Ragpickers: Recycling and School Essay

Ragpickers: Recycling and School Essay.

A.What is ragpicking?

India’s booming urbanization brings the problem of waste management. As more people are migrating towards the cities, the amount of waste is increasing at a high pace and waste management is likely to become a critical issue in the coming years. Ragpickers play an important, but usually unrecognised role in the waste management system of Indian cities. They collect garbage in search of recyclable items that can be sold to scrap merchant (paper, plastic, tin…) This activity require no skills and is a source of income for a growing number of urban poors.

There are two types of scrap-collectors: the ragpickers, mostly women, who collect garbage on dumping grounds, in residential areas or in street bins, and the itinerant buyers who purchase scrap directly from households, offices and shops. Most of the itinerant buyers are male and they typically require a certain amount of capital to purchase scrap. The informal waste sector

Most of the ragpickers are not independent but work for middlemen or contractors who purchase segregated rag from them on pre-decided rates.

Waste picking is rarely recognized or integrated in the official Waste Management System despite its large contribution to it. According to the NGO Chintan, ragpickers “are unrecognized and have almost no rights to work, despite the fact that they save almost 14% of the municipal budget annually. In Delhi, the army of almost 80,000 estimated wastepickers save the city at least Rs. 6 lakh daily through their work.”

B.Who are the ragpickers?

In India, over a million people find livelihood opportunities through waste picking. Chintan’s research shows that “as many as one in a hundred persons in a large city in India could be employed in waste recycling, starting from waste picking to operating small junk shops and even operating reprocessing factories. Of these, most are marginalized wastepickers and small waste dealers.” Ragpickers are mostly women who come from the most marginalised groups of the population and often live in unauthorised slums in the poorest neighbourhood.

Studies also show that ragpickers are most of the time migrants who had fled their city or village because of hard living conditions. The vast majority of the ragpickers are Dalits or belong to minorities (muslims in Kolkatta). In UP, Assamese and the Biharis have by and large dominated the profession in the last two decades. The fact that they are migrants and often seen as temporary residents can explain why few governments have designed policies to improve their situation. Most of them don’t have identity cards or birth certificate and therefore don’t have access to basic governmental facilities (social assistance, enrolment of their children in municipal schools…)

C.Some improvements in their work conditions

Many NGOs are supporting the ragpickers to gain access to these basic services (health care, health insurance, education and vocational training). They also provide legal support or counselling sessions and help them form unions to speak up for their rights. In some cities, their work has been partly recognized and their situation thus improved. In Pune for example, thanks to the scrap-collectors union, the municipal corporation now issues identity cards to ragpickers and offers a limited health insurance plan, recognising their contribution to recycling waste in the city This acknowledgement can have a positive impact on reducing child labour by increasing the parent’s income therefore reducing their dependence on the money their children earn.

II.Child labour and ragpicking
A.Background of the child ragpickers

Many children begin working as ragpickers at the young age of five or six years. In Lucknow, the majority of the ragpickers are between 8 and 10 years old. Most of them never attend school and don’t have any formal education. Their families are generally in need of extra incomes from their children. There are two categories of child ragpickers: the street pickers, who collect garbage in street bins or residential areas, and dump pickers who work on dumping grounds.

These two categories of children do not have the same living conditions and characteristics. Street pickers, mostly boys, share many characteristics with other street children: they are extremely mobile and it’s therefore difficult to gain access to them. What they usually need is a shelter or reintegration with their families. In most cases, the children work for a middleman who takes the major share of the sales and pays only a small amount to the children. On the other hand, the dump pickers often live with their families, in a relatively more stable environment.

They usually work with their parents in or around the dumping ground. Girls were traditionally more involved in ragpicking than boys, but a survey in Pune shows that the trends are changing and that more boys are now engaged in the trade. Adolescent girls are less involved in ragpicking because it is believed to be unsafe for them to be out on the street. They are involved in taking care of the house chores and help in sorting the collected garbage from home. Some of the child ragpickers go to school and work the other part of the day or during holidays. Some girls are found working as ragpickers in the morning, sometimes attending school in the afternoon and coming back home in the evening to help their mother with the household chores or to care for their younger siblings.

B.State of the legislation

In 2001, waste-picking was included among the hazardous occupations banned under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. But apart from this very brief mention, ragpicking is ignored in legislation regarding child labour. Contrary to most child labourers, ragpickers are self-employed or working with their parents and therefore not answerable to any employer.

III. Impact of ragpicking on the life of children
A.Health issues

1.Long working hours

Normally children work in one shift only but some of the children are collecting rag two to three times in a day. Those who are involved in collection of empty bottles work late in the night. In Lucknow, younger children, especially girls, start their work early in the morning and till 12-1pm. Teen age boys start working around 8-9 am till 2-3 pm. Case Study – Lucknow Fazila, 11 years old, has 3 brothers. Her father died some year back and her mother is weak and gets sick very often. She and her 12-year-old brother are the two most responsible person of the family. Fazila’s day begins early morning, she cooks rice, prepare tea and goes with his brother to Dalibagh, Hazratganj and Lalbagh for rag picking.

She returns home when sun is high in the sky. After taking bath and meal she looks after her younger brother. Around 3 pm she starts second round of rag picking and comes back around 7 PM. She cooks the evening meal and does other house hold work. She dreams to become teacher but hardly find any time to go to school. She wants to play with the doll, which she found during her daily rag collection. She is growing up and has lots of questions but no one to answer them. She dreams of collecting lots of money and going back to Assam and think of the days when no one forced her for rag picking and she would play with dolls and friends.

2.Hazardous work conditions

Ragpicking is probably one of the most dangerous and dehumanizing activity in India. Child ragpickers are working in filthy environments, surrounded by crows or dogs under any weather conditions and have to search through hazardous waste without gloves or shoes. They often eat the filthy food remnants they find in the garbage bins or in the dumping ground. Using the dumping ground as a playing field the children run the risk to come upon needles, syringes, used condoms, saline bottles, soiled gloves and other hospital wastes as well as ample of plastic and iron items. They suffer from many diseases, such as respiratory problems, worms, anaemia, fever and other problems which include cuts, rashes, dog bites…

B.Education issues

A large majority of the child ragpickers are out of school children, despite the presence of schools in their neighbourhood.

