As the population of the country grows, we see heaps of garbage and solid waste littering our surroundings. Lack of waste segregation and mindless disposal causes widespread damage to the environment. It has resulted in landfills that further contaminate groundwater and soil by seeping into them. In such scenarios, effective waste management becomes necessary to compensate for this damage.
If you find yourself living in an apartment in Thrissur, or if you’ve just moved into a premium villa in Kerala, you must know the best waste management practices. Employing these steps in your day-to-day life will improve your surroundings. It will make the environment healthier and safer for you and those around you.
Waste Segregation and Its Importance
The Solid Waste Management Rules prescribed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change mandated the segregation of waste at the source of generation itself. In simple terms, the responsibility of waste segregation falls on the waste generator themself.
But what is waste segregation? Essentially, waste segregation is the separation of household waste generated daily. This waste is put into different bins depending on its categories, such as wet waste, dry waste, e-waste, hazardous waste or biomedical waste. It is important to segregate your waste to facilitate the safe disposal of toxic substances and the effective recycling of reusable materials.
The 3Rs- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
As the quantity of waste has been increasing, we must make conscious efforts to turn our waste into wealth. We can do this by following the 3 Rs –
- Reduce the amount of waste we generate by lowering our consumption
- Reuse our stuff as much as possible by upcycling or donating old goods, or creating DIY projects. DIYs are essentially creative ways through which we can repurpose the items we already own instead of purchasing fresh pieces from the market.
- Recycle our used things by giving them to your local NGOs or recycling agencies
Different Categories of Waste in Waste Management
Before we move on to the waste management practices, we need to learn about the different categories of waste.
Wet waste refers to biodegradable waste that is generally found in the kitchen. Kitchen waste includes spoiled or leftover food, vegetable and fruit peels leaves, tea leaves, meat, etc. You can even put used or dried flowers and leaves from your pooja room or old plants and twigs from your garden into wet waste.
Over time, the decomposition of wet waste forms compost which can be later used as organic fertilizer. This is why most apartments in Thrissur have an in-house composting unit to decompose biodegradable waste.
Dry waste refers to non-biodegradable waste which does not decay. This includes plastic goods, used paper, broken glass, metal scraps, old clothes, leftover thermocol, etc. These items do not decompose in the soil and remain the same without any breakdown for long periods.
E-Waste stands for the electronic waste generated. It includes dead or leaky batteries, non-functional computer parts, worn-out wires, burnt out bulbs, old tech gadgets, etc.
Electronic waste contains toxic components such as mercury, lead, cadmium, polybrominated flame retardants, barium and lithium. These toxins are dangerous to your health. Exposure to them can cause a lot of damage.
Hence, it is crucial to dispose of e-waste properly. You can store the waste at your flat until your housekeeper comes. If you live in luxury villas in Thrissur, you can contact your local NGO responsible for e-waste disposal to collect your waste.
- Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste refers to those items that cause health hazards to humans or the environment. These substances are toxic, highly reactive, corrosive, or explosive. It includes chemicals, acids, leaky batteries, paints or solvents, broken thermometers, etc.
You can keep such waste in safe spaces allocated for storage in your residential building. Doing this will ensure that hazardous waste is discarded under professional supervision.
- Biomedical Waste
Biomedical waste is waste that contains infectious materials such as used diapers, sanitary napkins, bandages. Any material with blood or other body fluids must be wrapped in a separate paper bag and labelled before disposal.
How to Practice Proper Waste Management at Your Residential Buildings
Now, as you’re aware of the importance of waste management and the different categories of waste, let’s have a look at some of the more effective waste management practices you can follow in your daily lives-
- Use colour-coded bins for each category of waste
- Use sturdy garbage bags to avoid accidental leaks in the bins
- Dispose of your kitchen waste daily to prevent contamination
- Clean and dry your plastic items before you dispose of them
- Neatly wrap used sanitary napkins or disposable diapers in newspaper or bags before you discard them
- Always remember to wrap broken glass or other sharp objects such as used razor blades in a well-labelled transparent polythene cover
- Try to set up your composting unit in your flat to relieve the pressure on local waste management bodies
Implementing these simple practices in your lifestyle can make a massive impact on the big picture. It will allow you to manage your household waste efficiently and drastically reduce the waste going to public landfills.
Doing this will inspire those around you and encourage them to make amends. We can only hope to improve the world one step at a time. Be the first one to make the change! Take this step to make our planet a cleaner and better place!