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Solid Waste Management

What is Solid Waste Management? Sources and Methods of Solid Waste Management

Solid waste management is the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong in garbage or trash. If people have lived in settlements and residential areas, garbage or solid waste has been a problem. It focuses on how to recycle and transform solid waste into a valuable resource.

Industrialization has brought many good things and some bad ones as well. One of the negative aspects of industrialization is the creation of solid waste.

Sources of Solid Wastes

  • Solid domestic garbage.
  • Solid waste material from various industries.
  • Solid agricultural waste.
  • Plastics, glass, metals, e-waste, etc.
  • Medical waste.
  • Construction waste, sewage sludge

Solid Waste Management Diagram


Solid Waste Management

Disposal of Waste

The process of waste handling and disposal varies in different countries. In India, the processes differ according to the source of solid waste. They can be classified as:

⦁ Solid Municipal Waste.
⦁ Hazardous Solid Waste.

Domestic solid wastes can be classified as biodegradable, recyclable, and hazardous. Among the biodegradable wastes are rotten food, vegetable peel, and mostly wet kitchen waste. Plastics are recyclables, and batteries and bulbs are hazardous wastes.

Chemical factories generate waste, while hospitals generate medical waste that needs to be disposed of in special settings.

To reduce environmental pollution and avoid health hazards, solid waste management is very important in any region for the safe disposal of wastes.

Today’s landfills are desining to minimize pollution and health risks by considering various environmental factors and types of waste.

Methods of Solid Waste Management

Sanitary Landfill: Today, this is the most popular method of disposing of solid waste. It involves spreading out the garbage in thin layers, compressing it and covering it with soil or plastic foam. A modern landfill is designed so that its bottom is covered with an impervious liner, which is usually made of several layers of thick plastic and sand. Groundwater is protecting from contamination by this liner.

Incineration: This method of solid waste management involves burning solid wastes at high temperatures until the material is turning to ash. Waste-to-energy plants, utilizing furnaces and boilers, can make further use of excess heat energy produced; however, these systems are typically more costly due to their need for special equipment and controls as well as specialized personnel and auxiliary fuel systems. This method is adopting by individuals, municipalities, and institutions alike due to its capability of reducing the volume of waste by up to 20-30%.

Recovery and Recycling: Recycling or resource recovery is the term used for reclaiming useful products that have been discarded. This may include plastic bags, tin cans, glass, and containers, which are often recycling to save on rare commodities. The items are carefully processing and cleaned prior to recycling to reduce energy loss, new material consumption, and landfill waste. Countries with strong traditions of recycling practice lower waste output.

Composting: Because there is insufficient space for landfills, biodegradable yard waste can be broken down in a composting medium. This process relies only on degradable materials and sees microorganisms – like fungi and bacteria – turning them into humus. As a result, this soil-like product has elevated levels of carbon and nitrogen; it is an excellent fertilizer for growing plants and is highly beneficial for agricultural purposes.

Effects of Solid Waste Management

Proper solid waste management can have numerous positive effects on our environment, public health, and economy.

Implementing effective waste management practices helps in reducing pollution levels. When waste is not properly managed, it often ends up in landfills or gets dumped into water bodies, leading to soil and water contamination. By adopting sustainable methods like recycling and composting, we can minimize the amount of waste that goes to landfill and reduce the release of harmful pollutants into the air and water.

Solid waste management plays a crucial role in conserving natural resources. Through processes like recycling and reusing materials from waste streams, we can significantly decrease our reliance on virgin resources such as timber for paper production or petroleum for plastic manufacturing.

Solid waste management also has economic benefits. Recycling programs create job opportunities in industries involved in collecting, sorting, processing, and selling recycled materials. Moreover, by reducing the quantity of waste sent to landfills through efficient disposal methods like incineration or energy recovery systems (such as converting organic matter into biogas), municipalities can save on landfill costs.