But rag picking and 12 to 13 hours In Lucknow for example, 98% children of the school going of working is reality and she has to age group are not going to school. work hard for supporting her family. In the M-East ward of Mumbai, there are 15 municipal schools but the number of out of school children is yet very high. Most of the children are withdrawn from school at the average age of 12-13 years. The boys often work in their parents’ business while the girls are made to take up the household responsibility.

Different reason can explain why the children are not going to school. The following table gives details about the situation in Lucknow: 79% children are out of school because neither their parents nor the contractor [for whom they are working] are interested in sending them to school. Moreover, many children are already making quite a lot of money by ragpicking and don’t see the point of going to school. 12% say that they are responsible for their family and have to work. 5% children left school because they do not found anything interesting in the school and they feel that teachers are not teaching properly and they cannot afford private school fees. 4% of the children are not going to school because their school hours didn’t allow them to go to work.

Language is also a big barrier, as migrant children often don’t speak the language of the city they work in. In a study conducted in Pune, migration, quality of school, corporal punishment in school, not interesting, failed more than twice in the class, bad health, economic hardship of the family, loss of a parent are some of the reasons also cited for school dropouts.

IV.Pratham’s intervention: the case of Govandi (Mumbai)

A.Situation in Govandi

According to the SSA Survey Data 2004, 60% of working and out of school children are in the M/E ward of Mumbai city. The M/E ward is divided broadly into two main slum communities – Bainganwadi and Shivaji nagar. These are like any other slum communities. There is a gathering of closely built homes, unmaintained roads, overflowing drains, freely roaming cattle and groups of people chatting at each corner. The approximate population in these communities is around 5 lakhs and majority of the population are followers of Islam. Another main characteristic of this community (though negative) is its closeness to Mumbai’s largest dumping ground – The Deonar Dumping Ground.

Mumbai generates waste of approximately 7,025 tonnes per day. The management of waste in the city comes under the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The prevailing approach is that of collection of garbage from the communities by the municipal authorities and disposing it off at the three main dumping sites that are currently servicing the city. Deonar is the largest dumping ground in Mumbai. It starts from the Deonar creek and ends at Baba Nagar.

This dumping ground area has added on to the developmental and infrastructural issues faced in M/E. For years Deonar has been the largest garbage bin for the entire Mumbai city and today is also is a home for thousands of migrants who live in very hard conditions, lacking even the most basic amenities and earning their living on the dumping ground. In July 2008, Pratham conducted a survey in and around the dumping ground to assess the situation of the children living there.

There are approximately 1300 children living in and around the dumping ground today on a regular basis. All of them are living with their families and have either migrated or been displaced from other parts of Mumbai. 636 are working as ragpickers, of which half are going to school. The majority of the children earn up to 100 rupees a day while 2 or 3 of them are making as much as 800 rupees a day. (476 earn 100 or less than 100 rupees a day, 111 earn between 100 and 400 rupees a day and 5 earn 400 rupees or more) The objective of Pratham’s intervention is to provide educational opportunities to child ragpickers, as well as relief from their routine work in a safe, caring environment and to generate their interest in school-related activities.

B.Educational classes

There have been joint initiatives with the Government so as to tackle the issue of child rag pickers. One of the major programs through which these children are covered is the Transitional Education Centres (TEC’s) run under the INDUS program of the Government. There are 11 TEC’s surrounding the dumping ground in Govandi reaching about 450 children, many of which work part time as rag pickers.

C.Vocational skill training

The objective of the vocational training is to provide vulnerable children with employable or business skills and allow them to be able to survive / support themselves and their families after reaching an employable age. Pratham offers vocational training or refer children to other organizations that provide training. Two vocational skill training classes are organized for adolescent girls and provide them with basic life skills such as mehendi or tailoring.

D.Mainstreaming these children into school

In December 2006 Hindustan Lever Limited adopted 45 children from Govandi area under their Scholarship drive to support the education of underprivileged children. Under this project the company is sponsoring their school education as well as a support class run by Pratham. Pratham’s teachers relentlessly worked to convince the parents to send their children to school and to Pratham’s support classes. They organized parents meetings, counselling sessions and home visits to tell them about the importance of education.

Many parents argued that sending their children to school was a loss of revenue but the teachers gave them advice on how to manage without their children’s additional revenue. Slowly the parents began taking an interest in their children’s education and supporting Pratham’s initiative. Pratham started with a four-hour class aimed at raising the children’s interest for educational activities. Once the children and the parents were ready, they contacted the school and managed to enrol the children. The support class was set up to provide the child with educational support for retention in school.

E.The Drop-in-centre model

Alongside its education program, Pratham also started the first drop in centre for the children working on the dumping ground. The Drop in centre is the major strategy and a non controversial entry point program to tackle the issue of working children on the dumping ground. It is a low cost and replicable model which caters to the immediate needs of the working children on the dumping ground. This safe point of contact for children is key to their reintegration into education and vocational training, and a first step toward a better future.

1.What is a Drop In Centre

A place within the radius of 1 km of the workplace wherein the children working on the dumping ground (who do not have a fixed routine or schedule) can drop in between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm. It would be a place which would cater to the child’s recreational needs and the need

Ragpickers: Recycling and School Essay

How Does Recycling Effect the Environment Essay

How Does Recycling Effect the Environment Essay.

Why Is Recycling Important, you may ask. Recycling is reusing materials in original or changed forms rather than discarding them as wastes. In reusing material or changing material into new materials rather than throwing it away the environment as well as we benefit from it. The process of recycling protects the environment. With the world witnessing a global environmental decline, this is considered as one of the most important benefits of recycling. As we, all know that paper is manufactured from trees.

As the demand for paper increases, a number of trees are being cut to produce paper. By recycling paper, we can prevent the destruction of forests. Today, a number of forests are being destroyed to meet the ever-increasing demand of paper.

Recycling a ton of mixed paper or newspaper is equivalent to saving 12 trees. Given that the trees keep the surrounding environment clean by sucking up carbon dioxide from the air we breathe, it would be wise to use recycled paper as much as possible.

