According to Annie Leonard, there is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.The biggest nightmare of any society especially government has been the indiscriminate disposal of waste.
This is so because no government has taken concerted and conscious effort to battle the problem.Today, government of the day, especially of the southeast can make great policies and laws against indiscriminate disposal of waste but no single effort to put proper machinery in place to address the issue of waste disposal.
The law enforcement agents of government will always be quick to arrest defaulters who dump at wrong places but the question remains where are the right places to dump refuse.I remember when I was in the secondary school; we saw incinerators at waste sites carting away the refuse at different points.
Then, you could hardly perceive the offensive odor because no sooner were the waste dropped when the incinerators come to evacuate. Indiscriminate waste disposal causes bigger problems that affect not only the environment but also the health and life of the people. This problem may be resolve or it will remain problem to the people/state in years to come.
Mismanagement of the waste disposal has a serious effect on ground and surface water contamination, flooding, air pollution, water pollution and even the food stuff we consume.The citizens have converted every open space to waste space because the governments have refused to provide adequate waste containers at strategic places.
Sometimes, the ones provided never serve the residents of that area. The residents have also refused to package and bag their refuse for proper disposal. This is a problem that needs urgent attention more than given to the issue of coronavirus.If the government of the various states can put in more energy as they are doing in respect to the COVID-19 pandemic in the area of refuse management, they would have been addressing two evils at the same time. If more attention is given to COVID-19, overlooking the attendant health consequences of indiscriminate waste disposal, it would amount to double tragedy.
Indiscriminate waste disposal is doing more harm to citizens than COVID-19. Unfortunately it is not recorded. There is hardly two poles in Imo State for instance without sighting an indiscriminate refuse point.The markets where people buy, sell and consume food item is replete with mountains of refuse heap too nauseating to behold.
The plastic company is equally not helping to rid the environment of this ugly situation. There must be a system that encourages recycling of plastics products. The gutters are blocked by the plastics, making de-silting and easy flow of drainage system impossible.In the words of Bea Johnson, “Refuse what you do not need; reduce what you do need; reuse what you consume; recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and rot (compost) the rest.”Mother Teresa will tell you that, “I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.”
Improper disposal of hazardous waste causes adverse effects on human health and the environment. The normal practices of waste disposal such as insanitary open dump, land filling, discharge in water courses, or open-pit burning will need modification when dealing with hazardous wastes. The principle hazard of improper waste disposal is contamination of soil and groundwater. This arises largely from the waste containing hazardous substances deposited in landfills or on the ground.
The health implication of millions of tonnes of waste could be; direct ingestion through drinking, inhalation of contaminants that volatilize from heated water, absorption through the skin during washing and bathing, ingestion through consumption of goods derived from plants or animals exposed to polluted groundwater and absorption through the skin when handling contaminated soil. It also contaminates the air we breathe especially during the burning of the waste.
Greenhouse gas also causes significant harm to marine and wildlife. For instance when water is contaminated with foreign substances, like harmful pathogens, toxic chemicals or medical waste its chemical composition changes, making it harmful to use. Diseases like Cholera, Dysentery and leptospirosis are known to be spread through contaminated water and can cause serious health epidemics in a population.
To solve the problem of indiscriminate waste disposal, the government should provide enough waste collectors and incinerators. They should create points of collection and punish offenders. There should be regular evacuation of waste, not waiting till the whole place is overflown by refuse.
Have strong regulations against refuse dumping. The citizens on their own should adhere to the stipulated locations in dumping their refuse. They should bag their waste properly and stop pouring the waste on the ground, making it difficult for the workers and incinerators to evacuate.
The governments and citizens should give attention to the issue of waste disposal as much as they are doing with COVID-19 because both pose serious danger to the health of citizens and the environment. Nothing could be more sanitizing, keeping distance and observing the non-pharmaceutical guidelines than ensuring that indiscriminate refuse dump is addressed.