SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AND HEALTH
Municipal waste generation has been on the increase which is possibly as a result of increase in population, hence the need treat waste in a way that cannot endanger human health and the environment. When solid waste is managed properly it can prevent pollution and environmental degradation which leads to environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability in this context is an integrated approach of effective waste management which sees that waste is properly managed to recover its economic value through reusing, recycling and proper disposal that encourages material longevity.
The waste management practice by most countries of the world has been unsanitary landfill which has a lot of health risks associated with the practice, most especially for people that live close to those landfill sites. When biodegradable wastes are disposed into landfill, they are broken down which leads to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and causing potential risks by such landfill sites. This buttresses the need to have a good understanding of best waste management practices to minimise its health impacts and the effects of greenhouse gases to the environment.
HEALTH EFFECTS OF POOR WASTE DISPOSAL PRACTICE
When wastes are disposed improperly, they could potentially cause some life-threatening diseases and their consequence include the contamination of surface and ground water sources, hence when such water is consumed could lead to having cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, dysentery etc. More so, some of the aquatic lives could be endangered as a result of the water contamination. The negative impacts of improper solid waste disposal on the surrounding environment cannot be over emphasised. When solid waste are dumped on the ground could cause environmental hazards and also become the breeding place of insects which further acts as vector for some disease like dengue and malaria.
More so, there are some odours that could emanate from dumping grounds which causes irritation and devaluing of properties within 5 km to the landfill sites.
EFFECTS OF GREENHOUSE GASES
Greenhouse gas has been a subject of debates by researchers since a decade ago. The GHGs are believed to be on the increase due to antropogenic activities. Aside from the contribution of GHGs by industrialization, waste management sector contribute to about 5% to the global GHGs. One of the issues of GHGs is that it exacerbates climate change which causes global warming. This happens when the heat escaping from the Earth into the space is forcefully stopped. Some of the GHGs include carbon dioxides, methane, nitrous oxide etc. Among these gases, methane has 24 times more potent effect when compared to carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
BEST WASTE MANAGEMENT PRACTICE
Applying the waste management hierarchy is the globally known best waste management practice. This include avoid, reuse, recycle, incineration and landfill.
Avoid/ Prevention: In order to enhance waste management practice there is need to avoid waste in every possible way which include managing materials in way to avoid wastes.
Reuse: When there is waste materials from a given process, endeavor to reuse them. This will help to prolong the life span of such material.
Recycle: This is the process of converting a waste material to another usable form without depleting a virgin material.
Incineration: This is a process of recovering energy from waste.
Landfill: This is the final disposal of general waste which should be non-recyclable wastes. it is the least on the waste hierarchy.