Most people would agree that recycling not only affects the environment but it also makes the world a better place for plants and animals. For example, recycling paper products can in the end, preserve a large number of trees that otherwise be used to make new paper. This is one way that recycling directly affects the environment. Trees provide homes for birds and other animals, they provide shade for what would otherwise be a hot and dry land, and they are crucial to the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in our atmosphere. Recycling can definitely have a positive effect on our world. Paper is not the only item that should be recycled.

Glass bottles and plastic containers have become a problem for cities and private companies who operate landfills. The sheer numbers of containers thrown away take up a lot of landfill space, which puts companies and municipalities in the position of having to take up more land for another landfill area. Several decades ago, activists who demonstrated against large companies and their waste products used the phrase, “There is no away!” What this meant was that we could not really get rid of anything. We can only change its shape and form. Recycling is a way to make this change so that it clutters and pollutes less. Recycling also takes used materials from “trash” to usable products if handled properly.

Scientists and social activists have also pointed out that making new products from recycled materials means less manufacturing. With the correct methods, we can have a comfortable, convenient life without the pollution and massive use of natural resources that manufacturing brings. Reducing the number of landfills might mean a healthier food chain for both humans and animals. When we place materials in landfills and they do not break down over time, we are creating a potentially dangerous situation. The chemicals used in manufacturing many modern-day products can filter into the soil, pollution the water and any plants that grow on or near that area.

This is especially true with computer parts, batteries and other items that contain certain chemicals. Recycling used products is one of the best ways to save the environment. It is important to recycle, to avoid environmental harm. Used plastic bottles, glass, and newspapers can be effectively recycled to make useful items. In the long stretch of time, recycling affects the planet positively because we will use less of our natural resources – trees, water, minerals etc. When it comes to the environment, using less means we have more.

You may also be interested in the following: explain how the recycling of atp helped save

How Does Recycling Effect the Environment Essay

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle Essay

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle Essay.

The best place to start going Green is to practice the 3R’s (Reuse, Reduce and Recycle) at home. 3R’s is most effective when practiced at the one place where we spend the most time be it at home or in the office or school.


– Plastic bags are not bio-degradable. Reuse until cannot be used any longer – Glass bottles can be washed and used for drinking water or storing other liquids. (Ensure the previous liquids stored are not hazardous before re-using the bottles).

Hazardous materials such as glues, corrosive agents and poisons should be sent to a disposal centre to be handled properly. -Old newspapers. They are handy for various things. Use them for wrapping things, litter-lining for pets, protective layers for tables and flooring and even to wipe windows among this un-exhaustive list. Best part of it is, it still can be recycled after being reused.

– Rags from old clothes.
– And many more things…
– If you can’t reuse them and they are in decent or good condition, don’t forget to consider donating it to charity.


Best way to reduce wastages is to just reduce usage. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Excessive materials or items such as food, appliances, and consumables may end up going into the trash as they may not be fully utilized or have expired.

Excessive use of resources are also damaging to the environment. Energy resources are not unlimited and will eventually run out (with current technology in place). So, turn off appliances when not in use, turn off lights when leaving the room and do not waste water. These are among the things you can do to help save the world.

Reduce does not only mean reducing the use of a resource. You can also opt to reduce use of hazardous chemicals or materials with an impact on the environment by replacing it with something else that is better or greener. I would think this can be considered reducing too.

Items commonly recycled

Plastics, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, scrap metal, old appliances, wood

1. Sort items into their respective types (paper, plastic, glass, organic and such). Sorting them may increase the value of the material recycled and you may get a higher return for your trip to the recycling center 2. Identify with what the nearby recycling centres will take and will not. Find other ways of disposing those materials that they do not take. 3. Clean items before sending them for recycling. Containers such as milk cartons, food packaging and tin cans should be cleaned and washed before sent to recycling centers to help reduce propagation of bacteria and assist in the control of diseases and health related issues.

3Rs – Never ending circle
The best way to practice 3Rs is to keep doing it. Repeat the process of Reducing, Reuse and when no longer possible, recycle. Every step we take gets us closer to a better world.

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle Essay

Implementation of no plastic policy Essay

Implementation of no plastic policy Essay.

The researcher has chosen the topic “The Implementation of Plastic Bag Ban in Some Municipalities in the Philippines” because it is related to her chosen program, Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. As a Chemical Engineering student, she must study the chemical processes and even changes that are taking place in the environment. This topic is related in a way that the environment and the manufacturing of plastics are concerned. As seen in the Television News and articles in the newspapers, floods caused by super typhoons have really killed thousands of people.

Climate change is the primary cause of this dilemma but this was aggravated by the problems of indisposed garbage that are seen everywhere.

Environmentalists are blaming the uncontrollable use of plastics and with that, several local government units implemented the plastic bag ban in their municipalities. In other words, banning plastics is their last solution to this problem. Many disagree with its implementation especially the Plastic Manufacturing Companies and its unions because of their own concerns.

Nevertheless, they were not able to stop the banning; instead more municipalities are encouraged to do the said banning.

In this research paper, she wants to prove that banning plastics is an effective solution to the destruction of the environment. She believes that the existing laws on waste management are not enough to solve the problem that’s why the banning of plastics is implemented.

She feels that she would have benefits and advantages for the research study because this will add more knowledge and information that is helpful in preparation for her future career. She also feels that this research study can answer the present problems of the society.

Review of Related Literature

The article “Campaign vs garbage pushed” stated that piles of trash can be found everywhere-plastics, discarded and rotten fruits and vegetables fruit
peelings, candy wrappers, and the like. Moreover, the Ecowaste Coalition which is a waste and pollution watchdog observed the environmental problems there.

It’s also stated that Manny Calonzo, president of Ecowaste Coalition, said that they find plastic bags galore in Divisoria and the piles of mostly plastic rubbish along Recto Avenue and adjacent streets very disturbing. He added that assistance can be offered by conducting community service in the place. The spirit of volunteerism is important in doing this. (2011)

Ma. Ceres P. Doyo reported in her article “Major major: Death by Plastic” that environmental, health and justice advocates trooped to the Senate to press the lawmakers to pass a law to control the reckless use and disposal of plastic bags and to “tame the plastic monster”. The event coincided with the joint hearing called by the senate committee on trade and commerce, chaired by Sen. Manny Villar, and the committee on environmental and natural resources, chaired by Sen.

