The issue of Waste Management is relevant to everyone. Wastes are substances that have no further economic use, and if disposed of in land, water, or air are potentially harmful to humans and/or the environment. Wastes include a solid waste (litter, household garbage, industrial & commercial wastes), liquid wastes (sewage, stormwater), and air pollutants (greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide). Much of the waste created by humans cannot be naturally recycled & most of it is not managed sustainably. Most wastes take a long time to break down – plastic bags take up to 20 years, and cigarette butts take 1-5.
Continuing to dump wastes in the manner we are using now is something, which is ecologically unstable and must be dealt with.
The first and most obvious geographical process that relates to household waste management is the creation of that original waste through human activities such as packaging, product usage, the consumption of fuel, and physical human waste.
Each individual contributes huge amounts of waste, making Australia the second highest waste-producing nation in the world.
Another process involved with household waste management is the collection and organization of the waste. Regarding general household waste, local councils usually have a weekly collection system for each household, and recyclables are often collected separately from general waste. These items, such as containers and paper, are recycled, which is much more helpful for the environment.
Liquid waste from homes is organized by a sewerage system.
The last main process related to this issue is the disposal of that waste. The general household waste, which will take a long time to break down, is sent to landfill sites or sometimes burned. The liquid waste runs to a treatment plant and is then dumped back into our water system. However, an issue here is that sometimes the chemicals in the rubbish may pollute the water system or leak through the ground to the water table. Also, when rubbish is burned, dangerous chemicals can escape into the atmosphere. This is why waste must be managed carefully.
One main group involved in this issue is the New South Wales Government, which is the body in charge of waste management in New South Wales. The government can affect waste management by creating new laws and concepts for manufacturers or even consumers. For example, a recent bill that is being considered is the idea that all shopping centers charge for each plastic bag, to encourage the use of environment-friendly, reusable bags for shopping. The state government is also trying to encourage producers to use environmentally friendly materials for packaging and consumers into environmentally friendly attitudes.
Another group previously mentioned that is involved are the local governments, which manage household waste on a small scale. Their organization of the rubbish can change waste management by whether or not they provide recyclable bins and their environmental campaigns.
Also, an often forgotten group that is related to this issue is the local communities of the landfill or proposed landfill sites. These communities may often be staunchly opposed to a landfill site, knowing the problem sit can cause, or may want better management of the waste to not affect their environment.
The last group involved the individual citizen, which means everyone else. However, while many people may not care about the effect their rubbish is having on the environment, every citizen should consider the role that we play in our environment and take the easy steps to help with waste management. This includes actions like volunteering on Clean Up Australia Day, putting rubbish in the bin, recycling or reusing everything possible, and taking cloth bags to the supermarket to reduce packaging.
The main decision involved with waste management revolves around the question “What do we do with waste?’ In the past, much waste has been dumped on land (lithosphere) in landfill sites, in water (hydrosphere) in the form of chemicals or sewage, and the air (atmosphere) in the form of gases and pollutants. This dumping of waste cannot continue, as it is ecologically unsustainable. Governments have urged states and local councils to find alternatives and to reduce the amount of waste to be dumped, which brings about the second question, ‘How do we reduce the amount of waste we need to dump?
The federal government has enacted legislation to reduce industrial waste by inflicting fines as well as to reduce pollutants in the air that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, but there are no legislations that apply to restrictions on household outward waste. However, state governments (eg NSW) encourage manufacturers to reduce waste and reuse and reduce packaging, increasing the charge to dump waste and promoting awareness by educating citizens. In schools, children are educated about the hazards of waste dumping in the environment. Local councils have initiated recycling programs in the hopes of less waste. Strategies created by states or councils have been put to action to encourage individuals to buy goods with less packaging, recycle, and not pollute. For instance, in many areas, waste bin sizes have been reduced and recycling bins enlarged. Individual groups have formed promotions to push for consumer liability for their waste output.
This encouragement from the government and councils and a general boost of awareness of the issue has convinced numerous individuals to cut down on household waste, thus contributing to a slight improvement in the issue. Individuals can decide to improve the issue by making an effort to reduce waste from their homes and recycling. Through this, the state of the environment can improve and the human impact is lessened.
Arguably, not enough is being done to enforce waste disposal is done in an environmentally friendly method and that there are certain restrictions on the amount of waste that is dumped. The strategies put forward are all seemingly too dependent upon the responsibility of the consumer and individual to “do the right thing”.
There is general equality among people about the issue of Waste Management because all people (in each council area) have the same Waste Management program. People in areas where there are waste disposal facilities & dumping sites feel that there is inequality, however, these dumping sites cause several problems for them, including lowering of land value, something which people living elsewhere do not have to combat. Environmental groups often feel that waste is not being disposed of in an environmentally sound manner (eg, the belief that waste should not be left in landfills), and is being produced too quickly. Despite these views about Waste Management impacting people’s social and ethical boundaries, Waste Management as an issue, and the decisions often related to it has relatively few social or ethical implications.