1. Indiscriminate disposal and open burning
This is the cheapest and easiest method of waste disposal and requires no special explanation because it is the system practiced in most homes and most of the developing countries.
Here people collect waste in any manner they deem fit using whatever material available and dispose in the nearest bush, garden or piece of land. The waste accumulates into a dump and is either burnt openly or left to decay causing public nuisance and health risks
This is a natural process that turns organic material into a dark rich substance known as compost or humus under the action of microorganisms. However, only biodegradable waste can be turned into compost but the good news is that biodegradable waste constitute over 90% of municipal waste in most communities.
However, care must be taken to avoid wastes that attract pests and domestic animals such as rodents, dogs, cats, flies etc. Examples of wastes to avoid include fatty food items like meat, fish, oils etc.
3. Sanitary landfill
The sanitary landfill is the main system of municipal waste disposal today. In a modern sanitary landfill, each day’s waste is covered over and sealed off.
Read Also : Sanitation and Waste Management Guide
When the landfill is full it is covered, graded for drainage, and leachate (polluted water seeping from the landfill) drained without contaminating ground water.
For effective results sanitary landfills should be located on sites that can geographically & geologically support them – sites with natural clay soils. If clay soil cannot be found, a clay lining must be constructed to prevent leachates reaching groundwater.
Sanitary landfills are not to be located over sand or gravel deposits that would allow leachates flow to groundwater.
In spite of precautions the production of leachates & contamination of groundwater can still occur if the clay breaks or if the landfill is located improperly, or if explosions & fires caused by the accumulation of dangerous amounts of methane gas created by anaerobic decomposition of refuse occur.
This is a coordinated burning of waste using well designed incinerators. Incineration has both negative and positive implications. On the negative consideration, it is very expensive in terms of economic and environmental costs and although it could reduce waste volume substantially, sometimes by as much as 80-90 %, the 10-20 % residue/ash may be toxic and difficult to handle.
On the positive side, the heat produced can be used for electric generation. Incineration requires large amounts of waste and is therefore most appropriate in crowded urban cities. It should be emphasized that sustainable incineration requires controlled burning using appropriate facilities. It should never involve open burning.
In summary, waste management methods are both traditional and modern. The traditional methods include those methods that are used by households, municipal agencies and institutions, offices, etc. on daily bases including indiscriminate dumping and open burning, composting, sanitary landfill and incineration.
The modern methods target waste management form source, recycling those that are still useful in other sectors of the economy and developing technologies to minimise the quantity of waste produced by each activity.
Several methods used in pest and disease control were also described. These included appropriate personal hygiene, chemical and non-chemical methods of vector control.
The traditional methods involve collection and disposal without prior consideration of the environmental consequences. These methods include indiscriminate dumping and open burning, composting, sanitary landfills and incineration.
On the other hand, the modern methods such as recycling and source reduction technologies make environmental consequences a critical outcome of management, for which reason they are source based, considering not just collection and disposal, but also how the wastes are generated.
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