India is suffering from another great problem with increasing population and that is piling up garbage in open areas. It has been estimated that about 13500 metric tons of waste are dumped outdoors every day.
This unhygienic practise of dumping anywhere and everywhere has been degrading the environment in its worse ways adding to that it also causes serious health hazards. Only about 20% of the total waste is processed which also be termed as recycled or reused whereas the remaining is either carried away to the rivers or are burnt in the open. The marine life is critically suffering as a result of this problem faced globally. The plastic waste dumped near rivers or oceans has made about 80% of the seafood toxic that directly affects man when consumed.
The capital of the country itself suffers from unprocessed day to day waste. Every day Delhi produces about 6,800 tons of waste out of which 700 tons is plastic. Not only that the average discard of electronics stacked up about 20 lakh tons of e-waste due to the launch of new ones. Out of a total of less than 1% of e-waste is processed for recycling or reusing.
So what are we making out of this abode of ours? A mere dumping ground of our selfish needs.
Landfills In The Country
The government still is finding ways to do away with the waste without harming the mother earth but its nowhere close to even give a proper estimate of the amount dumped. Owing to its properties the waste can be separated into different kinds. Wet trash, dry waste, hazardous waste, e-waste. Dumping them together has produced landfills at a specific site.
If we measure state-wise Maharashtra has the largest number of landfills being treated with just 44%. The largest being Deonar, ranked number 1 whole of Asia due to its huge size. Delhi with its mountain of landfills in areas like Ghazipur, Bhalswa, and Okhla, has been strictly asked by NGT to check its waste disposal problem and work on it. And the city that makes sure its area is clean Chandigarh processes about 85% of its total waste.
Problems Faced Due To Landfills
Every year tonnes of garbage are dumped in these areas and are burnt illegally causing hazards for people living nearby. Every winter there is heavy smog engulfing the NCR region causing problems like breathlessness, irritation to the eyes, respiratory problems, lung cancer including unimaginable odor all around. According to Wikipedia every year about 2.5 million people die in Delhi and this estimation is not only due to air pollution but also those who are caught in accidents because of the smog.
This filthy activity is also the explanation for the rising global warming. When garbage is discarded in open areas it includes all manner of kitchen-to-industrial waste. This waste releases methane gas in the atmosphere which traps heat. The soil is exhausted too, rendering it unfit for crops to grow. Since methane is an inflammable gas now and then there are fires in these areas adding more unbreathable air to the atmosphere.
Waste Segregation At Source
The best way to prevent this destructive mound is by separating waste from the source itself. We should hold separate bins at our homes for wet and dry waste. Waste which can be sold for recycling or reuse such as paper, glass, cardboard, etc. can be stored separately. It’s just the combined waste that is doing the damage.
The main problem is communication which seems to be impossible between people. Even if waste is separated at homes it may be collected wrongly which is the responsibility of the rag pickers or municipal workers. And since these rag pickers are not given instruction the fault lies in the municipalities. So the ideal way to deal with this issue is to work together and spread awareness amongst masses about the harmful effects of landfills.
The Maharashtra Govt is still making efforts in keeping its state pollution free by closing down dumping grounds like Mulund whereas Deonar the largest of all continues to work. Apart from that, there are also cities bagging titles for the cleanest of all in India. Indore being a top rank in 2019 by Swachh Survekshan took efforts in proper waste management and awareness across the city. Another city being Ambikapur of Chattisgarh pledged in making the place breathable with people separating waste at homes. This waste is further picked up by municipal workers who send it to designated centers for reusing or recycling. This made the city bag the title of “Innovation and Best Practices” in the year 2018 by Swachh Survekshan. Not only these cities but Alappuzha too in Kerala was recognized in the United Nations for overcoming garbage crisis.
Hoping for a greener decade with people joining hands in eradicating the evil practice of dumping in the open.