Friday, December 08, 2006

Waste Management

We all know that the primary goal of any person on the earth is to live safely. Also, we all know that our existence is threatened by environmental pollution. One cause of pollution is waste. Waste hurts environment in many different ways such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, radioactive contamination, noise pollution, and visual pollution. Of course, the dangerous degree is different from one form to another. Also, these kinds of pollution may cause different diseases to the human including cancer, immune diseases, allergies, and asthma. Simply, the problem is waste. Many forms of pollution are released by countries like United States, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and many other developed countries. Actually, waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal of waste materials. In Australia, most of the solid wastes were received and disposed at landfills nationwide. Landfill is a method of solid waste disposal in which refuse is buried between layers of dirt so as to fill in or reclaim low-lying ground. Impacts of landfill disposal include consumption of increasingly scarce urban land, potential pollution from toxic wastes, and release of methane from the decomposition of organic wastes, and greenhouse emission through the transportation of wastes to landfills. ( Waste Management, 2006). The strategies of waste management are classified in the waste hierarchy based on their favorableness. In order to clarify the waste management, there are three solutions reduce, reuse and recycle. Reuse and recycle seems to be similar but they are not. Reusing is the using of an item more than on time for example; glass bottles can be collected, washed, and refilled many times. Recycling is the reprocessing of materials into new products for example; aluminum cans can be collected, melted, and made into new aluminum products. Reducing is the decrease in the production numbers. The best solution to management of waste is recycling.

Waste is defined by the UK’s Environmental Protection Act of 1990 as “any substance which constitutes a scrap material, an effluent or other unwanted surplus arising from the application of any process or any substance or article which requires to be disposed of which has been broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled; this is supplemented with anything which is discarded otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved”. (Peatling, 2004) An amendment was made on this definition by the Waste Licensing Regulations 1994 to include “any substance or object which the producer or the person in possession of it, discards or intends or is required to discard but with exception of anything excluded from the scope of the Waste Directive”. (Peatling, 2004) There are many different types of waste including solid, liquid, or gas waste. We can also classify waste by the source to comprise household, industrial, and commercial. Household waste is that arises from different types of living places including houses, caravans, prisons, school, and colleges. Industrial waste is which come from a factory or industrial process. The commercial waste comes from premises used wholly or mainly for trade, business, sport, recreation or entertainment. Hazardous wastes are generated mostly by the commercial and industrial sectors and it is required careful waste management because of their potential environmental risk. However, household may cause such wastes through the disposal of paints, solvents, used car batteries and motor oils. The strategies of waste management are classified in the waste hierarchy based on their favorableness. Obviously, Waste come from these sources are various and numerous, for example, sewage, chemical, nuclear, medical, and electronic waste. Also, each type of waste has a different method to manage. (www.wikipedia.com, 2006)

The quantities of waste generated in Australia are increasing as a result of the increase in population. In 1887, there were approximately 3 million people living in Australia. Recently, the estimated Australian population was around 20 million people and the human population keeps growing. (www.science.org, 2006) Another reason for the increase in quantities of waste is the lack of strict legal legislations that prevent or reduce waste. Government has protected the economic factor by not putting at risk industries that employ huge number of Australians and generate billions of dollars income. On the other side, by doing that the government has put the environment at risk that arise the need of more innovative waste management.

Figure 1: Waste-hierarchy
Source: www.wikipedia.org

Waste prevention or minimization is the most important technique because it prevents the waste before its creation, but they seem impossible for tow reasons. The first there must be waste with any form and the second number of population increase day by day. Furthermore, there are many problems if we don’t manage waste.

First, throwing waste out without treat will hurt environment in three different places land, sea and air, so it will cause pollution. Also, pollution cleanup is big problem for two reasons. The first is consumption level grow up and the second is cleanup just change the place of waste from one to another. If the Australian government remains silent with land filling, the country will end up with many problems. For example, health problems would increase among most Australian, wildlife would be hurt in which animals may not survive, and lands full of rubbish could not be used any more for agricultural uses.

Second, recycling will preserve and keep a lot of natural resources available for next generations. If we don’t reduce using natural resources and get our object with available materials a lot of natural resources will be diminished. For example, 1000 kg of paper from recycled material conserves about 7,000 US gal (26,000 L) of water, 17-31 trees and 4,000 kW·h of electricity. Milling paper from recycled paper uses 20% less energy than it does to make paper from fresh paper trees grown on tree farms at the cost of more pollution caused by additional transportation and chemical cleaning treatment.

Third, businesses would benefit from recycling. As mentioned, paper recycling could save a lot amount of money by using used paper instead of trees. Furthermore, recycling will enhance the production cycle, because only low percentage of used and consumed output would be waste. The remaining percentage would be reused as input for other products. In addition, new businesses would established as recycling companies. As a result, it would decrease the unemployment rate by opening new jobs and positions for Australian work force.

In conclusion, all people around the world realize that the pollution problem caused by waste or rubbish, and they also try to find the best solutions to protect earth's future as they can. Until now the best solution is to recycle waste as much as possible. Otherwise, It is almost impossible to reduce the amount of waste because of population increase, which results in more waste. Furthermore, there are many advantages of recycling and it will be effective in many fields. It will effect the environment by preventing or reducing pollution and protect the natural recourses. Also, it will affect the economy by making the production cost lower because of the input material. Australian government should invest more in research centers in order to achieve that goal.

Newton, P., Baum, S., Bhatia, K., Brown, S., Cameron, S., Foran, B., et al.
(2001). Human settlements theme report. Department of the Environment and Heritage. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from http://www.deh.gov.au /soe/2006/publications/report/index.html
Population and environment-what’s the connection?. (2005). Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from http://www.science.org.au /nova/087/087box01.htm
Peatling, S. (2004). Australia tops greenhouse pollution index. Sunday Morning
Herald. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from http://www.smh.com.au /articles/2004/06/18/1087245110190.html
Waste management. (2006). Retrieved October 29, 2006, from www.aad.gov.au
Miller, T. (1994). Environment Problems and Solutions. Belmont, CA. Wadsworth Publishing Company.


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