By Dr Preethi Keerthi D’Souza
Oct 28: With Alertness Segregating The Elements is WASTE management. A will to do our bit at the household level is the essential component and this small step by every person will help us to overcome the problem of managing and disposing waste, which in the first place, is a problem created by us alone.
Mangaluru City Corporation has requested us responsible citizens to segregate waste into wet and dry category. However there are questions that occur in the mind of many citizens on what waste goes into which bin because universally and industry specific, there are many kinds of waste segregation. For our day to day use, let us make an effort to understand dry and wet waste, a basic segregation.
Wet waste also called as organic waste is any component or element that can decompose itself into manure either naturally or by human intervention.
In wet waste, generally we have all the kitchen waste or biodegradable waste like fruits peels and seeds, vegetables peels, coffee or tea powder, leftover food/ stale food, fish scales and fish waste, meat and bones, coconut shells, tender coconut shells, rotten eggs, egg shells, left over milk products, spoiled pulses, unused cooked food and so on. Along with kitchen waste there is also the garden waste that is considered as wet waste. For example: flowers, twigs, leaves (both fresh and dry) fruits and berries, trimmed lawn, seeds, grass, weeds and more. Even though they all are not wet but considered as wet waste because they are biodegradable.
Thus wet waste is typically the organic waste and it is heavy in weight due to dampness. Hence wet waste is all the waste that can be organically decomposable.
Wet waste is usually placed in a green bin and is collected on a daily basis and efforts are to see that wet waste goes back to earth in one form or the other, and is not harmful to nature.
On the other hand dry waste is any waste that can be recycled. It is that waste which is non-living and was never alive. Dry waste is anything that if kept for an extended period would not decompose on its own.
The few elements that can be segregated as dry waste are papers of all kinds, plastics, metals, glass, wood, rubber, thermocal, fabrics, leather, rexine, wires, aluminium foils and much more.
The common dry wastes found at the household levels are paper towels, drinking straws, hair, tyres, tin cans, food boxes, plastic containers, tickets, bills, paper cups and plates, cardboard cartons, cake boxes and cake bases, tetra packs, clips, shoes, packets of milk, curds and grocery packages and many disposable items. However a need is there to clean and dry every packet before disposal.
Along with common dry waste, there can be a separation of some elements that are considered as dry waste and are termed as rubbish or debris. They are dust, broken glasses, broken cutlery or crockery (to be wrapped in newspapers), damaged taps, drain silt, ashes, broken bricks, mortar, construction waste, demolition waste and others.
The common colour bin used for dry waste is blue. In the household even if the same colour bin is not kept it would not much be a matter of concern, but segregating waste into wet and dry is a must. A sincere effort by everyone will yield great results for individuals and for the society.
There is a wave of creating eco bricks using the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles. These eco bricks can be used in construction and other allied industries. To create eco bricks, PET bottles are completely filled with plastic covers, chips packets, sand, soil, mud or any non-organic material. This could help curb the excess dumping of used plastic bottles. Wakefulness in this direction too could help us do our part in conserving and cleaning our beautiful planet.
Now the question comes where we can place the disposable diapers of kids or the soiled sanitary napkins used by women or the elderly. They are dry before use and become wet after use. So are the sanitary used napkins a dry waste or wet waste?
The same question arises with condoms, bandages or any material contaminated with blood. All the above waste is not dry waste nor wet waste. It belongs to another category of waste called the sanitary waste or bio hazard waste.
This waste must be kept separate and disposed every day along with the wet waste but must be separately wrapped, preferably in newspapers. At the Corporation level this waste is burnt in the insinuator and is one best way to manage such waste.
It is also interesting to note that if clothes are soiled with body fluids then that too becomes sanitary waste.
Another component of waste that needs our attention is the HHW i.e. Household Hazardous Waste. This waste cannot be recycled by us but needs special attention is disposing it. If we become careless in treating the household hazardous waste, it will lead to devastating impacts on the environment and ruin natural resources.
The items that could be placed in HHW bracket are tube lights and bulbs, batteries, cleaning agents, e-wastes, computer parts, mobiles, chargers, pesticides, rat poison, garden pesticides, insecticides, cosmetics, paints, oils, hair spray cans, room deodorizers, weed killers, medicines, syringes, thermometers and much more. The bin used for such waste is red and for electronic waste is yellow or black in colour.
Nature too produces natural waste. It is that waste produced by processes in the environment. Classic examples are dead plants, dead animals and dead human beings too. But nature has a way to decompose them all. Only man made waste particularly the dry wastes bio hazard wastes and household hazardous wastes are not biodegradable. This means if that waste is to be managed human intervention is must. Hence we must put our might to reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and also rethink on our waste disposal strategies and work on managing waste.
On the National highway 66 is the beautiful Netravati Bridge built over Netravati River which has the old and the new bridge, both functional and they connect the city of Mangalore to its southern suburbs.
As a life saving measure the construction of fence, a fencing barrier is partially in place and the work is still in progress. What disturbs more is the inhumane act of individuals throwing piles and piles of waste in such beautiful water body. Individually we are all responsible to see such act does not occur.
Let not the CC cameras and artificial intelligence control our behaviour. We must get the point right that throwing waste without managing it is wrong and we all are accountable.
Hence, let us handle waste wisely. Let us contribute to the beauty of our place and give a clean planet to our future generations. If not now, it will be too late and there would be a point of no return. Let us memorize, waste is wealth when managed well.