Wrong method of waste management?

Piet Retief Waste management

People at the local refuse site have been seen last week where they set alight various heaps of rubbish in an attempt to get rid of it.

Waste management means the gathering, transport and recycling of waste. Years ago, people used old quarries or natural holes in the ground to bury their waste and these were known as refuse dumps.

Tyres were set alight and thick clouds of black smoke filled the air – this is air pollution!

The clouds of smoke were seen coming from the rubbish dump for a few days in a row. Why set everything alight then? Did you know that proper waste management at a refuse dump can both be done hygienically and be very cost effective, if done correctly? The method to manage waste at a rubbish dump needs to be of such a nature that it is not harmful to the environment at all.

Environmental dangers include: wind blowing rubbish around and spreading it, animals and insects that are drawn to the waste and deadly gas which builds up underneath the ground. These gasses consist mainly of methane and carbon monoxide.

It leaves a terrible stench in the air and will cause the plants on top, as well as beneath the surface of the ground, to die. The ideal way to manage waste is to compact it into large blocks. This will take up less space and will not draw as many pests (such as rats) or insects.

It will also help to prevent the wind from blowing some of the rubbish elsewhere. Did you know that to be able to burn rubbish effectively, very high temperatures are required? This method is known as thermal treatment. At very high temperatures, waste products will be destroyed completely.

Countries such as Japan and Sweden have been making use of thermal treatment effectively as they often don’t have a lot of space for rubbish dumps. Even though thermal treatment is cost effective and practical, it still causes severe air pollution.

Thermal treatment is a direct contributor to pollution. By burning certain items on a rubbish dump, toxic gasses will be released in the air. This will not only pollute the air you breath, but could also be hazardous for humans to inhale. The conclusion is that by setting a tyre alight in order to get rid of it, will not work.

It will actually just continue to smolder and create large clouds of smoke, which in turn creates bigger problems for the environment as well as to your own health. So stop setting everything alight and find alternative methods to destroy waste completely without damaging our beautiful environment!