Waste disposal has become like the proverbial one-eyed monster that continues to bedevil and threatens to maraud us of our priciest possession - our health.
The earth and its natural processes of growth, regeneration and sustenance of all living matter are considered to be a delicate system. Its sustenance and continued function is the collaborative responsibility of all and sundry.
However, this tiny rock we call earth is bedeviled with severe environmental issues facing it.
As a result of mostly human devices, mother earth has depleted causing the species that inhabit it to suffer.
The earth as we know it is made up of four major components: Air, Water, Soil and rocks.
Since humans, plants and animals all rely predominantly on water and air for their survival, the issues of contaminating the earth seems to be a very serious problem which needs to be looked into.
According to freedictionary, waste disposal is the removing and destroying or storing damaged, used or other unwanted domestic, agricultural or industrial products and substances.
Disposal includes burning, burial at landfill sites or at sea, and recycling.
In Nigeria, managing waste disposal has become a major concern despite several attempts by successive governments and even private organisations in that direction.
That is why it is common to see heaps of festering waste dumps in almost every nooks and cranny of the country.
These heaps of refuse could be found in apartments, highways, markets, streets; also some underdeveloped plot of lands have been turned to dumping sites for many household.
To give a little historical narrative, in ancient cities, wastes were thrown onto unpaved streets and roadways, where they were left to accumulate. It was in Athens around 320 B.C that the first known law forbidding this practice was established.
At that time, a system for waste removal was introduced in Greece and into other dominated cities of Greek.
In Rome, property owners were responsible for cleaning the streets fronting their property, also an organised waste collection was associated only with state sponsored events like parade.
Disposal methods were crude involving open pits located just outside the city walls. As populations increased efforts were made to transport waste farther from the cities.
See below some of the factors responsible for poor waste disposal management:
Lack of adequate funding by the government:
This is as a result of lack of adequate funding by government to provide the much needed equipment and facilities needed for the eradication of this wastes which serve as a threat to human life.
When the population of any municipal is more than the existing facilities, there is bound to be struggles with waste management.
Human resources is the total number of able and capable working population who are skilled enough to carry out their organization responsibilities.
Therefore, a dearth in workers skilled in the management of waste could portend grave environmental consequences.
Wrong attitude of the public towards waste disposal:
This is as a result of individuals, especially residents of a community not adhering to laid down regulations regarding dumping of their waste.
The effects of improper waste disposal cannot be overlooked as it has proven to have more dangerous consequences on human health.
Recent studies conducted have shown that out of the millions of tonnes of waste generated in Nigeria annually, a large percentage of this waste is not properly disposed.
Unfortunately, this practice has been identified as one of the main causes of pollution and it is becoming a growing concern for both government and environmentalists as it poses serious threats to health.
One of the effects of improper waste disposal is contamination of water. This can have adverse effect on human health as research has proven for it to be the cause of several diseases leading to death in some cases.
For instance when water is contaminated with foreign substance its chemical composition changes which makes it harmful to use causing diseases like cholera, dysentery etc.
Another effect of improper waste disposal is soil contamination which occurs when hazardous chemicals come in contact with the soil. These chemicals are absorbed by plants which are later utilized by other organisms including humans which can cause several health challenges.
Improper waste disposal can also interfere with supply as plant growth is impaired reducing the amount of food produced.
The society can become healthy for us to live in if only we take care of our environment properly and this can be achieved by ensuring that refuse are disposed properly and far away from the environment we live in so as to avoid contamination of all kinds of disease.
Culled from The Nation Newspaper