The Importance of Sustainable Waste Management to The Environment
Waste management includes the activities and actions required to manage waste from its source to its final disposal. Many wastes generated by humans affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land on which we live. Proper management of waste is essential for creating sustainable and habitable cities, but it’s still challenging for many developing countries and cities like Nigeria. Waste management is collecting, transporting, processing, disposing of, managing, and monitoring different waste materials.
According to the United Nations, about 11.2 billion tonnes of solid waste is collected worldwide, almost all of which originates from humans alone. Besides managing this waste, strategies that will manage such waste sustainably need to be put in place. It is important to examine sustainability in this aspect so that we can manage every bit of waste efficiently instead of just dumping them in landfills.
Sustainable Waste Management can be referred to as the collection, transportation, recovery, and disposal of the various types of waste, in a way that does not threaten the environment, human health, or future generations. It includes any activity involved in the organization of waste management, from production to the final treatment. It is important to note that there are various types of wastes, such as municipal (e.g., household, commercial waste), electronic or e-waste (e.g., computer parts), and radioactive waste, among many others.
Sustainable waste management aims to lessen the amounts of natural resources depleted, reusing the substances taken from nature as much as possible and creating as minimal waste as possible. Maintaining sustainability for the usefulness of our environment as well as future generations is our responsibility.
Why Is Sustainable Waste Management Important?
1. It creates space
If there’s no waste management, waste will end up on land either being dispersed or converged in a landfill somewhere. Landfills are large and can use up a lot of space. For example, in confined areas, one has to control and manage waste sustainably, so it can be maximized reasonably.
Singapore measures roughly 700 square kilometers and is home to over 5.5 million people. They already have land constraints; this is why the nation’s National Environment Agency realizes the need to reuse waste and appropriately dispose of it.
2. It saves money and creates wealth
Once anything is being reused or recycled, there will be no need to purchase another of the same, thereby saving us some money. It also means the agencies that take care of trash will not always be compelled to manage our trash as there will be a reduction. Disposal costs can be cut when recycling is being reduced.
More so, sustainable waste management can help generate money for some establishments. For example, municipal councils that collect the garbage can charge collection and recycling fees, thereby making money in the process. This will also discourage establishments that produce a lot of waste, making them sustainable and more ethical for the environment.
3. It enhances sustainability
The core of sustainability is managing waste, energy, and water and doing it more efficiently. Improving our individual, business, government, or organizational sustainability can boost the image and attract qualitative tenants, clients, and customers to our organization. It engages employees, volunteers, and citizens positively.
4. It controls pollution
Every waste has a particular effect on the environment when dumped. For example, medicinal waste causes water poisoning, and waste foods attract flies and rodents. Sustainable waste management aids us in understanding our waste and the best way to deal with it.
The medicinal waste should be taken to its initial producer for adequate discarding, such as incineration; the waste food can be composted and recycled. In the long run, it will prevent water poisoning, rodents, and clogging of oceans. These measures and more will help in controlling pollution.
5. It is the core of environmental conservation
Humans are the greatest enemy to the environment. Junks are being produced at unbelievably fast rates but still use inferior waste management methods. Therefore, sustainable waste management is at the heart of environmental conservation as it goes a long way in preserving the environment and improving it not only for us but also for other species and future generations.
It leads to resources conservation, including trees, metals, and water, reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and enhancing the existing resources, for example, nourishing the soil with compostable waste.
6. It makes us responsible inhabitants on earth
Generation of waste will always occur as humans cannot live without it. Sustainable waste management will help us become better and responsible citizens of the planet by carefully, effectively, and sustainably managing our waste.
We will develop better ways of managing waste, new technologies for dealing with our waste, and the best alternatives for each type of waste. For instance, food remains and fruits can be composted, plastics recycled, and paper incinerated instead of being dumped in landfills.
Sustainable Waste Management is a key concept of the circular economy as it offers many opportunities and benefits not just to the economy but also to society and the environment. It involves collecting, grouping, treating, recycling, and providing a source of energy and resources when appropriately promoted. It helps in job creation, improves waste management methods, and dwindles the impact of human activities in the environment, enhancing land, air, and water quality. It also lowers food wastage, prevents some human health situations, thereby improving the overall human life.
Author: Gift Ifokwe