Time is running out.

epa-2011-solid-waste-pie-chart

 

Waste Management is not a singular problem, pertaining to one country. Globally, we are facing very detrimental waste disposal issues. In the 1922 Earth Summit Conference, about 60 percent of countries expressed their concerns on waste disposal along with other various environmental issues. Their main problem with Waste Management was disposing of solid wastes. Waste Management is extremely important because it affects the health of humans in general and various communities around the world. Poor waste management can lead to very serious problems with water supply issues, extremely harmful green house gas emissions, cancerous carcinogen, and other dangerous pollutants in the air. In the US, our biggest problem pertaining to Waste Management challenges is that we produce so much waste. The most common form of waste produced in the U.S. is solid waste which simply put is just “garbage”. The products that we use everyday are increasingly being filled with harsh chemicals and toxins, which at the end of the day are getting dumped into huge landfills and incinerators. Americans generate around 230 million tons of trash every year. Which is about 4.6 pounds of solid waste per person a day. (learner.org) This amount has nearly doubled since the 1960’s where each person generated 2.7 pounds of solid waste per day. (toxicsaction.org) Less than 1/4 of the waste is recycled and the rest is either burned or thrown into landfills. The problem is that Landfills are rapidly running out of space, and incinerators are taking care of waste disposal only on a surface level. Solid waste that is burned in incinerators is gone and methane levels from landfills are reduced but the negative environmental impact that is left on the Earth is extremely detrimental. Incinerators emit large amounts mercury and dioxins, which have a direct correlation to health issues. A lot of work toward creating viable plans and strategies for Waste Management needs to be done because time is running out. A huge cause of the excessive amount of solid waste produced in the U.S. is due to excessive product packaging. Most of the products we use everyday are packaged in plastics and other non-recyclable materials. Big companies try to make their packaging best for the consumer, but are actually making waste disposal issues extremely worse. I know that solving Waste Management issues cannot happen overnight, but I think a great step in the right direction is if big corporation’s reevaluated the way they package their products. Incorporating environmentally friendly recyclable materials or reusable packaging containers as a systematic way of packaging goods could really change the outcome of waste disposal. It would for sure reduce the size of landfills, and the need to incinerate solid waste, and most importantly cut down on the amount of waste that is produced each day.

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