Environmental concern caused by inadequate waste management as well as the steps to combat global warming promotes actions toward a sustainable management of organic fraction of the waste. Integrated waste management combines a variety of strategies for both waste management and waste reduction. It may involve burying waste in sanitary landfills and burning waste in mass burn incinerators. Solid waste management has become an issue of increasing global concern as urban populations continue to rise and consumption patterns change. Plastic is the general term for a wide range of synthetic or semi synthetic organic solid materials. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular weight. They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals, but many are partially natural. A polymer may contain other additives like plasticizers, stabilizers, lubricant, UV absorbing material, flame retardants to improve performance. Plastics have permeated every facet of human life such as packaging, agriculture, water transportation, building construction, telecommunication, education, medicine ,transportation, defence, consumer durables to name a few. One of the reasons for great popularity of plastics is due to tremendous range of properties exhibited by them because of their ease of processing. Hence the demand for plastics has been increasing in modern living to improve the quality of life. The quantum of plastic waste in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is increasing due to increase in population, development activities and changes in the life style. The health and environmental implications associated with Solid waste management are increasing specially in the context of developing countries and regulatory requirements for environmental clearance. While systems analyses largely targeting well-defined, engineered systems have been used to help SWM agencies in industrialized countries since the 1960s, collection and removal dominate the SWM sector in developing countries. We should understand that the waste produced in the course of health care activities carries a potential risk of infection and injury than any other type of waste. The development of a national policy for proper waste treatment may be a significant step to abate Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions through controlled composting processes, mechanical biological waste treatment, waste air treatment etc with methodological prerequisites for proper measurement, data interpretation, planning, adequate financing, team work and administration.
Harmful effects of plastics to health
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the most harmful plastic, where dioxins are released during it manufacture. Dioxins causing cancer and affect the immune system and leads to developmental reproductive disease. Burning of PVC releases chlorinated compounds includes Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), PCB accumulates in fishes and other organisms and undergo bioaccumulation which result in high value in top- level carnivore such as humans, PCB also absorbable via skin and inhaled or ingested causing neurotoxicity, liver damage, tumors, immunosuppression and behavioral changes, and reproductive disorders, abnormal sperms (Allsopp et al. 1999, Allsopp et al. 2000). Using PVC has to be avoided using in toys and other daily wears. PAH (Poly aromatic hydrocarbon) is a persistent organic matter. PAH are formed during the incomplete combustion of coal, oil, gas, garbage and other organic substances, Prolonged exposure to PAH causes lung/bladder/gastrointestinal cancer, liver damage, breathing problems, asthma-like symptoms, and lung function abnormalities, and repeated contact with skin may induce skin inflammation (Toxipedia, as cited in European Commission, 2011).
Among plasticizers phthalates are harmful to health. Phthalates such as DEHP in tis monomer form effects the development of testis, Butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) also hazardous to reproduction exposure to phthalates in pregnancy reduces ano-genetal index in male child (distance between anus and genitals) (Swan et al. 2005), DINP and DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate) effects liver and kidneys. Chlorobenzene causes acute and chronic effects in mammals, effects CNS (central nervous system), liver and thyroid. Increasing degree of chlorination such as tetrachlorobenzenes also affects kidneys. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is group 2B carcinogens it damages immune system, liver, thyroid, CNS, kidney and nervoussystem (van Birgelen 1998). It is also reported the bioaccumulation of HCB.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is an environmentally persistent compound used as flame retardant, which is also reported in bioaccumulation, it causes abnormal brain development during the initial development of a fetus, it also associated with impacts on learning, memory, behavior and thyroid, oestrogen hormone systems and effecting the immune system (Legler & Brouwer 2003). When PBDEs are burnt they produce brominated dioxins/furans which are similarly hazardous. Triphenyl phosphates (TPP) are a contaminant in human blood (Jonsson et al. 2001), potent inhibitor of a key enzyme (monocyte carboxyl esterase) in human blood cells (Amini & Crescenzi 2003). Polycarbonates are plastic 7, many containers are coated with bisphenol A (BPA), that may linked with many health problems including cancer, endocrine disruption, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and miscarriages, and it is an extremely harmful plastic.
