We observe heaps of garbage lying along the roads while passing through a highway. Open dumping is the most common method of waste disposal in India. The trash heaps are usually open to the environment or seldom have sparse covering and sometimes have partial burning due to the heat generated inside.
Sometimes, wastes are illegally dumped into rivers and canals or used to fill land depressions without proper consultations. These practices cause a lot of problems in the long run, such as degrading the soil quality, causing suffocation and death of animals inhabiting that area. To prevent these, we must adopt proper waste disposal methods.
Methods of waste disposal
Garbage accumulation has never been much of a concern in the past, but due to globalization and industrialization, there is a need for a more efficient waste disposal method apart from the traditional methods. Following are some of the methods that are used today.
In this process, the waste that cannot be reused or recycled separated out and spread as a thin layer in some low-lying areas across the city. A layer of soil added after each layer of garbage. Once this process is complete, this area declared unfit for building construction for the next 20 years and is only used as a playground or a park.
Incineration is the process of controlled combustion of garbage to reduce it to incombustible matter; ash, waste gas, and heat. The waste gasses thus generated are then treated and released into the environment. This process reduced the volume of waste by 90 percent and considered as one of the most hygienic methods of waste disposal. In some cases, the heat generated used to produce electric power.
The waste materials such as cans and plastic bottles compact into blocks and send for recycling. This process prevents the oxidation of metals and reduces air space need, thus making transportation and positioning easy.
Biodegradable waste, such as food items, animal waste or industrial waste from food packaging industries send to bio-degradation plants. In bio-degradation plants, they are converted to biogas by degradation with the help of bacteria, fungi, and other biological means. Here, the organic matter serves as food for the micro-organisms. The degradation can happen aerobically (with oxygen) or anaerobically (without oxygen). Biogas is generated as a result of this process which is used as fuel, and the residue is used as manure.
All organic materials decompose with time. Food scraps, yard waste, etc. make up one of the major wastes we throw every day. Sometimes these are buried under beds of soil and left to decay under the action of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. This results in the formation of nutrient-rich manure. This process is termed as composting. By composting, the nutrients are replenished back to the soil. Composting also enriches the soil and increases the water retention capacity. In agriculture, it is the best alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Vermicomposting is the process of using worms for the degradation of organic matter into nutrient-rich manure. Worms take the organic matter as feed and digest them. The excretory materials or the by-products of digestion are given out by the worms makes the soil nutrient rich, thus enhancing the growth of bacteria and fungi.
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