Solid waste disposal and pollution
Solid waste pollution is considered a serious threat by many environmentalists and can broadly be defined as any pollution associated with waste and waste management practices. In a more specific sense however, solid waste can be considered any item which would typically find its way to either a landfill or recycling center, this would include albeit very loosely, various gases and liquids found within solid waste such as CFC propellants from aerosol cans and liquids such as heavy oils and acids which may seep from small motors, batteries and other items. However it should be noted that gases and liquids are only to be associated with solid waste when referring to their point of origin, they themselves are not to be considered solid waste.
Litter can harm the environment. It is unsightly and uncollected litter can attract more. Animals may get trapped or poisoned with litter in their habitats. Litter can end up in rivers and canals, polluting the water supply. A large amount of floating waste ends up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Plastic waste can be consumed by wildlife, with negative health consequences.
Vermin and disease are rife in places with high amounts of litter. Open containers such as paper cups can hold rainwater, providing breeding locations for mosquitoes which have been known to cause disease like the West Nile Virus or Malaria. It is also a road hazard and can occasionally contribute to accidents.
Litter is a breeding ground for disease causing insects and rodents, features most prominently for its “ugliness” that damages scenic environments. Trash collects into streams, and storm water drainage systems, flowing into local bays and estuaries. Cigarette buds and filters, a threat to wildlife, have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and whales, who have mistaken them for food.
Littering can be considered the most common form of solid waste pollution. The act of littering for the most part constitutes disposing of waste inappropriately. Littering itself may or may not be an intentional action, often items which are improperly secured to waste transfer vehicles among others may blow off and these results in un-intended littering.
Other forms of solid waste pollution include illegal dumping and leeching. Illegal dumping often involves hard disposing of waste which requires special treatment and often occurs on lands which are in the process of development. Road access coupled with limited surveillance often provides the perfect opportunity for this form of dumping which often goes unpunished and leaves others (such as the community or developer) to properly dispose of the waste. Leeching is a process by which contaminants from solid waste enter soil and often ground water systems contaminating them.
Copyright 2008 by Grup Scolar Industrial Nicolae Iorga