Improve waste management methods
Posted Thursday, February 7 2013 at 02:00
Hence, good waste management involves much more than ensuring that wastes are safely and legally disposed of.
Poor waste management poses a great challenge to the well-being of city residents due to the potential of the waste to pollute water, food sources, land, air and vegetation. The poor disposal and handling of waste thus leads to environmental degradation, destruction of the ecosystem and poses great risks to public health.
With increase in the global population and the rising demand for food and other necessities, there has been a rise in the volume of waste being generated regularly by each household. The waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centres from where it is collected by the area municipalities to be further thrown into the landfills and dumps.
However, either owing to resource crisis or inefficient infrastructure, not all the waste gets collected. At this stage, if the management and disposal is poorly done, it causes severe impacts on health and environment.
The dangers are many. For example, organic domestic waste in our urban centres poses a serious threat, since they ferment, creating conditions favourable for the survival and growth of microbial pathogens. Direct handling of solid waste can result in various types of infectious and chronic diseases.
Waste from agriculture and industries also cause grave health risks. Uncollected solid waste also obstructs storm water runoff in drainage systems, resulting in flooding and stagnant water bodies that become breeding grounds of diseases. Waste dumped near a water source also causes contamination of the water body.
Disposal of hospital and other medical waste such as syringe needles, bandages, swabs, plasters, etc., require special attention since this can create major health hazards.
Also, poorly operated incineration plants cause air pollution and poorly managed landfills attract insects and rodents that spread disease. Ideally, these sites should be located at a safe distance from all human settlement. Landfill sites should be well lined and walled to ensure that there is no leakage into nearby ground water sources.
Hence, good waste management involves much more than ensuring that wastes are safely and legally disposed of. The aim should be to achieve the best practicable environmental option for each waste stream, because the environmental risks associated with poor waste management are well known and understood. As it is, waste management in Uganda is a big challenge.
At the household level, proper sorting of waste has to be done and all organic matter kept aside and then used as a fertilizer, which is undoubtedly the best method for the correct disposal of this segment of the waste. In fact, the organic part of the waste that is generated decomposes more easily, attracts insects and causes disease.