Teflon and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is used as coatings of non-stick pans. Teflon cook wares should be handled carefully; when they are mistakenly placed on lit (inner side of pan) they may release harmful substances at ≥۲۶۰°C, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is used during the processing PTFE and it may cause cancer. Polystyrene it is used in lunch packs but when they come into contact with food directly they are poisons. It is avoided using them in coffee cups and lunch covering directly in contact with food. Plastics block the digestive tract of marine turtles and entangles with marine birds leading to their death, similarly animals consuming polythene bags face many digestive troubles, and plastic is also used by birds as nesting material, coral reefs and underwater vegetation are also affected by plastic debris such as plastic nylon nets snagged on reefs and causing breakage and plastic gyres also block the available sunlight. Many habitats including forests and sea floor are occupied by plastics which is hardly replaceable.
Environmental pollution by accumulation of plastic wastes
Floating garbage islands of pacific consists of about 10% of the 100 million tons of plastics which are produced every year, they are plastic gyres, found between California and Hawaii spanning about 3.43 million km2 (the size of Europe), similar patches also found in Mediterranean and the North Sea. They are broken down by wave action and taken to various parts of the world. Hundreds of leather back turtles die by swallowing plastics and about 100,000 marine mammals suffered by plastics annually. Swans and gulls are suffering due to fishing lines and nylon nets. Nurdles are very small pallets of plastics which are transported to sea persistent organic pollutants like DDT and PCB are gloomed in the sea and harming marine life, Eskimos have dangerously high levels of PCBs in their breast milk. Toxic emissions of broken plastics such as bisphenol-A (BPA), polystyrene based oligomers, are harmful to growth and development of marine animals. Smothering of floating to small creatures is another impact on marine life. It is difficult to trawl up these plastics as it is harmful to many marine algae and planktons. Main causes of these garbage islands are global influence though great Pacific garbage patches between Japan and Hawaii as the trash come from US, Canada and Asia. 80% of the trash come from land source, city litter is also another source, some industrial effluents consists plastic wastes and also the beach visitors through many plastic items such as water bottles. In addition, plastic wastes has the ability to attract contaminants such as Persistent organic pollutants (POP), these pollutants are hydrophobic (not mix with water) stay long and transmitted by the food chain.
Van Franeker as cited in European Commission (2011) stated that fulmars (a seabird) reduce the size of plastic particles in their muscular stomach and excrete them back into the environment in the form of micro plastics, it is estimated that fulmars reshape and redistribute about 630 million plastic particles every year, representing about six tons in plastic mass. plastics tend to fragment into smaller particles as aided by the action of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, waves and wind in the ocean as well as on land, In landfills, leachate acidity and chemicals can break down plastics. Auman et al. as cited in European Commission (2011) and Young et al. as cited in European Commission (2011) demonstrated evidence of plastic ingestion by Laysan albatross chicks. Ryan as cited in European Commission (2011) investigated this in an experiment by feeding polyethylene pellets to domestic chickens; results showed that ingested plastics reduced the capacity of the stomach and therefore the meal size. Spear et al. as cited in European Commission (2011) provided evidence that the higher the number of plastic particles ingested sea birds of tropical Pacific physically get worsen in body weight (Figure 1). Tomás et al. as cited in European Commission (2011) found that plastic debris ingestion was evidenced in over three quarters of a sample of loggerhead turtles caught by fishermen in the western Mediterranean, while Casale et al. as cited in European Commission (2011) found about almost half of their sample in the central Mediterranean had ingested plastic. Lazar and Gracan as cited in European Commission (2011) found just over a third of sea turtles had ingested plastic debris. Among Cetaceans (aquatic mammals), at least 26 species have been documented with plastic debris in their stomach (Denuncio et al. as cited in European Commission, 2011).
Figure 1 Plastics injected by a sea bird
In Argentina, accidently captured Franciscana dolphins found that 28 per cent of the sample had plastic debris in their stomachs (Denuncio et al. as cited in European Commission, 2011). Murray and Cowie as cited in European Commission (2011) investigated plastic ingestion by Nephrops norvegicus (langoustines). They found 81 % of their sample contained plastic debris, they also found that N. norvegicus that were fed with fish containing plastic. Amphipods, barnacles and lugworms ingest microplastics (Thompson et al., as cited in European Commission, 2011). According to studies on mussels Browne et al. as cited in European Commission (2011) indicated that microplastics are translocated from the gut to the circulatory system within 3 days and then remain in circulation for over 48 days, however there is no toxicological effect observed.
Efficient Solid Waste Management Strategies
Typically, a solid waste management and treatment service helps municipalities businesses to manage solid waste by coordinating several activities. These activities include: source reduction, recycling and composting, and disposal in landfills or waste combustors. Source reduction alters the design, manufacture, or use of products to reduce the amount and toxicity of trash or garbage. Recycling diverts items such as paper and metals from the waste stream. Solid waste collection and scrap collection allows recycled materials to be processed into new products. Composting is a naturally-occurring process that decomposes organic waste to produce a humus-like substance. Appropriate solid waste disposal requires waste characterization, specification/description of chemical and physical properties. either directly or indirectly. Plastic pollution involves the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife habitat, or humans.
