Improper waste disposal can cause serious issues to the environment. As such, waste management and the safe disposal of waste have massive and far-reaching consequences for the environment and are of vital importance.
Non-biodegradable waste and gas production
Across the UK a great deal of waste is buried on landfill sites. These are essentially holes in the ground, which are filled with waste. They are often old quarry sites, but sometimes need to be specially dug. Some of the waste disposed in such sites will eventually rot away, decomposing and being reabsorbed into the earth. A lot of it, however, is not biodegradable and will never rot away. In addition, the decomposition process can produce some fairly noxious smells, as well as methane gas. This is an explosive gas and contributes to global warming. In addition to this, the leachate that is produced during the decomposition process can cause pollution, and poorly managed landfill sites can cause litter and attract vermin.
Other environmental issues
The incineration of waste, while avoiding the issues of landfills, can cause other hazardous environmental issues instead. Plastic generally produces toxins, like dioxins as it is burning. The gases generated by incineration can pollute the air, and can contribute to the effects that cause acid raid. In addition, the incinerators generate ash which frequently contains heavy metals, as well as other toxins.
What can be done?
That being said, if done safely and responsibly, the burning of waste can generate clean energy, which can be used instead of fossil fuels. This not only provides a viable alternative to placing waste in landfills, it actively aids the environment by furnishing a renewable energy source.
Throwing rubbish away is essentially a waste of resources, and potentially very damaging to the environment. Proper waste disposal ensures that as much as possible is recycled, protecting the environment and saving resources. As little as possible should be sent to landfills, which are very damaging to the environment. It it vital to make sure anything left over is disposed of in a manner that has the least environmental impact possible – such as safely burning the waste.