Global waste management systems is a key utility service and a critical element of infrastructure underpinning society, but it is often not recognized as such. This article tries to embody within itself the facts related to solid waste, benefits of such management systems, things that needs to be done and the requisite know-how for such arrangement to function effectively with a managerial prudence.
Planet earth through anthropogenic waste generation generates around 2 billion tonnes per year of municipal solid waste. In addition to that, around 7-10 billion tonnes of urban solid waste is produced from households, commerce, industry and construction. If a country wide analysis is done, then due to globalization, industrial and hazardous waste generation is shifting to developing nations. Moreover the future trends suggests that low income cities of Africa and Asia will double their municipal solid waste within 15-20 years, because of high population growth, economic development and industrialization, migration from rural to urban areas and also, size of cities increases.
Globally speaking, there are still around 2 billion people without access to solid waste collection. Major benefits of a global waste management system includes lower incidence of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in the population specially amongst children. Moreover blocked drains and residual waste leads to more spread of such infection. Also improper management of waste will lead to severe environmental impacts such as land pollution, scarcity of fresh water, sea pollution and the much discussed climate change. Also, additional cost is incurred by the society in the factor of 5-10 in sectors such as health, flood management, productivity loss etc.
There is a definite four fold process to manage the global waste of which municipal solid waste is a major part. Firstly, stopping uncontrolled burning and dumping through check points and surveillance machinery is a first step. We need to ensure affordable collection services to all society irrespective of income levels. Secondly, bringing hazardous waste under control will lead to curbing unnecessary environmental and ecological impact. This can be achieved through effective seperation of hazardous waste from hospitals and other industrial sources. Also few waste substances may require special treatment before release into the environment. Thirdly, we need to focus on waste prevention. This will help improve the resource security in the long run. This will need maximum repair, reuse and remanufacture. Again waste segregation is the key in helping becoming capable for reuse and repair. Finally and more importantly, focussing more on the feedback loop will help maximize the efficiency of recycling. Also in low-income countries integrate existing small scale entrepreunerial recycling within mainstream waste management .Lastly development of environmentally sound enery recovery facilities and residual wastes will help sustainable recycling to grow and be profitable which is a quintessential for a sustainable, effective, prudent and low-cost global waste management systems.