Juan Miguel Zubiri, to discuss bills filed by Sen. Loren Legarda, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Villar on plastic bags. Legarda’s SB 1368 is “an act providing for a proactive approach in recycling plastic bags in stores and other retail outlets.” SB 1543 is “an act regulating the use of plastic grocery bags.” Villar’s SB 1103 is “an act promoting sound waste management by requiring all department stores, malls and commercial establishments to utilize reusable environment-friendly shopping bags and provide them free of charge to customers and patron, and for other purposes.” (2010)

Statement of the problem

The researcher attempts to answer the following questions in the research study:

1. What are plastics?

2. What is the purpose of implementing the Plastic Bag Ban in some municipalities in the Philippines?

3. What are the rules contained in this policy?

4. How did the Filipinos respond to the banning of plastics?

5. What are its effects?

6. What are the conclusive findings the researcher gathered in the study?

Thesis Statement

The “Plastic Bag Ban” is an effective solution to the destruction of our environment.

The researcher believes that this policy implemented by several Local Government Units (LGUs) provides the following benefits:

1. It can solve the problem on uncontrollable increase of plastic wastes in the esteros, drainages, bodies of water, and landfills. 2. This policy could promote alternative packaging like woven bags (bayong). 3. People will be more disciplined.

Implementation of no plastic policy Essay

Hazardous Substances and Hazardous Waste Essay

Hazardous Substances and Hazardous Waste Essay.

1: Hazardous Substances and Hazardous Waste

Chemicals affect our everyday lives. They are used to produce almost everything we use, from paper and plastics to medicines and food to gasoline, steel, and electronic equipment. More than 70,000 chemicals are used regularly around the world. Some occur naturally in the earth or atmosphere, others are synthetic, or human-made. When we use and dispose of them properly, they may enhance our quality of life. But when we use or dispose of them improperly, they can have harmful effects on humans, plants, and animals.

What is hazardous waste?

Even when used properly, many chemicals can still harm human health and the environment. When these hazardous substances are thrown away, they become hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is most often a by-product of a manufacturing process – material left after products are made. Some hazardous wastes come from our homes: our garbage can include such hazardous wastes as old batteries, bug spray cans, and paint thinner. Regardless of the source, unless we dispose of hazardous waste properly, it can create health risks for people and damage the environment.

What kinds of hazardous waste are there?

Most hazardous waste is identified by one or more of its dangerous properties or characteristics: corrosive, ignitable, reactive, or toxic. Corrosive – A corrosive material can wear away (corrode) or destroy a substance. For example, most acids are corrosives that can eat through metal, burn skin on contact, and give off vapors that burn the eyes. Ignitable – An ignitable material can burst into flames easily. It poses a fire hazard; can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs; and may give off harmful vapors. Gasoline, paint, and furniture polish are ignitable. Reactive – A reactive material can explode or create poisonous gas when combined with other chemicals. For example, chlorine bleach and ammonia are reactive and create a poisonous gas when they come into contact with each other. Toxic – Toxic materials or substances can poison people and other life. Toxic substances can cause illness and even death if swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Pesticides, weed killers, and many household cleaners are toxic.

Where does hazardous waste go?

Ideally, hazardous waste is reused or recycled. If this is not possible, hazardous waste is safely contained while it is stored, transported, and properly disposed of to prevent an accidental release into the environment. Advances in technology have greatly improved our ability to treat or dispose of hazardous waste in a way that prevents it from harming people or the environment. Typical methods of hazardous waste storage and disposal include surface impoundments (storing it in lined ponds), high temperature incineration (controlled burning), municipal and hazardous waste landfills (burying it in the ground), and deep well injection (pumping it into underground wells). More promising methods focus on minimizing waste, reusing and recycling chemicals, finding less hazardous alternatives, and using innovative treatment technologies.

What are the dangers of hazardous waste management?

Proper management and control can greatly reduce the dangers of hazardous waste. There are many rules for managing hazardous waste and preventing releases into the environment. Even so, a lot can go wrong when we try to contain hazardous waste. Even the most technologically advanced landfills we build will leak some day. Tanks used for storing petroleum products and other chemicals can leak and catch fire; underground storage tanks weaken over time and leak their hazardous contents. Transportation accidents, such as train crashes and overturned trucks, can occur while transporting hazardous substances. There are also cases of intentional and illegal dumping of hazardous waste in sewer systems, abandoned warehouses, or ditches in remote areas to avoid the costs and rules of safe disposal.

How can hazardous waste affect us?

When hazardous wastes are released in the air, water, or on the land they can spread, contaminating even more of the environment and posing greater threats to our health. For example, when rain falls on soil at a waste site, it can carry hazardous waste deeper into the ground and the underlying groundwater. If a very small amount of a hazardous substance is released, it may become diluted to the point where it will not cause injury. A hazardous substance can cause injury or death to a person, plant, or animal if:

A large amount is released at one time
A small amount is released many times at the same place
The substance does not become diluted
The substance is very toxic (for example, arsenic).
Coming into contact with a substance is called an exposure. The effects of exposure depend on: How the substance is used and disposed of
Who is exposed to it
The concentration, or dose, of exposure
How someone is exposed
How long or how often someone is exposed.

Humans, plants, and animals can be exposed to hazardous substances through inhalation, ingestion, or dermal exposure. Inhalation – we can breathe vapors from hazardous liquids or even from contaminated water while taking a shower. Ingestion – we can eat fish, fruits and vegetables, or meat that has been contaminated through exposure to hazardous substances. Also, small children often eat soil or household materials that may be contaminated, such as paint chips containing lead. Probably the most common type of exposure is drinking contaminated water. Dermal exposure – a substance can come into direct contact with and be absorbed by our skin. Exposures can be either acute or chronic. An acute exposure is a single exposure to a hazardous substance for a short time.

Health symptoms may appear immediately after exposure; for example, the death of a fly when covered with bug spray or a burn on your arm when exposed to a strong acid such as from a leaking battery. Chronic exposure occurs over a much longer period of time, usually with repeated exposures in smaller amounts. For example, people who lived near Love Canal, a leaking hazardous waste dump, did not notice the health effects of their chronic exposure for several years.

