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Sustainable waste management in the society

Taslim Ahammad:

Ecologically wide-ranging waste management must go beyond the mere safe disposal or recovery of wastes that are generated and seek to address the root cause of the problem by attempting to change unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. Today, waste management must be seen in its full context. It cannot be solved with merely technical end-of-pipe solutions. When authority employ a long-term waste management strategy to ensure sustainable development, this will not only affect a number of different dimensions; there are also different levels of decision-making and action involved. Decision-making and action take place at various levels nationwide, regional, local and finally in households. All aspects and all actors must be considered when develop a waste management system and implement it in daily life.

The European Council Directive on Waste defines waste management as collection, transport, recovery and disposal of waste, including the supervision of such operations and after-care of disposal sites. Being a descriptive definition, just as the definition of waste, waste management consequently should mean the ‘collection, transport, recovery and disposal of objects that their holders discard.’ Clearly, this definition suggests that waste management is merely manipulation of discarded things, waste management is thus activity upon material.

Waste management or Waste disposal is all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes amongst other things collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste together with monitoring and regulation. It also encompasses the legal and regulatory framework that relates to waste management encompassing guidance on recycling etc. The term normally relates to all kinds of waste, whether generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, or other human activities, including municipal (residential, institutional, commercial), agricultural, and social (health care, household hazardous waste, sewage sludge). Waste management is intended to reduce adverse effects of waste on health, the environment or aesthetics.

Waste management Theory will have to be built, such that embraces the following notions:

Waste management is to prevent waste causing harm to human health and the environment

The primary aim of waste management is the conservation of resources

We shall avoid waste creation by creating useful objects primarily

Waste management is to encompass the goal of turning waste into non-waste

Types of waste: Generally, waste could be liquid or solid waste. Both of them could be hazardous. Liquid and solid waste types can also be grouped into organic, re-usable and recyclable waste. Some types of waste are; liquid type, solid type, hazardous type, organic type, recyclable type and so on.

Waste management strategy: This new strategy England builds on Waste Strategy 2000 (WS2000) and the progress since then but aims for greater ambition by addressing the key challenges for the future through additional steps. The main elements of the new strategy are to:

provide stronger incentives for businesses, local authorities and individuals to reduce waste;

encourage much greater consideration of waste as a resource through increased emphasis on re-use, recycling and recovery of energy from waste;

make regulation more effective so that it reduces costs to compliant businesses and the regulator while preventing illegal waste activity;

target action on materials, products and sectors with greatest scope for improving environmental and economic outcomes;

stimulate investment in collection, recycling and recovery infrastructure, and markets for recovered materials that will maximise the value of materials and energy recovered;

ensure that, if our waste is recycled overseas, it makes an environmentally sound contribution to reducing demand for global resources;

improve national, regional and local governance, with a clearer performance and institutional framework to deliver better coordinated action and services on the ground; and

increase the engagement of business and the public by communicating and supporting the changed behaviour needed by all us – with Government taking a lead. (Waste Strategy for England, 2007)

Effective regulation: Regulation plays a crucial role in ensuring sound environmental and public health protection. It can also provide the right context for encouraging resource efficiency by business within a competitive environment. But it can cost business time and money. The Government is therefore simplifying the regulatory system, making it more proportionate and risk based, through waste protocols that clarify when waste ceases to be waste (and so not subject to regulation); reforms of the permitting and exemption systems and the controls on handling, transfer and transport of waste, (with cost savings to business); and better and earlier communication with all stakeholders.

Change the culture: Changing how we deal with our waste requires action by all of us as individual consumers, householders and at work and leisure. Many people are already participating actively in recycling. The Government will build on this to stimulate further action by both individuals and businesses so that changed behaviour is embedded across all aspects of our lives by:

extending the campaigns for recycling to awareness and action on reducing waste;

incentivising excellence in sustainable waste management through a zero waste places initiative to develop innovative and exemplary practice;

helping third sector organisations to win a larger share of local authority contract work, as well as making greater use of third sector expertise, particularly to prevent waste, raise awareness, segregate waste at source, and increase re-use and recycling of waste through capacity-building support;

reducing single use shopping bags through a retailer commitment to a programme of action to reduce the environmental impact of carrier bags;

providing more recycling bins in public places through cooperation with the owners and managers of relevant land and premises used by the public to make it easier to recycle away from home, and the development of guidance and a voluntary code of practice for such owners and managers; and

placing greater emphasis on promoting the reduction of waste and increase of recycling in schools by working with other partners to help schools overcome barriers, issuing new guidance and the use of award schemes (such as Eco-Schools). (Waste Strategy for England, 2007)

Incinerating waste causing problems, because waste tend to produce toxic substances, such as dioxins, when they are burnt. Gases from incineration may cause air pollution and contribute to acid rain, while the ash from incinerators may contain heavy metals and other toxins. Because of these problems, need active waste management, campaign and compliance system within Bangladeshi garments sector.

Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh.

E: taslim.ahammad@gmail.com