Introduction – what is waste?
Waste is undoubtedly one of man’s biggest problems but it can also be turned into a distinct advantage if cards are played right. In later years, the amount of waste has grown to incredible levels, especially in developed countries where several landfill sites and rubbish bins are full to almost bursting point. With more and ore consumerism on the rise, the amount of packaging waste is a distinct problem with huge amounts of toxic fumes emanating from burnt plastics and suchlike causing harm to the environment.
Waste is obviously not only domestic but there is also the problem of, for example, nuclear waste being dumped in certain sensitive areas which cause concern to communities which live close by (McDonald 2007). Industrial waste is another issue although proper waste amangment policies are being implemented, especially in smaller countries like Malta where a strict policy is adhered to. It is important that communities are introduced to the problems of waste disposal immediately so that they can participate and become stakeholders in these issues.
Domestic recycling – an important viewpoint
In the past two decades, waste recycling and separation have become almost the order of the day. Although we still find people who abandon these issues, the vast majority of families and households now separate their waste. Recycling areas across countries have sprung up and one may observe several persons visiting these sites and judiciously disposing of waste items such as glass, plastic and paper in seperate containers which obviously makes recycling much easier. Occasionally communities may object to having such skips close to their residences but such NIMBYISM syndromes have to be ignored if recycling is to become a success.
Recycling plants – a help or a hindrance?
It is obviously important to install waste recycling plants in countries where a vast supply of such waste is plentiful. Sometimes such plants may be controversial as was the case in Malta when a plant which normally treated sewage was transformed into a recycling plant in Marsascala where the residents voiced singular and vociferous concerns. However, the plant which treats some 70,000 tonnes of waste a year has proved to be an unqualified success with large amounts of glass, metals and other materials shipped for export after processing (timesofmalta.com 2010).
Recycling plants will shortly become an important part of a country’s alternative export services as their is quite a goldmine in waste if this is worked around properly. Naturally enough, there will always be opposition from some sectors of society but the process has to continue growing and expanding if the vast amounts of waste produced every day are to be tackled and some economic gain brought of the situation.
Education – the way forward on waste disposal and recycling
Obviously, it is important that everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest person is educated on how to dispose of waste in a proper and judicious manner. Educational campaigns can start in schools and continue at home where children will take what they have learnt in the classroom back to their parents. Informative campaigns have to be continually be introduced on the cost of disposing waste as this has to be the way forward or else the costs induced by disposing of such waste can only rise with the economic disincentives for all concerned.
Sewage treatment – another big bang?
Most persons do not seem to care on the vast amounts of sewage which they create each year but this has become a crucial issue, especially in underdeveloped countries. The creation and operation of sewage treatment plants has become important especially were there are tourist based economies which obviously suffer if the seas around their shores are polluted. Developing countries also need to address these issues immediately as with vast population explosions, the amount of waste being created is undoubtedly huge and the pollution which comes with it can be devastating.
Recycling as a boost to the economy
Recycling waste is a win win situation for all as first and foremost, it makes something out of trash and secondly it creates opportunities for employment and improves the economy no end (Morgan 2005), (Polprasert 1996). Several countries churn out vast quantities of products which are made from recycled materials, be it domestic stuff such as cups, plates etc onto more sophisticated equipment such as mechanical tools made from recycled metals. The carc scrappage industry is also growing substantially and there is a wealth of material to be had from such plants if due processes are followed. Developing countries can also benefit greatly from such industries when they import recycled materials which can then be used for their own industries thus churning out high quality products at a much cheaper price. This is definitely a win win situation for all concerned and the faster countries and people realize this the better as the benefits are there to be had for all.
McDonald Fiona (2007) Waste and Recycling (British issues), Franklin Watts
Morgan Sally (2005) Waste, Recycling and Re-use (Sustainable Futures) Evans Brothers
Marsascala waste recycling plant saga, http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20101201/letters/marsascala-waste-recycling-plant-saga-1.338673 from timesofmalta.com 2010
Polprasert C, (1996), Organic Waste Recycling, Wiley Blackwell