Chronic health effects are typically illnesses or injuries that take a long time to develop, such as cancer, liver failure, or slowed growth and development. One reason chronic exposure to even tiny amounts of hazardous substances can lead to harm is bioaccumulation. Some substances are absorbed and stay in our bodies rather than being excreted. They accumulate and cause harm over time. Solid Waste and Emergency Response Home | Superfund Home | Innovative Technologies Home Area Navigation

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Hazardous wastes are poisonous byproducts of manufacturing, farming, city septic systems, construction, automotive garages, laboratories, hospitals, and other industries. The waste may be liquid, solid, or sludge and contain chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, dangerous pathogens, or other toxins. Even households generate hazardous waste from items such as batteries, used computer equipment, and leftover paints or pesticides. The waste can harm humans, animals, and plants if they encounter these toxins buried in the ground, in stream runoff, in groundwater that supplies drinking water, or in floodwaters, as happened after Hurricane Katrina. Some toxins, such as mercury, persist in the environment and accumulate. Humans or animals often absorb them when they eat fish. The rules surrounding hazardous waste are overseen in the U.S. by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as state departments of environmental protection.

EPA requires that hazardous waste be handled with special precautions and be disposed of in designated facilities located throughout the United States, which charge for their services. Many towns have special collection days for household hazardous waste. A common hazardous waste facility is one that stores the waste in sealed containers in the ground. Less toxic waste that is unlikely to migrate, like soil with lead, is sometimes allowed to remain in place under the ground and then be sealed with a cap of hard clay. Communities may eventually decide to use these sites for golf courses or parks, or to label them “brownfields” sites, suitable for commercial or industrial uses. Violations, like dumping hazardous waste in town dumps to avoid paying the fees charged by waste transporters and waste facilities, may result in hefty fines.

EPA began regulating hazardous waste in 1976. Many toxic waste dumps that pose a threat to communities today are holdovers from the era prior to 1976. Other waste sites are the result of more recent illegal dumping. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulates how hazardous waste must be handled and stored. It also lists some but not all of the wastes that EPA considers hazardous. Substances that are not on the list but are toxic are also considered hazardous waste and subject to EPA’s rules. The Superfund Act contains rules about cleaning up hazardous waste that was dumped illegally.

Communities and environmentalists have long complained about lax enforcement of hazardous waste regulations, both by the federal government and state governments. Meanwhile, many corporations argue the regulations are too strict and lobby Congress to soften or remove certain rules. One EPA rule that has proved very controversial governs industrial sludge. EPA allows sludge containing heavy metals to be included in fertilizers that are used by farmers on food crops or sold directly to the public. Environmental and other organizations say dangerous levels of the metals are taken up by some plants and subsequently eaten by people, with particularly negative effects on children.

hazardous-waste management, the collection, treatment, and disposal of waste material that, when improperly handled, can cause substantial harm to human health and safety or to the environment. Hazardous wastes can take the form of solids, liquids, sludges, or contained gases, and they are generated primarily by chemical production, manufacturing, and other industrial activities. They may cause damage during inadequate storage, transportation, treatment, or disposal operations. Improper hazardous-waste storage or disposal frequently contaminates surface and groundwater supplies. People living in homes built near old and abandoned waste disposal sites may be in a particularly vulnerable position. In an effort to remedy existing problems and to prevent future harm from hazardous wastes, governments closely regulate the practice of hazardous-waste management. Hazardous-waste characteristics

Hazardous wastes are classified on the basis of their biological, chemical, and physical properties. These properties generate materials that are either toxic, reactive, ignitable, corrosive, infectious, or radioactive. Toxic wastes are poisons, even in very small or trace amounts. They may have acute effects, causing death or violent illness, or they may have chronic effects, slowly causing irreparable harm. Some are carcinogenic, causing cancer after
many years of exposure. Others are mutagenic, causing major biological changes in the offspring of exposed humans and wildlife. Reactive wastes are chemically unstable and react violently with air or water. They cause explosions or form toxic vapours. Ignitable wastes burn at relatively low temperatures and may cause an immediate fire hazard. Corrosive wastes include strong acidic or alkaline substances.

They destroy solid material and living tissue upon contact, by chemical reaction. Infectious wastes include used bandages, hypodermic needles, and other materials from hospitals or biological research facilities. Radioactive wastes emit ionizing energy that can harm living organisms. Because some radioactive materials can persist in the environment for many thousands of years before fully decaying, there is much concern over the control of these wastes. However, the handling and disposal of radioactive material is not a responsibility of local municipal government. Because of the scope and complexity of the problem, the management of radioactive waste—particularly nuclear fission waste—is usually considered an engineering task separate from other forms of hazardous-waste management and is discussed in the article nuclear reactor.

Transport of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste generated at a particular site often requires transport to an approved treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF). Because of potential threats to public safety and the environment, transport is given special attention by governmental agencies. In addition to the occasional accidental spill, hazardous waste has, in the past, been intentionally spilled or abandoned at random locations in a practice known as “midnight dumping.” This practice has been greatly curtailed by the enactment of laws that require proper labeling, transport, and tracking of all hazardous wastes.

Transport vehicles

Hazardous waste is generally transported by truck over public highways. Only a very small amount is transported by rail, and almost none is moved by air or inland waterway. Highway shipment is the most common because road vehicles can gain access to most industrial sites and approved TSDFs. Railroad trains require expensive siding facilities and are suitable only for very large waste shipments. Hazardous wastes can be shipped in tank trucks made of steel or aluminum alloy, with capacities up to about 34,000 litres (9,000 gallons). They also can be containerized and shipped in 200-litre (55-gallon) drums. Specifications and standards for cargo tank trucks and shipping containers are included in governmental regulations.

The manifest system

In the United States a key feature of regulations pertaining to waste transport is the “cradle-to-grave” manifest system, which monitors the journey of hazardous waste from its point of origin to the point of final disposal. The manifest system helps to eliminate the problem of midnight dumping. It also provides a means for determining the type and quantity of hazardous waste being generated, as well as the recommended emergency procedures in case of an accidental spill. A manifest is a record-keeping document that must be prepared by the generator of the hazardous waste, such as a chemical manufacturer. The generator has primary responsibility for the ultimate disposal of the waste and must give the manifest, along with the waste itself, to a licensed waste transporter.

