The world stares at the human created colossal waste management issue that’s threatening to balloon into an epidemic. Check the entire spectrum of emotions logged on this issue and the responses are mostly filled with ignorance. Either people think it’s not a problem, yet. Or people think that the waste we generate goes to some kind of crusher and then presto, into thin air. Because you don’t see the garbage beyond your home, you think that it has been taken care of. But we can’t be farther away from the real truth. Only an alien can choose to look away and not be bothered by waste segregation. So here is some more focus on how human or how alien we are.
The inconvenient truth is that we are generating tons of waste everyday that cannot be completely destroyed. Some of it can be burnt, but not everything can be converted or eliminated. Plastic, toxic and other materials which cannot be destroyed are finally dumped into huge gaping holes in the earth and covered up. Years on end, this toxic material tries to decompose, gurgling up poisonous gases and making the earth there utterly useless. We had only heard of landmines. This is the human version of it called landfills. Yes, waste that cannot be destroyed goes into holes in the earth called landfills, and it slowly turns that land unusable.
Waste segregation: Waste Recycling versus Waste Creation
Waste is basically of 2 types – Nature made waste & Man made waste. Nature made waste is bio-degradable like plants or wet food waste from the kitchen. Man made waste or dry waste starts from plastic to chemicals to now, even electronic waste. Some things can be recycled but unpopular waste like plastics seem to live forever. So the first level of segregation separates the bad from the good. Sounds simple? In theory yes. But you need to know how to differentiate between the good and the bad. Most of the wet kitchen waste has the potential to go back to the soil. The wet kitchen waste goes for recycling and turns into compost, or fodder for the garden in other words. Dry waste, post segregating the recycled waste has a lot of plastics, which cannot be decomposed easily. It lives on for hundreds of years and ends up in the landfill – manmade dumpyard. Even toilet waste like napkins needs to be discarded in a closed bag, so that it’s never opened again and goes directly into the landfill. Didn’t they tell you to get your child out of the diaper habit faster? The toilet waste is totally disposed, but the remaining waste that includes dry waste like cartons, paper, plastic boxes and cardboard, has to be sorted out by humans. Now imagine, what happens, when you send a mixed bag of all these out of your house? Who will do your waste segregation and why should they!
Being human, for fellow human beings
Even though manual scavenging is banned, many people are forced to work in waste recycling related areas. They gather material which can be sold and make their small fortunes. They may even be employed by government agents to clear garbage, as the government outsources these activities. The irony of life is that these people have to look beyond everything to earn that simple money. They choose not to worry about infections as they sink their hand in your garbage. They learn to look the other way, as they sort and transfer waste collected from various homes. They learn not to complain and silently do the segregation of your waste. Even if you haven’t.
Segregate Dry, Wet, Sanitary and Hazardous:
Take that first step and make a change. Don’t keep mixed garbage outside, especially with toxic waste and glass together. Start segregating into Dry, Wet as well as Sanitary and Electronic waste that can be potentially harmful. For debris, use professional help to dispose off. Just a simple step of separating our waste in 3 bins, results in our being a bit humane and not have someone sift through our garbage just because they have no choice to live a decent life.
Let’s go green.
Let’s recycle where we can.
Let’s use lesser plastic.
Let’s use lesser water.
Let’s be kind to our earth so that it can be kind to our children, tomorrow. It’s the only way for us to still stay humans, instead of being unaffected aliens.
Please note: Video on Living Green & waste management, may not contain updates on waste management guidelines post 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyE8TrQzqYQ