Global Waste Management Issues

Published: 27th October 2009
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Waste management and disposal issues are not just problem of a certain country or a continent. It is a global issue which should be addressed immediately. Countries and governments are expressing concern over problems with their waste disposal. According to the United Nations, there are about 60% of countries worldwide expressed their concern about disposing solid wastes and other environmental concerns in the 1992 Earth Summit.

Waste management is important since it has a major impact of human and community health. There could be chemical spills which could pose danger to water supplies. Poor landfills and incinerators could release cancerous carcinogen in the air and other pollutants. They could also be causes of pests, vermin, flies and other similar carriers of communicable diseases.

People would often associate that implementing waste management plans and policies is about protecting human health and the environment. Other than that, waste disposal could also have an impact on different environmental aspects such as climate change. Waste disposal can also be attributed in producing more greenhouse gases that makes the Earth's climate warmer. Landfills in Asia, Latin America and Africa are to blame for about 40 % of methane emissions every year. That 40 % is equal to about 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Experts approximate that developed and industrialized nations produce more waste compared to developing countries. In the United States, each American will produce an average of .75 tons of trash every year. Those in Europe are estimated to accumulate almost half a ton of trash annually. In Asia, an average person would produce .2 tons of trash annually.

Although, Asia has the lowest waste average, it does not mean that they have better waste management system. There are studies and surveys conducted in Asia about waste disposal procedure. According to World Bank, China's whopping 190 million tons of waste every year is not totally properly disposed. Only less than 50 % of China's solid waste are treated properly, whether it is through landfill or incineration. China is not alone. Other Asian countries, like India, Indonesia and the Philippines also have poor waste disposal methods.

Regardless of territories and boundaries, pollution affects everybody. Environmental problems in Asia could still affect North America, Europe and Africa. This is why there are efforts among different countries in helping each other resolve environmental and waste problems.

An example would be the efforts between European and Asian countries. Europe is leading in environmental technologies, about 60 % of environmental discoveries and technologies came from them. They would play a major role in helping Asian countries become aware of different environmental damage happening in their nations. Asian countries mostly would have to deal with issues of water and air pollution, waste management for both households and industries, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

Countries, like the United States and Canada, are encouraging more individuals to go back to the basics of waste reduction: reduce, reuse and recycle. The government are passing laws, state regulations about trash disposal that would help homeowners to start smart and proper waste management at home.

Environmental issues are not just an issue of a specified country. We should be more away that by starting waste management in our homes, workplace or school, we get to reduce the impact of pollution and climate change.

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