A copy of the manifest must be delivered by the transporter to the recipient of the waste at an authorized TSDF. Each time the waste changes hands, a copy of the manifest must be signed. Copies of the manifest are kept by each party involved, and additional copies are sent to appropriate environmental agencies. In the event of a leak or accidental spill of hazardous waste during its transport, the transporter must take immediate and appropriate actions, including notifying local authorities of the discharge. An area may have to be diked to contain the wastes, and efforts must be undertaken to remove the wastes and reduce environmental or public health hazards.

Treatment, storage, and disposal

Several options are available for hazardous-waste management. The most desirable is to reduce the quantity of waste at its source or to recycle the materials for some other productive use. Nevertheless, while reduction and recycling are desirable options, they are not regarded as the final remedy to the problem of hazardous-waste disposal. There will always be a need for treatment and for storage or disposal of some amount of hazardous waste.


Hazardous waste can be treated by chemical, thermal, biological, and physical methods. Chemical methods include ion exchange, precipitation, oxidation and reduction, and neutralization. Among thermal methods is high-temperature incineration, which not only can detoxify certain organic wastes but also can destroy them. Special types of thermal equipment are used for burning waste in either solid, liquid, or sludge form. These include the fluidized-bed incinerator, multiple-hearth furnace, rotary kiln, and liquid-injection incinerator. One problem posed by hazardous-waste incineration is the potential for air pollution. Biological treatment of certain organic wastes, such as those from the petroleum industry, is also an option. One method used to treat hazardous waste biologically is called landfarming.

In this technique the waste is carefully mixed with surface soil on a suitable tract of land. Microbes that can metabolize the waste may be added, along with nutrients. In some cases a genetically engineered species of bacteria is used. Food or forage crops are not grown on the same site. Microbes can also be used for stabilizing hazardous wastes on previously contaminated sites; in that case the process is called bioremediation. The chemical, thermal, and biological treatment methods outlined above change the molecular form of the waste material.

Physical treatment, on the other hand, concentrates, solidifies, or reduces the volume of the waste. Physical processes include evaporation, sedimentation, flotation, and filtration. Yet another process is solidification, which is achieved by encapsulating the waste in concrete, asphalt, or plastic. Encapsulation produces a solid mass of material that is resistant to leaching. Waste can also be mixed with lime, fly ash, and water to form a solid, cementlike product.

Surface storage and land disposal

Hazardous wastes that are not destroyed by incineration or other chemical processes need to be disposed of properly. For most such wastes, land disposal is the ultimate destination, although it is not an attractive practice, because of the inherent environmental risks involved. Two basic methods of land disposal include landfilling and underground injection. Prior to land disposal, surface storage or containment systems are often employed as a temporary method. Temporary on-site waste storage facilities include open waste piles and ponds or lagoons. New waste piles must be carefully constructed over an impervious base and must comply with regulatory requirements similar to those for landfills. The piles must be protected from wind dispersion or erosion. If leachate is generated, monitoring and control systems must be provided.

Only noncontainerized solid, nonflowing waste material can be stored in a new waste pile, and the material must be landfilled when the size of the pile becomes unmanageable. A common type of temporary storage impoundment for hazardous liquid waste is an open pit or holding pond, called a lagoon. New lagoons must be lined with impervious clay soils and flexible membrane liners in order to protect groundwater. Leachate collection systems must be installed between the liners, and groundwater monitoring wells are required.

Except for some sedimentation, evaporation of volatile organics, and possibly some surface aeration, open lagoons provide no treatment of the waste. Accumulated sludge must be removed periodically and subjected to further handling as a hazardous waste. Many older, unlined waste piles and lagoons are located above aquifers used for public water supply, thus posing significant risks to public health and environmental quality. A large number of these old sites have been identified and scheduled for cleanup, or remediation.

Secure landfills

Landfilling of hazardous solid or containerized waste is regulated more stringently than landfilling of municipal solid waste. Hazardous wastes must be deposited in so-called secure landfills, which provide at least 3 metres (10 feet) of separation between the bottom of the landfill and the underlying bedrock or groundwater table. A secure hazardous-waste landfill must have two impermeable liners and leachate collection systems. The double leachate collection system consists of a network of perforated pipes placed above each liner. The upper system prevents the accumulation of leachate trapped in the fill, and the lower serves as a backup. Collected leachate is pumped to a treatment plant. In order to reduce the amount of leachate in the fill and minimize the potential for environmental damage, an impermeable cap or cover is placed over a finished landfill.

A groundwater monitoring system that includes a series of deep wells drilled in and around the site is also required. The wells allow a routine program of sampling and testing to detect any leaks or groundwater contamination. If a leak does occur, the wells can be pumped to intercept the polluted water and bring it to the surface for treatment. One option for the disposal of liquid hazardous waste is deep-well injection, a procedure that involves pumping liquid waste through a steel casing into a porous layer of limestone or sandstone. High pressures are applied to force the liquid into the pores and fissures of the rock, where it is to be permanently stored. The injection zone must lie below a layer of impervious rock or clay, and it may extend more than 0.8 km (0.5 mile) below the surface. Deep-well injection is relatively inexpensive and requires little or no pretreatment of the waste, but it poses a danger of leaking hazardous waste and eventually polluting subsurface water supplies.

Remedial action

Disposal of hazardous waste in unlined pits, ponds, or lagoons poses a threat to human health and environmental quality. Many such uncontrolled disposal sites were used in the past and have been abandoned. Depending on a determination of the level of risk, it may be necessary to remediate those sites. In some cases, the risk may require emergency action. In other instances, engineering studies may be required to assess the situation thoroughly before remedial action is undertaken. One option for remediation is to completely remove all the waste material from the site and transport it to another location for treatment and proper disposal. This so-called off-site solution is usually the most expensive option. An alternative is on-site remediation, which reduces the production of leachate and lessens the chance of groundwater contamination.

On-site remediation may include temporary removal of the hazardous waste, construction of a secure landfill on the same site, and proper replacement of the waste. It may also include treatment of any contaminated soil or groundwater. Treated soil may be replaced on-site and treated groundwater returned to the aquifer by deep-well injection. A less costly alternative is full containment of the waste. This is done by placing an impermeable cover over the hazardous-waste site and by blocking the lateral flow of groundwater with subsurface cutoff walls. It is possible to use cutoff walls for this purpose when there is a natural layer of impervious soil or rock below the site.

