. In a sanitary landfill, wastes are dumped in a depression or trench after compaction and covered with dirt every day.
- Landfills are also not really much of a solution since the amount of garbage generation especially in the metros has increased so much that these sites are getting filled too.
- Also, there is the danger of seepage of chemicals, etc. from these landfills polluting the underground water resources.
Effects of Plastic Waste
- Conventional plastics, right from their manufacture to their disposal are a major problem to the environment.
- The land gets littered by plastic bag garbage and becomes ugly and unhygienic.
- Conventional plastics have been associated with reproductive problems in both humans and wildlife.
- Dioxin (highly carcinogenic and toxic) byproduct of the manufacturing process is one of the chemicals believed to be passed on through breast milk to the nursing infant.
- Burning of plastics, especially PVC releases dioxin and also furan into the atmosphere.
- Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They belong to the so-called “dirty dozen” – a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
- The name “dioxins” is often used for the family of structurally and chemically related polychlorinated dibenzo para dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs).
- Plastic bags can also contaminate foodstuffs due to leaching of toxic dyes and transfer of pathogens.
- Careless disposal of plastic bags chokes drains, blocks the porosity of the soil and causes problems for groundwater recharge.
- Plastic disturbs the soil microbe activity. The terrestrial and aquatic animals misunderstand plastic garbage as food items, swallow them and die.
- Plastic bags deteriorates soil fertility as it forms part of manure and remains in the soil for years.
- Designing eco-friendly, biodegradable plastics is the need of the hour.
The remedy for Plastic Waste
- Polyblend is a fine powder of recycled and modified plastic waste. This mixture is mixed with the bitumen that is used to lay roads.
- Blends of Polyblend and bitumen, when used to lay roads, enhanced the bitumen’s water repellant properties, and helped to increase road life by a factor of three.
Industrial solid waste
- Thermal power plants producing coal ash/fly ash;
- The integrated iron and steel mills producing blast furnace slag;
- Non-ferrous industries like aluminium, copper and zinc producing red mud and tailings;
- Sugar industries generating press mud;
- Pulp and paper industries producing lime mud;
- Fertilizer and allied industries producing gypsum;
- Pulp and paper: Ligno-sulphate,
- sodium salts.
- Textile: Caustic soda.
- Distillery: Potassium salts, yeast Fertilizer (phosphatic) Calcium sulphate, fluoride.
- Coke oven: Ammonia, ammonium sulphate, tar, naphthalene, phenol.
Concept Of Cleaner Technologies
- One way to emulate nature is to recycle and reuse the chemicals used in industries instead of dumping them into the environment.
- Industries may interact in such a way that they establish a “resource exchange” programme in which waste of one industry or manufacturer is utilized as raw material by another-industry- similar to food web in nature.
- Use of CNG by automobiles instead of petrol, as an automobile fuel, is an example of cleaner technology which has reduced pollution of the environment.
- Instead of throw away economy which creates huge amount of waste, the manufacturers can make more money if their product is redesigned so that it uses minimum amount of raw materials lasts longer, easy to maintain, repair, remanufacture, reuse or recycle.