Garbage pollution is a HUGE global problem. We produce so many products and throw out so much every day that garbage and waste disposal is turning into a major ecological nightmare.
In India segregation of certain types of garbage has been routine. Items like newspapers, used bottles, magazines, old exercise books and oil cans etc have been kept aside and sold to local collectors or kabadiwalas for centuries. Not only was garbage sold but we even used to exchange old utensils for clothes. So we were very environmentally friendly at one point. This is not so today. We waste a lot and throw away huge amounts of material that sits in a landfill and pollutes the soil and everything else.
The time to take this very seriously has arrived. With global warming and decay of natural habitats, there is absolutely no time to waste.
Garbage pollution consists of many things. Certain items are not biodegradable (they do not decompose easily ie Plastics) but can be reused or recycled. In fact, it is believed that a large portion of the garbage we create can be recycled. Some can be converted to compost, a large portion can be recycled while a small portion could be considered non recyclable and put into a land fill.
There are primarily 4 categories of waste:
- Wet and dry waste, which should be disposed of separately.
- Toxic wastes such as medicines, batteries, dried paint, old bulbs, and dried shoe polish which needs special care when we dispose of them.
- Wet or organic waste, which consists of leftover foodstuff, vegetable peels, etc., should be put in a compost pit and the compost could be used as manure in the garden.
- Dry waste consisting of cans, aluminum foils, plastics, metal, glass, and paper could be recycled (Recycled Game).
The world over, governments, local bodies and citizens are taking separating garbage very seriously and there are multiple programs that recycle and reuse. This is the only way forward. In India, we are not as aggressive about this and continue to just dump here, there and everywhere.
You can make a difference and dispose waste responsibly!
- Form a green committee of the children in your neighbourhood. Send a notice to all the residences asking them to segregate garbage into dry and wet.
- Or bio-degradable and non-bio degradable.
- Take a trip in your neighbourhood and see where all does your waste end up. Sides of the street, Open garbage dumps. You will be surprised.
- Encourage your parents to buy two separate bins for dry and wet garbage. You can colour code it green for dry and blue for wet. Like this it will be easier to segregate the garbage to be handed over to your garbage collector.
- Ask your community to purchase different colour garbage bins like the ones featured above and then encourage your neighbours to segregate garbage.
Start a compost pile. Here’s how:
- Set a commercial or homemade composter on the ground in an easily accessible place. For a simple and inexpensive open bin, make a circle about 3 or 4 feet in diameter out of 3-to-4-foot-high welded wire or plastic garden fencing.
- Add ingredients. Place a 4 inch layer of stemmy plants, sticks, or other coarse material in the bottom of the bin. As they become available, add kitchen wastes, dead plants, grass clippings and chopped leaves to the bin. Add water as often as needed to keep the material moist but not soggy (like a wrung-out sponge).
- Turning the pile is helpful but optional. If you choose to turn, lift off the composter or bin and set it next to the pile. Then use a pitchfork to move the pile back into the composter.
- The compost is ready to use when you can no longer recognize the original ingredients. Until you use it in your garden, keep your finished compost covered to prevent rain from leaching out nutrients.