The walls are constructed around the perimeter of the site, deep enough to penetrate to the impervious layer. They can be excavated as trenches around the site without moving or disturbing the waste material. The trenches are filled with a bentonite clay slurry to prevent their collapse during construction, and they are backfilled with a mixture of soil and cement that solidifies to form an impermeable barrier. Cutoff walls thus serve as vertical barriers to the flow of water, and the impervious layer serves as a barrier at the bottom.

Hazardous Substances and Hazardous Waste Essay

Urbanization: Problems and Solutions Essay

Urbanization: Problems and Solutions Essay.

With reference to examples, assess the degree the economic development of a country affects planning and management in urban areas (40) The planning and management of urban areas covers several different issues present in all areas such as waste, sustainability and transport. These issues come about as a result of urbanisation which originates from an increase in economic development. However certain issues will be more prevalent in certain areas of more or less economic development than others. When planning and managing different schemes, sustainability is often something that will be a large focus.

Sustainable living can be defined as being able to provide for the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. As a country develops economically there is a net influx of people moving from rural areas to urban areas, a process known as urbanisation. The scale of this can be shown through the way that the population of those living in urban areas overtook that of those living in rural areas in 2011.

As the population of a place increases problems such as overpopulation and traffic congestion will occur.

Generally however, the issues facing MICs and LICs will differ from those in HICs. For example in MICs there are schemes such as Indonesia’s Transmigration scheme or China’s One Child Policy and the formation of slums in Rio de Janeiro whereas in HICs there are ageing populations such as those in the UK or France. Indonesia’s Transmigration programme involved moving 20 million people from overcrowded islands such as Java to some underpopulated places such as Sumatra. However though the scheme could be seen as a failure as in 1980 it was inhabited by 62% of the country’s population despite only constituting 7% of the country’s landmass. The scheme also caused other problems such as conflicts between the indigenous populations of different islands and those coming from Java, an issue known as Javanization.

This issue however is something only especially relevant to Indonesia as a result of the makeup of its landmass; as a result of being made up of numerous islands there are different cultural identities and often clash with those from Java. This method of planning and management could be said to be specific to Indonesia and ignores the degree of economic development of the country, however it could be said that this issue of overpopulation only occur in MICs or LICs and so is affected by the level of economic development. This contrasts with Rio de Janeiro, where the surplus of residents led to the creation of slums. Ultimately however, there was little government intervention as over 300 of these areas were colonised by drug gangs who acted as the pseudo-government. This is not the case for all slums, for instance Dharavi, which is located next to Mumbai’s financial district and so is a target for government intervention and large scale redevelopment.

This show’s that different governments will manage things in different ways in reaction to their individual situations and individual governments. Generally the issue of slums will not come about in HICs and so it could be said that the degree of economic development is a factor affecting planning and management as a result of different issues arising for different countries. Another issue which varies between different countries of varying levels of economic development is transport. Generally as levels of economic development augment, more and more people are attracted to the agglomeration to work there and so there are more people on the roads. This is notable in places such as Bangkok, Thailand, where the population has grown from around 6 million in 2000 to just under 10 million in 2010.

This has however led to congestion, accidents and poor air quality. In the process of dealing with these issues, Bangkok’s Mass Transit Authority attempted to manage issues through the expansion of the public transport however this stagnated following the military coup of 2006. Nevertheless, this is similar to the management of transport within other MICs such as Curitiba in Brazil and is also similar with HICs such as London. In Curitiba, other schemes such as the Green Exchange where people exchange recyclable waste for bus tickets, encourage the use of the Bus Rapid Transit. In addition to this, the structure of Curitiba’s roads also encourages the use of public transport with the central roads being reserved for buses. This is shown to be effective through Curitiba’s low levels of pollution compared to other parts of Brazil despite being heavily involved in the manufacturing industry.

London has similar schemes such as the Boris Bike and congestion charging schemes, encouraging the reduced use of cars and also the introduction of the Oyster Card, making public transport more convenient. This suggests that the economic development of a country does not necessarily affect the management and planning in urban areas as countries in varying levels of development use similar tactics in managing this issue. Also something that all of these schemes encourage is the conservation of energy and so adds to the sustainability of them. It is also clear that similar to waste, there is a common theme of sustainability running through the plans of a country and so to some degree, the degree of economic development does not affect the planning and management of urban areas. The management of waste is essential for the maintenance of sustainable living and so requires careful planning.

In regards to economic development, there is a correlation with the amount of waste generated; as prosperity increases, more people live there, leading to the consumption of more goods, energy, food and transport, overall leading to the generation of more waste. This is notable in the UK, where London’s financial core has grown it into the 4th largest urban economy in the world and simultaneously it also contains the highest landfill usage in Europe, suggesting that economic development leads to larger quantities of waste and so requires a larger degree of management and planning in order to deal with it. This can be shown through a report in 2010 from Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, which outlines plans to turn London into a zero-waste-to-landfill city by 2025. He aims to increase the level of household recycling and composting rates to 60% by 2031 from 25% in 2010.

Despite these plans for the future, London’s current management of waste could be said to be unsustainable. According to the Local Government Association in July 2010, the country will run out of landfill sites by 2018 unless new ones are found; therefore the UK’s management of waste is unsustainable. However recently as the issue of sustainability has become more prominent, the UK’s management and planning has moved in the direction of sustainability. This contrasts with the waste management of Curitiba, a planned city in a less economically developed country than the UK, which has a recycle rate of 66%. This suggests that as a country becomes more economically developed, the sustainability of its management of waste reduces. In Curitiba there is a ‘Green Exchange’ programme where residents exchange recyclable garbage for food and bus tickets. This allows for 300 tonnes of garbage to be recycled per month.

This can be linked to the way that more economically developed countries produce more waste and so it is much more difficult to manage the waste. In addition to this Curitiba, as a planned city, would of had this method of waste management planned during its conception whereas London has been around for almost two thousand years and so its waste management would not of been planned, so it could be said the situation of a location will affect the planning of waste. When considering that Curitiba is a planned city, something important to remember is that Brazil is run by a central left wing party and so it might be possible to suggest that the views of those in charge will affect how things are done.

