Solid Waste Management and Climate Change

Did you know that the solid waste present in our garbage bins can also add up to the emission of greenhouse gases? The co-relation between solid waste management and climate change has raised serious concerns across the world. Sites where solid waste is disposed, produces methane, one of the most dangerous greenhouses gases. These disposal sites contribute to the yearly greenhouse gas emission by approximately 3-4%. Climate change experts have predicted that in the coming years, there are chances of the emission increasing at a more alarming rate.

Management of solid waste is becoming a serious environmental challenge since there is lack of awareness among people. Heaped garbage bins overflowing with solid waste is becoming a very common sight in communities all over the world. The stench coming from these bins maybe a problem for all of us but have we ever thought how we also play an important role in the creation of it? In the US, the government has embarked various voluntary measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gas emission; however, a lot still needs to be done in order to manage municipal solid waste. Experts are of view that communities should seek support to capture the emission of harmful gases such as methane and CO2 which is the result of solid waste decomposition.

Solid waste management effects on the emission of gases vary to a great extent. For instance, plastic items that we dispose do not degrade in such landfills. However, in burning, fossil C present in plastics produces CO2 after getting oxidized. On the other hand, fossil C is not produced by burning food items and paper but these items get degraded anaerobically and yield GHG. The present need is to encourage communities on a local level to try and segregate garbage and manage organic waste on their own. The Environmental Protection Agency in the US has come up with the integrated solid waste management approach within which Americans are being encouraged to reuse and reduce as far as possible.