One of the ways we can get connected to nature is through clean and healthy environment. A clean and healthy environment attracts humans as it helps to improves health and aesthetics. It refreshes and even generates income through tourism. But when the environment is continuously polluted and abused and with waste indiscriminately disposed off, it encourages spread of diseases, destabilizes the ecosystem and repels people.
The world environmental day is here again. It should be a time to reflect on our activities on the environment for the past one year. Has your activities promoted environmental protection and safety or polluted it? How have you be disposing your waste? Do you have a place in mind this period to visit that we make you feel connected to NATURE?
Pollution of the environment is one of the biggest problems of the world today. It involves the release of any substances to the environment in quantities that is capable of making the environment unfit for habitation. Pollution degrades the environment and reduces its quality including the quality of life in it.
According to joint group of expert on the scientific aspect of marine pollution (GESAMP), Pollution is the introduction by man, directly or indirectly of substances or energy into an environment resulting in such deleterious effects as harm to living resource, hazard to human health, hindrances, to marine activities including fishing, impairing of quality for use of sea water and reduction of amenities.(GESAMP,1980). These substances release to the environment that causes pollution are known as pollutants. Examples of pollutants can be crude oil, gases, chemicals, particulate, garbage/ wastes etc.
In the Niger Delta region and the nation at large, environmental degradation as a result of increased rate of indiscriminate waste disposal and its detrimental consequences to the environment and human health is a great concern that call for all government and private organization’s immediate attention especially in this present health challenges in some part of the country as a result of Lassa fever, a rat borne disease and other diseases resulting from environmental pollution.
Unregulated growth of urban areas and inadequate infrastructural facilities for collection, transporting, treating and disposal of waste have all contributed to increase in pollution and ecological degradation in the region. Indiscriminate waste disposal are known to block water drainages thereby leading to flooding a situation that can cause damages to house and property, ill health and even death. Waste flushed to the stream affect the color, odour and the general water quality of the stream where most of the people get their water from and thereby exposing them to health hazard by water borne disease and others.
The problem of growing domestic waste disposal in most developing countries is getting to a threatening level. According to Abdullahi et al., (2014), the domestic waste disposal problems in Nigeria is typified by overflowing dustbins, mountains of open refuse dumps at virtually every street corners with their attendant problems (especially where burning also occurs) and the existence of improperly operated open landfill which are often rodent infested with potentials for surface and ground water pollution.
In most designated waste dump, there are always over flow of waste, some becoming mountains. When you go through some if not most of the city of this country Nigeria; the markets places, the streets, roads, the drains, schools etc you will see waste littered around, some are heaped while others are now mountains and many indiscriminately disposed due to lack of quick response on the part of the government agency concerned to get rid of them as at when due.
Waste is mostly a product of man’s activities resulting from industrial and domestic consumption of resources. It could be an unofficial measure of prosperity because it is only those that have enough that have left over or waste. Generally waste can be referred to as anything which has no immediate value to the generator but requiring disposal. It is any unavoidable materials resulting from activities, which has no immediate economic demand and which must be dispose of.
We have three (3) basic forms of waste: Solid, liquid and gaseous
Solid waste includes most of the waste you generate from homes (kitchens) and markets e.g: paper, plantain skin, vegetable peels etc, broken brick, wood, pure water bags/sachets, casings, broken glass and bottles, metals can, plastics, broken electronics, agricultural, special (health waste), hazardous.
Liquid waste includes waste dissolves in water coming out from industrial processed (known as industrial effluent they can contains trace /heavy metals), domestic liquid, salon chemical liquid you drain out to the gutter, acids waste, waste from oil workshop etc.
Gaseous wasting e.g. Co2, Cox, Nox, CH4, they include waste from gas flaring, combustion engines, vents, emissions from Batteries, particulate dust, waste gases from stack, stone crushy, excavations activities, cement factory line, asbestos dust, acid fumes, cigarette fumes, vents vehicular emissions, generating plant etc.
These various forms of waste are further classified into three namely Domestic or municipal waste, Industrial and Hazardous
1. Domestic waste include kitchen waste, garden waste, office waste, paper, food, wood, waste water from the toilet and bathroom, laundry house hold waste, used cartridges, toners etc.
2. Industrial waste are waste generated during industrial activities e.g. scrap metals, cardboard packaging, plastic, organic acid, chemical waste, oil waste or gaseous emission (smoke fumes, particulate dust) worn out tyres etc.