The prominence of plastic pollution is correlated with plastics being inexpensive and durable, which lends tohigh levels of plastics used by humans. However, it is slow to degrade. Plastic pollution can unfavourably affectlands, waterways and oceans. Living organisms, particularly marine animals, can also be affected through entanglement, direct ingestion of plastic waste, or through exposure to chemicals within plastics that cause interruptions in biological functions. Humans are also affected by plastic pollution, such as through the disruption of the thyroid hormone axis or sex hormone levels. Increasing the level of understanding in these areas is essential if we are to develop appropriate policy and management tools to address this emerging issue.
Plastic waste management is a critical issue. In India, for safer disposal of plastic waste, various technologies have been experimented such as Utilization of plastic waste in road construction, Co-processing of Plastic waste in CementKilns.
In the last few years, state and central governments have started paying attention to the issues of plastic waste seriously. Consequently many legislations, acts and rules have been formulated to bring the situation under control. Responsibility to protect the environment and enforcing the existing regulation lies within the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF). Plastics play an increasingly important role in reaching the recovery and recycling rates defined in the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) category by Europeans. They pose an important environmental problem because these plastics commonly contain toxic halogenated flame retardants which may cause serious environmental pollution, especially the formation of carcinogenic substances Polybrominated dibenzo dioxins/furans (PBDD/Fs), during treat process of these plastics. Pyrolysis has been proposed as a viable processing route for recycling the organic compounds in WEEE plastics into fuels and chemical feedstock. However, dehalogenation procedures are also necessary during treat process, because the oils collected in single pyrolysis process may contain numerous halogenated organic compounds, which would detrimentally impact the reuse of these pyrolysis oils.
Waste, and especially plastic waste, is a major global challenge. Plastic is the fastest-growing component of the solid waste stream. And because plastic degradation takes up to one thousand years, it is becoming a long-lasting environmental problem for today’s generation and those to come. Although plastics stand for approximately 10%-15% by weight of municipal solid waste generated (depending on country), it poses an enormous fraction by volume reaching up to 40%. This feature makes plastic wastes difficult to handle and collect. Disposal of plastic waste is a serious concern in India. In a study conducted during 2012-13 on Yamuna river water heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, zinc, and lead have been found in the river due to rampant discharge of industrial effluents into the river. The mean metal concentrations in the 15 sampling sites were in the range of(mg L(-1)) 0.02-0.64 (Cu), 0-0.42 (Cr), 0.13-2.22(Zn), 0.03-0.27 (Pb), 0-0.07 (Cd), and 0.01-0.13 (Ni). Multivariate statistics (PCA and HCA) were used to identify the possible sources of metal contamination and to examine the spatial changes in the Yamuna River as well as in the Najafgarh drain. Phthalic acid esters [PAEs] are a group of xenobiotics and hazardous compounds blended in plastics to enhance their plasticity and versatility. Enormous quantities of phthalates are produced globally for the production of plastic goods, whose disposal and leaching out into the surroundings cause serious concerns to the environment, biota and human health. Though in silico computational, in vitro mechanistic, pre-clinical animal and clinical human studies showed endocrine disruption, hepatotoxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic properties, usage of phthalates continues due to their cuteness, attractive chemical properties, low production cost and lack of suitable alternatives.
Rapid economic development and population growth, inadequate infrastructure and expertise, and land scarcity make the management of municipal solid waste become one of India’s most critical environmental issues. The study is aimed at evaluating the generation, characteristics, and management of solid waste in India based on published information. A new institutional and legislation framework has been structured with the objectives to establish a holistic, integrated, and cost-effective solid waste management system, with an emphasis on environmental protection and public health.
Global Trends and Mitigation Strategies
Quantifying global trends requires annual national data on waste production and management practices. Estimates for many countries are uncertain because data are lacking, inconsistent or incomplete; therefore, the standardization of terminology for national waste statistics would greatly improve data quality for this sector. A wide range of mature technologies is available to mitigate green house gases emissions from waste. These technologies include land filling with landfill gas recovery, post-consumer recycling. composting of selected waste fractions and processes that reduce gases generation compared to landfilling Therefore, the mitigation from waste relies on multiple technologies whose application depends on local, regional and national drivers for both waste management and mitigation. Many developed and developing countries practise composting and anaerobic digestion of mixed waste or biodegradable waste fractions (kitchen or restaurant wastes, garden waste and sewage sludge).
