In recent times, reducing waste has become the main agenda of government, NGOs, and volunteers. They propagate this through posters and advertisements sometimes people get irritated and uncomfortable as no one likes forceful treatment. But, have you ever thought, what the Earth must be going through when you treat it the way it must never be treated? If some good suggestions can annoy you, give a thought about how the earth should react? And it does react, sometimes through nature’s disastrous floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. She throws back to us whatever we donate her, best examples are ocean disasters.
Waste is nothing but remnants of our used stuff. It can be vegetables, electronic devices, clothes, things of daily use etc. When the purpose is fulfilled, they are considered as waste. But, people are practicing reusing them by repurposing their utility since old times e.g. vegetable waste is used as fertilizer, clothes are used to sew bags and covers, etc. But, nowadays, due to progressive thinking, the concept of repurposing has changed. Also, the industrialization has led in easy availability of their demands.
The “Use and throw” concept of plastics has changed the mindset and added to heaps and piles of wastes. The plastic waste remains on the planet for several years. It takes hundreds to thousands of years to degrade plastic depending on the polymer it is made of! One may think of burning it up to solve the waste problem, but burning produces harmful gases that affect our environment.
Thus, currently waste management has become a major concern. We have already crossed our limits of being bad habitats on the planet and on the peak of destroying the planet. Therefore, waste management in large scale needs to be applied. This can be done through the 5Rs, i.e., refuse, reduce, recycle, repurpose and reuse. Also, we can follow our ancestors. Like in old times, people used to use biodegradable stuff from natural resources or metals. This could be reused and waste was minimal. They practiced burning remaining waste on a regular basis. People in villages still use things for multiple purposes, one after another; a policy every citizen of today must adopt.
Constantly increasing world population is creating a huge amount of waste. this waste ends up in landfills, but can be re-purposed. Likewise, the UK was the first country to introduce the law for waste management. They started waste management in 1846, due to health issues associated with waste lying near the civil area. After this, the concept of dust-bin arrived which has become invisible but essential part of our life.
The Indian government, and many NGOs and other organizations along with private companies have taken an appreciable step towards green India. States like Maharashtra has banned plastic bags. A number of universities worldwide, and autonomous colleges like IITs in India have opened courses on Plastic Waste Management, and Solid Waste Management for all. Also, alternatives to plastics are being heavily researched.
It is time to think before we act because there is no second earth. Therefore, a stitch in time saves nine should be the current mantra where we manage the waste to save our planet.
Edited by: Anomitra Dey