Everything we discard goes into landfills (a dumping ground for waste treatment) on the outskirts of our cities. It’s the oldest form of waste disposal and when humans lived simple, minimal and organic lives, these landfills were also the best form of waste disposal. This is not true any longer.
As our lives became more complex, so did our waste. Here’s a breakdown of all the things we send away to landfills along with suggestions of where they should really be going.
Most of us think polythene plastic bags and disposable plastic water bottles are going to drag the earth down. While they do contribute, they aren’t the worst. Organic waste has a big adverse impact on the planet too. Let the Emojis explain…
For the convenience of going about our busy lives and being able to eat, drink and run errands, packaged products are everywhere, are they’re probably the most wasteful things in our lives. It’s all made of plastic, metal, paper, glass or a combination of the 3 and is almost always a one-time-use item. It’s also almost always non-biodegradable. The best way to make sure this stuff doesn’t end up in landfills is to not use them as much. Additionally, instead of just throwing all this stuff in a nearby trashcan finding a recycling system near you could go a long way. Most of these products require a lot of water, energy and other non-renewable resources to produce, so recycling and reusing the same products would ensure more wastage is avoided.
Vox explains this here.
Industrial runoff, chemical waste, medical waste, batteries, broken light bulbs, old electronics, etc. are all hazardous, toxic waste. All this travels to landfills and makes them extremely dangerous for the people that live in adjoining areas. Most of this can be redirected to waste treatment facilities were the different components could be separated and recycled for reuse. The biggest problem is that the diversion can only happen if we first separate it in our homes and offices, something municipals should take up more strictly, but also something we can very well do ourselves.
India collects 43 million tonnes of solid waste annually, of which only 11.9 million is treated while 31 million is dumped at landfill sites. By 2030, we’ll need a landfill the size of Bengaluru at this rate. Waste management becomes extremely cumbersome when organic wastes, toxic wastes, and recyclable wastes are all dumped together. So segregating waste at the source is important to ensure effective waste management and it’s one of the things that may actually save the planet.