By: Ivy, Harkirat, and Manvir
1) What is the issue?
The issue with waste management is that we're struggling to find ways to manage waste that won't have any negative effects on the environment. If we don't manage waste many negative effects will occur. One negative factor that may occur is surface water contamination. Surface water contamination is when waste ends up in bodies of water which can change the waters state chemically. Technically, this is called water pollution. This will affect all ecosystems existing in water. Animals can also be affected negatively by drinking polluted water.
Soil contamination can also occur when waste isn't managed. Soil contamination is when hazardous chemicals get into the soil. This can harm plants when they take up contamination from the soil by their roots. This can also harm us because when we consume the plants, they might be contaminated. Which will then lead to us taking in many harmful chemicals which can affect our well being.
Leachate can also occur when waste isn't managed. Liquid that forms as water trickles through contaminated areas is called leachate. This forms a very harmful mixture of toxins that may end up on the surface of our water. This can also end up in our groundwater or soil.
So overall if we don't manage waste many issues can occur which are listed above.
2) What are the causes?
We manage waste so we don't end up in our own garbage. We produce so much waste that we have to figure out ways to put it somewhere or somewhere it will do the best harm (landfills.) The amount of waste we produce is so much that in this generation it is estimated that Americans alone throw over 25 million tons of waste every day. So people have started waste management to conserve the planet Earth & to make full use of things that are thrown away. So if "we don’t manage waste, waste will manage us" (quote by GeneL.)
3) How is your issue impacted by or how does it contribute to global warming?
Waste management effects global warming because of the types of ways we manage waste. For example, we put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere causing global warming. We put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in many ways. Such as combustion, we put carbon dioxide by combustion because we burn things in the process of it. Waste management also contributes to global warming because of landfills. In landfills, many greenhouse gases are released. Also, warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from the Earth towards space is caused when greenhouse gases are released. Some waste also contributes to global warming such as plastic bags. When plastic bags get put into the ground, some greenhouse gases naturally get released into the atmosphere. Causing global warming.
4) What are the long term affects?
Some long term effects that can be caused by waste is open dumps of solid waste in developing countries. Open dumps are a form of uncontrolled landfills. Also, open dumps have a negative impact on the Earth because they don't have bottom liners to prevent seepage of leachate. Without liners, open landfills also can't reduce the amount of methane emissions that are released into the atmosphere. Which has the potential to cause global warming. This also causes climate change & rainfall patterns that have a variety of pressure upon plants and animals. If this continues to be this way, 1/3 of species will be lost from their habitat, which can cause extinction.
5) What can be done?
Some things that can be done to manage waste is to use cloth bags instead of plastic bags. This way you can bring your own reusable bags instead of the plastic bags from the store. Cloth bags are also manufactured responsibly, meaning they get manufactured without the use of harmful chemicals. Also, one reusable bag can eliminate hundreds or even thousands of plastic bags. Plastic bags are bad for the environment because 10% of the plastic bags winds up in the ocean. This can kill marine life, this can kill marine because they may mistake it for food and their bodies may not be able to digest the plastic or they'll take in harmful chemicals. Plastic bags are also bad because they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose and when they finally do, the harmful chemicals contaminate the soil and water. So use reusable bags instead!
The second thing that can be done to manage waste is to donate. Donating items can help manage waste because it's better if someone puts it to good use rather than it ending up in the landfill. When clothes end up in the landfill it increases the usage of landfills which is bad. Landfills are bad because when waste gets in there, it gets compacted & they then just cover it up. This removes oxygen and eventually breaks down the waste item. This then releases methane, a greenhouse gas that's 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide! So if you increase the usage of landfills, you increase the amount of methane in the atmosphere. This can lead to global warming and climate change. So just donate instead!
We can also turn solid waste into energy. This will create a huge energy source that meets our requirements for the amount of energy we want but also eliminates waste. This will also reduce the amount of landfills we have and reduce ground and surface water pollution. This will also provide us with cleaner drinking water. Furthermore, to convert waste into energy we can use an effective Utag Plasma Gasification WTE Plant. This will allow us to easily generate electricity.
These are some of the ways that we can manage waste.
6) What is currently being done in Canada and/or around the world?
The world is currently disposing waste by combustion. Combustion is when we burn solid waste at a high temperature. This way waste can be converted into residue and gaseous products. This process also has another advantage which is to reduce solid waste up to 20% to 30% of the original volume. This reduces the amount of stress on landfills. But the downside of combustion is that it releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere which contributes to global warming. Also, climate change is one of the greatest problems being faced by the world and is caused by combustion.
The world is also using landfills to manage waste, this is one of the most popular method of disposing waste today. A landfill is where we place waste into the ground after a process eliminates odors and dangers of waste. But, landfills aren't that great as they seem. They aren't that great because we are running out of space for them and there's many strong gases present on landfills such as methane. This can cause many contamination problems.
Another method of managing waste we are currently using is recovery and recycling. Recovery is where we take discarded items for a specific use that's useful. These discarded items can then be changed in the form of usable electricity, heat, and fuel. Also, recycling is when we convert waste into new products to reduce energy usage. These two are good ways to manage waste because they reduce energy usage, reduce volume of landfills, reduce air & water pollution, and preserves natural resources. But, this can have a negative side to it as well, such as abandoned dump sites can affect the health of wildlife and damage the surrounding environment. Also, harmful chemicals in the trash can mix into water and soil.