Municipal solid waste (MSW) can be defined as non-air and sewer emission created within and disposed of by a municipality including household garbage, commercial refuse, construction and demolition debris, dead animals and abandoned vehicles.
Municipal solid waste, also called garbage or trash, is non-hazardous refuse generated by households, institutions, industries, agriculture, and sewage. It is made up of waste, both compostable and recyclable materials, with the municipality overseeing its disposal.
Typically, this refuse is collected, separated and sent to either a landfill or a municipal recycling center for processing.
The united State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) observed that the majority of substances that are MSW include: paper, vegetable matter, plastics, metals, textiles, rubber and glass. It is estimated that in 2006 the total amount of municipal waste generated globally reached 2.02 billion tones, representing a 7% annual increase since 2003.
It is further estimated that between 2007 and 2011, global generation of MSW raised by 37.3%, equivalent to roughly 8% increase per year. It is estimated that an average Nigerian generates about 0.49kg of solid waste per day with household and commercial center contributing almost 90% of total.
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Municipal Solid Waste has changed alongside with society and time. In the past, refuse from community was mostly made up of ash, wood, bone, and vegetable Waste.
Dumps were mainly filled with pottery or tools that could no longer be repaired as early humans would feed most biodegradables to their livestock or leave it to decompose.
As humanity continued to develop, the refuse created by communities became more complicated with the introduction of metals like copper, aluminum, and steel; new materials like plastic; and the introduction of hazardous substances.
Fortunately, humanity has been able to answer to this shift for the most part with programs that combat the various types of litter through recycling, compost and developing landfills that will protect the environment from pollution.
Types of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
1. Residential and Commercial Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
These are solid wastes that are organic (combustible) or inorganic (non-combustible) from residential areas and commercial establishments. They do not include solid special or hazardous material.
Typical examples of organic fraction of residential and commercial MSW include food waste (garbage), paper of all types, plastics, textiles, rubber, leather, wood and yard wastes. The inorganic fraction consists of items such as glass, crockery aluminum etc.
If the waste components are not separated when discarded, they are known as commingled residential and commercial MSW.
2. Special Wastes
These are residential and commercial MSW that are bulky items, consumer electronics, white goods, yard wastes that are collected separately, batteries, oil and tyres- all handled separately.
– Bulky items can be large worn out or broken household, commercial and industrial items such as furniture, lamps, bookcases, filing carbonates etc.
– Consumer electronics include worn out, broken and other no longer wanted items such radios, stereos and television sets.
– White goods are large worn out or broken household, commercial and industrial appliances such as stove, refrigerators, dish washers and clothes washers and dryers.
– The principal sources of batteries are households, automobiles and other vehicle servicing facilities. Household batteries come from varying sources such as alkaline, mercury, silver, zinc, nickel and cadmium.
Household battery can cause contamination of groundwater when found in leachate. Land filling of household should be discouraged as each automobile battery contains 8 kg of lead and 4 liters of sulphuric acids- all HAZMATs.
– Principal sources of oil is from servicing of motor and other moving vehicles. Waste oil discharged to the ground water or into municipal sewers often contaminate surface and ground waters as well as soil.
– About 230 to 240 million rubber tyres are produced in landfill or stockpiles. Stockpiling of tyers in the tropics is used in some advantage of erosion control in the shorelines- otherwise they pose serious aesthetic and environmental problem in case of fire outbreak.