3. Hazardous waste these are any liquid, solid or gaseous waste which because of its quantities, physical, chemical or infections characteristics, can result in hazards to human health or the environment when it is not properly treated, stored, transported or disposed off. Hazardous waste are potential hazards to human and their environment, they are usually Toxic, Corrosive, Ignitable/explosive and they can be infections
As a result, they need further treatment before disposal. The law requires that they are monitored from cradle to grave. Example of hazardous waste includes medical waste (infectors waste) radioactive/nuclear waste (dangerous) e.g. inflammable liquid waste, chemical waste, hospital waste, tank bottom waste, sludge, pesticides, Batteries, contaminated soil, spent lubricating oil, oil filter, oil plant etc.
When these wastes are dump in an unregulated manner, reckless manner, ignorantly or presumptuously in the environment without any regard to the particular area of the environment, it is term indiscriminate waste disposal. Waste disposal could be term indiscriminate when such waste are dispose of at location that are unlawful and where it could result in or trigger environmental or health hazards to people and animals. Indiscriminate waste disposal can also be referred to as the disposal of solid and liquid waste without taking necessary measures. Wastes are supposed to be inventoried, characterized, segregated, minimized, treated and disposed off in a designated area and not any place you feel it is convenience for you.
Dumping of waste into the rivers, streams, ponds, gutters/drainages, on the streets in the market places is wrong and unlawful. The waste you indiscriminately disposed can come back to haunt you in form of flooding, sicknesses and diseases.
IMPLICATIONS OF INDISCRIMINATE WASTE DISPOSAL
There are lots of implications when wastes are not properly handled and indiscriminately disposed of. The effects are negative and could be detrimental. It poses risk to our Environment, Health, Social and psychological life, Infrastructure and Aesthetic.
When wastes disposed of indiscriminately are not collected, it gives rise to unsanitary condition which poses environmental and health hazard risk. The condition create a breeding ground for diseases causing agent to thrives and outbreak of diseases like cholera, diarrhea, Malaria, Tetanus, Lassa fever, Typhoid and Yellow fever, Hookworm and other parasite infestation. Indiscriminate waste disposal promotes fecal contamination of the hands, food and water that can result to fecal-oral transmission diseases. Waste disposed of indiscriminately can also result to water pollution, land pollution, drainage blockage, flooding and infrastructural degradation.
Open dump site in developing urban cities are uncontrolled and therefore pose major health threat which affect the land scape of urban cities. UNEPA (united nation environmental protection Agency) informal solid waste management 2006, stated that waste that are not properly managed, especially solid waste from households and the community are a serious health hazard and lead to the spread of infectious diseases. The report further stated that unattended waste lying around attract flies, rats, and other creatures that, in turn, spread diseases.
Normally, it is the wet waste that decomposes and releases bad odor. The bad odor affects the people settled next to the dumpsite, which shows that the dumpsite have serious effects to people settled around or next to them. The group at risk from this unscientific disposal of solid waste includes the population in areas where there is no proper waste disposal method especially the pre-school children, waste workers and workers in facilities producing toxic and infectious materials. Other high-risk group includes population living close to the waste dump Atamila et al., (2010).
Organic domestic waste in particular according to Nwanta and Ezenduka (2010), poses a serious threat, since they ferment, creating conditions favorable to the survival and growth of microbial pathogens. Direct handling of solid waste can result in various types of infectious and chronic diseases with the waste workers and rag pickers being the most vulnerable.
Research have also revealed that exposure to hazardous waste in dumpsite can affect human health, children being the most vulnerable to these pollutants. Direct exposure can lead to disease through chemical exposure as the release of chemical waste into the environment leads to chemical poisoning. Waste from agriculture and industries can also cause serious health risks. Co-disposal of industrial waste with municipal waste can expose people to chemical and radioactive hazards. Health care waste and other medical waste disposed in dumpsite, mixed with domestic waste, increases the risk of infection with Hepatitis B and HIV, and other related diseases.
Open dumpsites are a major problem to the environment especially to the air that we inhale. Dumpsites emit obnoxious odors and smoke that cause illness to people living in, around, or closer to them. Pollutant deposited on land can enter the body through contaminated crops, fruits, food products, animals and water. Dumpsite closer to residential areas can be a feeding place for dogs and cat apart from rat. These pet with rodents can bring diseases with them to nearby homes. Respiratory diseases, irritation of the eyes, nose and skin, gastrointestinal problems, allergies and psychological disorder have also been traced to unregulated dumpsite and indiscriminate waste disposal.