Waste Management Concerns
By Rashi Agarwal
Humans are producing more waste by the day. 2 billion tonnes of trash was produced by households and businesses in 2016, which sums to 740 grams each day for one person. The World Bank has predicted that this could increase by 70% by 2050, as countries get richer. This is not only a sore sight for the eyes, but is extremely unhealthy for humans, as well as for the planet, leading to global warming.
We, as educated global citizens, must take action. We must reduce the use of plastics, paper and non-recyclable materials along with implementing proper waste segregation techniques. Governments too must pull up their socks.
Poorer or developing nations must improve their infrastructure for collecting and disposing waste. In July, the Indian Supreme Court warned that Delhi is buried under huge piles of garbage.
One study found that burning, dumping or discharging rubbish into waterways costs south Asian economies $375 per tonne in pollution and disease. Basic disposal systems would cost only $50-100 per tonne. Such spending makes sense even when budgets are tight.
The richer nations have problems of a different sort. Their collection is good, but they must learn to recycle more or no longer products as much waste. China, which until now used to import most of the waste plastic paper and plastic to recycle, has stopped most of it beginning 2018.
Countries should try and then start taxing industries that produce a lot of waste or make products that require disposing off. A good example is the requirement, pioneered in Europe, for firms to finance the collection and recycling of electronic waste.
Recycling companies, on the other hand should be given sufficient help and subsidies (benefits from government). If recycling is sufficiently profitable, more waste will become a valuable commodity!