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Solid Waste Management and Disposal

managing solid wastes properly can help improve the services that mankind needs / Photo By dolgachov via 123RF

 

Countries have been struggling with the problem of waste management and the massive bulk of improperly disposed solid waste is currently becoming a trend. This could affect the environment in terms of a world where pollution is apparently spreading and is winning a formidable battle.

 

Waste Management

In most underdeveloped places, improper management of solid waste continues to impact public health of entire communities and cities; pollution in air, land, and water; contribute to climate change and global plastic pollution; hinder climate change adaptation; and accelerate depletion of forests and other natural resources.

Managing solid wastes properly can help improve the services that mankind needs such as food, shelter, and more. Composting organic waste can help nurture crops which can result in a better agricultural yield. Reducing landfilling and building sanitary landfills will reduce ground and surface water pollution that can further provide potable drinking water. Energy recovery from non-recyclable wastes can also satiate a significant portion of energy requirement.

Inclusive waste management where informal waste recyclers are involved can substantially provide an enormous economic opportunity to the marginalized urban poor. Additionally, a good solid waste management plan under low cost recovery mechanisms can free tax payers’ money for other issues.

In the case of India, sustainable solid waste management would have provided the following:

9.6 million tons of compost that could result in a better agricultural yield,

energy equivalent of up to 58 million barrels of oil from non-recyclable wastes, and

6.7 million tons of secondary raw materials to industries in the form of recyclable materials and livelihood to the urban poor.

 

Solid waste management has only been a social responsibility of the corporate world or municipalities and it is sometimes considered a non-priority for most national governments. However, in Mumbai, the improperly managed wastes generate 22,000 tons of toxic pollutants like particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrous and sulfur oxides in addition to 10,000 grams of carcinogenic dioxins and furans every year.

Groundwater is greatly polluted by heavy metals and organic contaminants due to solid waste landfills.

Solid waste management expenditure of more than $ 1 billion per year competes with education, poverty, security and other sustainable initiatives in New York City. Fossil fuels which power up a staggering 500,000 truck trips covering hundreds of miles are required to transport waste to landfills outside the city. Similarly, New Delhi spends more than half of its entire municipal budget on solid waste management, while it is desperate for asking for additional investments on maintenance of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure.

Solid waste management is not just a corporate social responsibility or a non-priority service anymore. Improper waste management is a public health and environmental crisis, economic loss, operational inefficiency and political and public awareness failure. Integrated solid waste management can lead to healthier and wealthier societies through nation building. Therefore, it needs global attention to arrive at solutions which span across such a wide range of issues.

 

improper waste management is a public health and environmental crisis/ Photo By Maciej Błędowski via 123RF

 

Organic Wastes

In a recent article from Times of India, efforts to overcome the ludicrous stench and stockpile of garbage particularly solid waste has come to a resolve when Mysuru City Corporation decided to bury unloaded waste into landfills and in a sewage farm.

Former minister Ramadas urged officials to expedite the process of clearing trash and start burying waste at the landfills the soonest.

“Pointing out from 170 to 175 tonnes of solid waste could be buried at the landfills,” Ramadas said. “In the next few days, waste will be buried up to a height of 36 feet. This will go a long way in addressing the problem of waste disposal which has been a problem for decades.”

Health officer Dr. Ramachandra stated that ‘biomethanisation’ of solid wastes could put an end to the problem of garbage disposal in the city. “By generating electricity using waste, swift disposal of unloaded waste is met.”

He further said that waste management will not be a problem till 2050 once energy plants start functioning. “We had already been granted permission from the pollution control board to set up these plants.”

 

improper management of solid waste continues to impact public health/ Photo By SuSanA Secretariat

 

Eco-Park Disposal services

Gold Medal Group (GMG) recently acquired Envirowaste and Commonwealth Commons, two companies that own and operate a fully permitted solid waste management and resource recovery facility located  in South Philadelphia.

Envirowaste is permitted for the processing of over 1,000 tons of construction material and municipal solid waste per day. Upon being certified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), this facility now provides construction and demolition recycling services utilizing an automated material sorting and recovery system.

According to GMG, it now has the control over a strategically located disposal asset in the Philadelphia market, where GMG currently collects approximately 150,000 tons of waste per year. The Envirowaste facility together with Conrail as its direct rail service, enables efficient and more environment friendly transportation of outbound materials that cannot be recovered or recycled to landfill destinations in the Northeast.

As part of the acquisition, GMG has come  to an option to purchase 4.5 acres of adjacent property to support the potential expansion of its facility. GMG seeks to transform the entire site into an eco-park for the city of Philadelphia given the opportunity to expand recycling operations and other sustainable services.

GMG also said it is having preliminary discussions with BioHiTech Global to explore the possibility of co-developing a renewable waste facility at the site, similar to a facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia. This facility is expected to commence operations later this year by which the two companies co-own.

"We are excited about the expansion of our operations in the Philadelphia market through the acquisition of Envirowaste," said Mike Schmidt, executive vice president of GMG, in a statement. "This acquisition not only provides us with serving our growing customer base in Philadelphia, but it also allows us to demonstrate our commitment to building more sustainable operations. Our option to acquire additional property gives us the ability create a future Eco-Park hub in the city, and we look forward to exploring that possibility with our partners at Kinderhook and BioHiTech, as well as the city of Philadelphia."

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