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Waste accumulation and water pollution have become increasingly pressing environmental issues in today’s world. As human populations continue to grow and industries expand, the generation of waste has reached unprecedented levels. Unfortunately, inadequate waste management practices and the improper disposal of waste have resulted in significant water pollution, posing serious threats to ecosystems and human health.
The accumulation of waste is the most prominent kind of pollution. Domestic, commercial, industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste are the most common types of trash. Agriculture and the food processing industries are reported to be the two major contributors to total annual solid waste generation. Waste accumulation has a significant social and economic impact on the environment. It is the fundamental source of all significant difficulties, including health, the domain, cleanliness, etc. The Health Hazards of Waste Accumulation and Water Pollution harm everyone, from humans to wildlife.
Water pollution happens when the abovementioned waste enters the water, altering its quality and causing harm to the environment and human health. Water is a vital natural resource used for drinking and other developmental functions in our daily lives. All across the world, safe drinking water is essential for human health. Water, as a universal solvent, is a crucial cause of infection.
According to the WHO, 80% of all diseases are waterborne illnesses. Various countries’ drinking water needs to satisfy WHO criteria. 3.1% of deaths are caused by unsanitary and poor-quality water.
Water pollution is caused mainly by releasing domestic and industrial effluent wastes, leakage from water tanks, marine dumping, radioactive waste, and atmospheric deposition. Heavy metals and industrial waste can build in lakes and rivers, threatening humans and wildlife. Industrial waste toxins are the leading cause of immunological suppression, reproductive failure, and severe poisoning.
Infectious disorders such as cholera, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, vomiting, skin, and renal problems are spreading due to dirty water. The direct damage to plants and animal nutrition impacts human health. Water pollution is harming seaweeds, molluscs, marine birds, fish, crabs, and other sea animals that humans eat. The concentration of insecticides, such as DDT, is rising in the food chain.
There is an urgent need to manage waste appropriately. As a result, public understanding of waste’s health risks is critical. Undoubtedly, garbage disposal has grown into a large sector that employs thousands of people. Still, the possibilities for removal are relatively small and limited, with the main disposal sites being land, water, or air. The ‘3-R’ approach, which stands for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling, is one of the most basic waste management methods.
Waste accumulation is the most apparent kind of pollution. Humans generate billions of metric tonnes of solid trash each year. Domestic, commercial, industrial, municipal, and agricultural garbage are the primary sources of waste. Agriculture and the food processing industry significantly contribute to the annual solid waste output.
Because of garbage accumulation on land and water bodies, several diseases have developed epidemically. These infections are spread by vectors such as flies, mosquitoes, rodents, and pets. The garbage serves as a breeding habitat for these vectors. Consequently, there is an urgent need to manage trash disposal effectively.
Eutrophication is the process through which aquatic bodies lose oxygen naturally or due to human activity. Eutrophication occurs due to entering nutrients and chemicals into the environment by discharging home sewage, industrial effluents, and fertilizers from agricultural areas into the water bodies.
Waste that is not adequately managed poses a significant health risk. Unattended trash thrown in the open attracts flies, rodents, and other critters that act as disease vectors and carry them to humans. Waste placed near a water source percolates through the earth and contaminates the water.
Waste accumulation can have severe consequences for freshwater and marine aquatic life. Pesticides that flow off agricultural areas and industrial and domestic wastes that are inappropriately disposed of into water bodies are the two types of garbage that do the most harm to aquatic life. Toxins in these wastes can kill marine life directly by changing the pH of the water, coating the water surface, and reducing dissolved oxygen.
In its purest form, water is not tainted by human intervention. Water pollution is caused by industrialization and urbanization in the following ways: Organic materials in sewage cannot be degraded. Furthermore, harmful agents are present in sewage; toxic substances in industrial and commercial waste include metal salts and complex synthetic organic compounds; fertilizers and pesticides produce pollutants.
Diseases related to polluted water include respiratory disease, cancer, diarrheal disease, neurological dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease. Nitrogenous substances cause cancer and blue baby syndrome. Cancer mortality rates are more significant in rural locations than urban ones because urban residents drink treated water. Still, rural residents cannot access treated water and must rely on unprocessed water. Poor people are more vulnerable to disease due to poor sanitation, hygiene, and water supply. Contaminated water significantly impacts pregnant women exposed to chemicals; it increases the rate of low birth weight, affecting fetal health.
Poor water quality reduces crop output and infects our food, posing a risk to aquatic and human life. Pollutants disrupt the food chain, and heavy metals, particularly iron, impact fish’s respiratory systems. An iron clog in fish gills harms fish, and when humans consume these fish, it causes serious health problems. Water tainted with metal causes hair loss, liver cirrhosis, renal failure, and neurological disorders.
Waste Accumulation and Water Pollution are one of the most difficult problems confronting the planet, posing worldwide environmental challenges. Contaminated waste goods (e.g., plastic, paper, diapers, medical waste, waste biomass, and industrial byproducts) are challenging to recycle and reuse. As a result, we have an urgent need to cope with the massive garbage accumulation. Simultaneously, we have a fantastic business opportunity to turn garbage into usable, sustainable products. Traditional gasification, steam gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion are examples of effective waste conversion technologies that can be used to support the circular economy.
Proper trash disposal procedures must be used to guarantee that it does not harm the environment or pose health risks to the people who live in the region. At the household level, adequate waste segregation is required, and it should be assured that all organic matter is set aside for composting, which is, without a doubt, the best option for the proper disposal of this segment of trash. The organic component of garbage decomposes more quickly, attracts insects, and causes disease. Compostable organic waste can be utilized as fertilizer. Sustainable waste management must become an intrinsic aspect of urban growth. As a result of a mix of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste processing, we may have a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for trash disposal, clean energy production, and sustainable product regeneration.
Also Read: Water Neutrality: How Can It Be Achieved?