Therefore there may be a correlation between that of economic development and the sustainability of planning and management of waste however it is also important to consider the circumstances of different places and that also the economic development does not affect the aims of the planning schemes as they are ultimately strive for sustainability. Overall to conclude it is possible to say that the level of economic development does have some effect on the urban planning and management in a country. Planning and management are necessary in all areas of economic development and different areas will have different issues that need to be managed than others depending on their level of economic development.

However overall all countries generally have sustainability on the agenda which would lead to one to think that the economic development of a country might not necessarily impact its management and planning as they are all aiming for the same thing. Nevertheless the planning and management of an area will more be affected by their circumstances as different issues will require different schemes and each nation will also have different barriers for them to work around. Therefore the economic development of a country will affect the management of issues to a certain extent but moreover the circumstances of the matter have more of an impact on the way things are planned and managed.

Urbanization: Problems and Solutions Essay

Robert Gray’s poem, “Flames and Dangling Wire” Essay

Robert Gray’s poem, “Flames and Dangling Wire” Essay.

How does Robert gray enable the reader to shape the speakers discovery and it’s concequences in “Flames and Dangling wire”?.

The impact of a discovery can be far reaching and transformative for an individual and a broader society. As conveyed in Robert Gray’s poem, “Flames and Dangling Wire”, the audience is invited to discover both the grim experiences at a rubbish dump and in turn uncover the frightful vision of carelessness and environmental degradation in our world. From stanza one, we as an audience are presented with an the visual imagery of an ever burning rubbish dump.

As a society, we are lead to believe that harsh environmental impacts are out of our reach, due to the far distance between us and the problem. From this oblivious mindset, we are often provoked to ignore the negative connotations, that we as humans are having on our earth, from simply being swept up in a daze of ignorance.

From stanza one, we are introduced to see our world through a different perspective.

We are placed mid action, in a scene where the protagonist is driving to a rubbish dump from the concrete jungle city. The protagonist is in turn, travelling from the familiar into the unfamiliar over the metaphorical border, which in turn enables him to rediscover and discover aspects of himself and in turn his surroundings. From stanza one, we are presented with an image of the distance between the rubbish dump always burning and the city, “driven like stakes into the earth..behind us”. This portraying that our waste is not in foreign locations, but in turn closer than we ever dare thought, like a predator slowly crawling towards its prey. In stanza 2, we are confronted with visual imagery of “Fog over the hot sun”.

Unclear, and unable to see our true source of light, Gray references both our destruction of natural elements in life and in turn the suspension in horror films, where the moon is blanketed by a heap of clouds, to allow the true monsters to come out in the dark of night. In this situation, we are the “shadowy figures”, however we are not only out in the dark but also during the day. Further on in stanza 3 of the 7 line stanza, Gray introduces us to a hellish imagery. “Forking over rubbish on the dampened fires”, we as an audience are immediately engaged, due to the rubbish personifying us as people, being thrown into the fires by our own enemy “The devil”.

Robert Gray’s poem, “Flames and Dangling Wire” Essay

Litter Essay Essay

Litter Essay Essay.

Does littering irritate you, just as much as it irritates me? Well, it should. Litter irritates everyone. Littering has been around us for centuries and in fact ever since human life came to this world. Littering destroys the beauty of nature of the outdoors. It makes the area look dirty and bad.

Litter just doesn’t appear. It is the result of careless attitudes and improper waste handling. Often people are too lazy to dump their belongings in the trashcans, leaving them the only option to dump it anywhere.

Litter Essay

Some people, however, may not even know they are littering. Other causes of litter might include inconvenient garbage bin placement or a lack of garbage bin in an area that is frequented by people.

Littering has increased since 21st century, and the things people litter the most are: cigarette ends, boxes, wrappers, matches, lighters, ring pulls, straws, sweet wrappers including crisp bags, pizza boxes, chip wrappers, plastic cutlery, sandwich boxes, paper bags and other discarded food.

Additionally, some senseless people also litter food items such as chewing gum and banana skins. Dog fouling is also litter, although it is not actually defined as litter, as it is not caused by people. However, it is the responsibility of dog owners to clean after their dogs foul.

Litter creates a variety of problems. It causes great harm to wildlife. In animals such as birds plastic can cause them to choke when they mistake it for food. Littering can be hazardous to one’s health as well. Trash in an area attracts vermin and bacteria. Broken glass and other sharp objects also cause harm to people when left in public places. And most importantly, no one would like gum on their shoe, when walking on streets.

Littering not only harms our health, but it cost money by preventing communities to attract more business and tourists. It also hurts our communities in ways of the house market by causing owners to lose money. Besides, littering also costs our cities money when in return, these money could be used for more important things. According to Falkirk Council in the United Kingdom, it costs them somewhere around £3 million a year to clean up the mess caused by littering.

There are many ways that we could come up with to stop people from littering. The first way to slow down people from littering is by putting up cameras in places that are being littered in the most. These cameras need to be mobile so that they can be moved around to the places that are being hit the hardest. Another easy and cheap way to stop litter is to pick it up! Not only does this help people, but it also helps plants and animals. You shouldn’t be lazy! If a trashcan is nearby, get your careless butt off the couch, and throw the trash away! To reduce litter even further, take part in community cleanups. The only hard part about this reduction is that if you pick up some litter one day, there might be more the next day! This could be positive though, because picking up litter frequently is a good exercise.

When we throw things out that could have been reused or recycled, it just makes it harder for the earth to stay a healthy place. In order to have clean and healthy environment we need to recycle our waste or use reusable things. For example, instead of throwing plastic and waste paper on the ground, we could just dump it in a bin, so that it can be recycled or when we go to a store, we could carry our own bags, in order to avoid the use of plastic bags provided by the store. When we think of nature, we think of it as beautiful and clean. This is not what is seen today. There is trash everywhere: in streets, on sidewalks and other places where it should not be. Littering effects everyone and everyone litters, so why do we do it? The causes of littering are very simple and easy to establish, while the effects of littering are complex and difficult to deal. So we should put an end to this, so that we can have a better and healthy future.

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Litter Essay Essay