Waste production, which is trash or garbage, is a common name for what is identified by environmentalists as Municipal Solid Waste. It consists of everyday items that are discarded by the public such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint, and batteries. Municipal waste has increased in Canada from 510 kg in 1980 to 894 kg in 2007 above Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), average at 578 kg per capita.
Increase in municipal waste is due to the increase in urbanization, economic growth in terms of income and disposable income, patterns of consumption and lifestyle where people are going with trends and looking for a comfortable lifestyle. Although there is a general increase in municipal waste all over the world, countries doing better than Canada have a system of managing the waste.
In 2009 a report by OECD indicated that in the 17 countries the research was carried out, Canada ranked last while the leading country Japan had an average of 377 kg per capita, half of what Canada had generated. It was followed by Norway with an average of 470 kg per capita. The two countries have innovative ways of managing waste such as increasing their recycle wastes. Japan has managed to keep an average of 400kg per capita while Norway has reduced its average.
There are many consequences associated with waste production. One is emission of methane gas, carbon dioxide and other gases from landfills that destroy the ozone layer and cause global warming. This gases are produced when the organic waste decompose. Although this gases vary depending with where the landfill is situated, the effects of global warming has brought adverse effects on human beings like changes in weather patterns, extreme temperatures and corrosion of iron sheets by acid rain. The emissions of these gases take up to twenty years to clear.
Second, when surface water and underground water are polluted then there will be contamination and also destruction of sea life. Surface water is polluted by throwing waste into the water while underground water is polluted by septic. Due to disposal of plastics into the surface waters and other chemicals from non-residential waste, there is destruction of sea life like coral reefs, fish and other sea creatures. Underground water when contaminated by septic there is increase in diseases contraction that is why it advisable to treat it.
Incineration of the waste produces toxic wastes such as Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). These substances known as dioxins and furans are toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative. They are believed to cause health problems to human beings such as cancer, changes in hormones and a skin disease known as chloracne. They enter the body by inhaling contaminated air, drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food.
If there will be no way to deal with the waste then the effects will be worse than they are now. When air, water and soil are contaminated then that is a big threat to human life and survival. We need to implement environmental conservation plans in waste management to save the earth for our future generation.
- Municipal Waste generation | The Conference Board of Canada | Environment International Ranking
- Retrieved 12 December 2017, from http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/environment/municipal-waste-generation.aspx