Waste means anything which is of no use to us and we want to get rid of it , Segregation means Separating
So far what we have seen in India it is a common practice to throw wet and dry garbage together in one dustbin at home , further it goes in mixed form to dump sites. Once garbage is in mixed form it is very difficult to separate it at dump sites after it has rotted for 1-2 days, still poor rag pickers do this job to earn few pennies by segregating dry from wet which has some resale value .
Mixed Garbage is a problem for everyone – rag pickers, companies involved in recycling, municipalities so need arises to do basic segregation at source ( at time of discarding). Mixed Garbage attract hungry dogs and cows. Segregate garbage sent wet(biodegradable waste) directly for composting .Mostly people tie plastic garbage that has wet waste , since Cows don’t have hands they eat plastic bags along with garbage.
Landfills in almost all big cities have exhausted their capacity and bursting to seams, Situation is very grim in many cities like Delhi.
Segregation is essential part in Waste Management as mixed garbage is making landfills toxic , give out toxic gases , making underground water toxic .
Throwing mixed Garbage should be made a Punishable offence. India has potential to produce 540 L tones of compost every year from waste, Imagine how much waste we are throwing which has so much potential. Waste management is important because improperly stored refuse can cause health, safety and economic problems.
Urban areas produce more garbage than Rural areas . Call it down side of living in cities there is a marked difference in garbage production in both. Blame it to new life styles, eating habits, use of plastic in daily life .
Waste can be segregated as
1. Biodegradable and
Biodegradable waste include organic waste, e.g. kitchen waste, vegetables, fruits, flowers, leaves from the garden, and paper.
Nonbiodegradable waste can be further segregated into:
a) Recyclable waste – plastics, paper, glass, metal, etc.
b) Toxic waste – old medicines, paints, chemicals, bulbs, spray cans, fertilizer and pesticide containers, batteries, shoe polish.
c) Soiled – hospital waste such as cloth soiled with blood and other body fluids.
For all practical purposes and reality on ground If we Indians just do basic segregation at source that will also be a big help in lessening burden on landfills. Nearly 20% of methane gas emissions in India is caused by landfills. You can Imagine seriousness and why Segregation is so Important.
Only Segregated waste can produce Waste-to-Energy.
Easiest way of waste segregation at source is to have two coloured Dustbins one green for biodegradable waste and another for non biodegradable waste at home, school , market places , hospitals , offices.
Once garbage is segregated at source , dry waste can straightway go for recycling according to their respective character like paper, metal , batteries , plastics, glass etc .
Wet waste can go for composting if composting. Currently there only 46 waste-to-compost plants are functional in country, 283 more are under construction.
While talking about waste segregation we can’t forget a very important feature in whole waste management scheme i.e. Rag pickers. Rag pickers contribute a great deal to waste management as they scavenge the recyclable matter thereby saving the municipality of the cost and time of collecting and transporting this to the dumps.
The rag picker has a special role to play in the segregation of waste in India. He sells all the material he picks to the whole sellers and retailers who in turn sell it to the industry that uses this waste matter as raw material. The main items of collection are plastics, paper, bottles, and cans.
Segregated Waste is a little help towards rag pickers who will not waste energy and time in scavenging for useful resalable? Recyclable garbage.
Some suggestions to Govt
- Encourage manufacturing of Biodegradable bags for disposing wet waste.
- Make councilors of Municipalities connect with citizens and let them campaign about waste segregation.
- Make sure that municipalities don’t mix wet and dry waste after collecting from source.
- Involve rag pickers in a more organized way. Make it an employment opportunity for these underprivileged poor segment of society .
- Involve voluntary organizations along with Municipalities.
- Organize workshops and train Municipality staff that is involved in garbage collection.
- With current situation in country a separate Minister should be appointed for Waste Management with clear Duties and Agenda.
- Ban use of plastics, which are difficult to segregate like plastic straws, plastic, spoons and forks.
- Promote disposable plates, cups, glasses made up of biodegradable material.
- Give more powers to Municipalities and Urban Local Bodies