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| Last Updated:: 27/12/2012

Solid Waste

What is solid waste?

The sight of a dustbin overflowing and the stench rising from it, the all too familiar sights and smells of a crowded city. You look away from it and hold your nose as you cross it. Have you ever thought that you also have a role to play in the creation of this stench? That you can also play a role in the lessening of this smell and making this waste bin look a little more attractive if you follow proper methods of disposal of the waste generated in the house?

Since the beginning, humankind has been generating waste, be it the bones and other parts of animals they slaughter for their food or the wood they cut to make their carts. With the progress of civilization, the waste generated became of a more complex nature. At the end of the 19th century the industrial revolution saw the rise of the world of consumers. Not only did the air get more and more polluted but the earth itself became more polluted with the generation of non biodegradable solid waste. The increase in population and urbanization was also largely responsible for the increase in solid waste.

 Each household generates garbage or waste day in and day out. Items that we no longer need or do not have any further use for fall in the category of waste, and we tend to throw them away. There are different types of solid waste depending on their source. In today’s polluted world, learning the correct methods of handling the waste generated has become essential. Segregation is an important method of handling municipal solid waste. Segregation at source can be understood clearly by schematic re-presentation. One of the important methods of managing and treating wastes is composting

As the cities are growing in size and in problems such as the generation of plastic waste, various municipal waste treatment and disposal methods are now being used to try and resolve these problems. One common sight in all cities is the rag picker who plays an important role in the segregation of this waste.

Garbage generated in households can be recycled and reused to prevent creation of waste at source and reducing amount of waste thrown into the community dustbins.

  1. Refuse. Instead of buying new containers from the market, use the ones that are in the house. Refuse to buy new items though you may think they are prettier than the ones you already have.
  2. Reuse. Do not throw away the soft drink cans or the bottles; cover them with homemade paper or paint on them and use them as pencil stands or small vases.
  3. Recycle. Use shopping bags made of cloth or jute, which can be used over and over again [will this come under recycle or reduce?].Segregate your waste to make sure that it is collected and taken for recycling.
  4. Reduce. Reduce the generation of unnecessary waste, e.g. carry your own shopping bag when you go to the market and put all your purchases directly into it.

Types of solid waste 

Solid waste can be classified into different types depending on their source:

  1. Domestic or Household waste is generally classified as municipal waste,
  2. Industrial waste as hazardous waste, and
  3. Biomedical waste or hospital waste as infectious waste.

Waste management in U.P. responses have not kept pace with the increasing quantities of municipal solid waste, industrial hazardous wastes and bio-medical waste resulting in both 

(a) high proportion of uncollected waste
(b) poor standards of transportation, storage, treatment and disposal, that lead to land and groundwater pollution