Table 1: Population Growth and Impact on Overall Urban Waste Generation and Future Predictions
Year Population (Millions) Per Capita Total Waste generation
۲۰۰۱ ۱۹۷.۳ ۰.۴۳۹ ۳۱.۶۳
۲۰۱۱ ۲۶۰.۱ ۰.۴۹۸ ۴۷.۳۰
۲۰۲۱ ۳۴۲.۸ ۰.۵۶۹ ۷۱.۱۵
۲۰۳۱ ۴۵۱.۸ ۰.۶۴۹ ۱۰۷.۰۱
۲۰۳۶ ۵۱۸.۶ ۰.۶۹۳ ۱۳۱.۲۴
۲۰۴۱ ۵۹۵.۴ ۰.۷۴۱ ۱۶۰.۹۶
Ways to prevent plastic garbage reaching the environment and other living things
Properly dispose the plastic trash and better keeping separate bin for plastic wastes, keeping strict rules and getting penalty for improper disposals, recycle almost every plastic matter and also avoid using plastics or introducing biodegradable substitutes for plastic, conducting life cycle impact analysis to identify the total impact on the environment. Avoid dumping plastics in landfills as the toxic chemicals may leach out to ground water, or to the soil. Also incineration of plastics has to be prohibited as they release hazardous fumes such as cancer causing dioxin and PCB. It is important to educate the public by keeping awareness programs and encourage them to use compostable substitutes such as paper made shopping bags, cardboards and metals. Internationally there are policy responses to marine litter, some specifically figure out plastic waste such as Annex V to International Convention for Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the UNEP Global Programme of Action for Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based activities and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The Basel Convention on the control of trans boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal was adopted in 1989, UNEP (DTIE IETC) Global Partnership on Waste Management was created in 2009 has drafted a framework on coordination of different waste management, Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution, or the OSPAR EcoQO initiatives or HELCOM convention’s Strategy on Port Reception Facilities for Ship-Generated Waste in the Baltic (Galgani et al. as cited in European Commission, 2011). Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities and the EU’s recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management involved in trans boundary movement of plastics (Galgani et al. as cited in European Commission, 2011).
Management of Plastic Waste
Plastic wastes are being generated at rapid rate of urbanization in India. Waste generation rates are often affected by socio-economic development, degree of industrialization, sector of operation and climatic conditions. Municipalities, local authorities and the communities-at-large encouraged by legislation have created regulations for waste management, aiming to reduce the amount of waste disposed on landfills through selective collection, reuse, recycling and recovery of various solid waste. In countries where waste management systems are considered to be advanced, plastic waste disposal is managed by one of the methods viz reuse, recycling, landfills or incineration.There should be inclusion of a heavy penalty for non-compliance with the rules for effective implementation. India generates almost 1.5 MT of plastic waste every year.
Less than a quarter of the waste is being collected and treated. Reuse, Recycling, Incineration and Landfill- How safe?
To reuse is to use an item again after it has been used. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and new-life reuse where it is used for a different function. In contrast, recycling is the breaking down of the used item into raw materials which are used to make new items. By taking useful products and exchanging them, without reprocessing, reuse help save time, money, energy, and resources. Energy and raw materials savings as replacing many single use products with one reusable one reduces the number that need to be manufactured. Recycling is a process to change waste materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials. A landfill site also known as dumping ground is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and known to be oldest form of waste treatment. Historically, landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world. The recycling sector in India is dispersed between the formal and informal sector. Formal recycling units are registered, pay taxes and municipality has an account of them. Some landfills are also used for waste management purposes, such as the temporary storage, consolidation and transfer, or processing of waste material (sorting, treatment, or recycling). A landfill also may refer to ground that has been filled in with rocks instead of waste materials, so that it can be used for a specific purpose, such as for building houses. Unless they are stabilized, these areas may experience severe shaking or liquefaction of the ground during a large earthquake. Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high-temperature waste treatment systems are described as “thermal treatment”. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas, and heat. The ash is mostly formed by the inorganic constituents of the waste, and may take the form of solid lumps or particulates carried by the flue gas.
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۲-Allsopp, M., Santillo, D., Johnston, P. and Stringer, R. (1999) (cited in Kevin et al., 2008) The Tip of the Iceberg: State of knowledge of persistent organic pollutants in Europe and the Arctic. Greenpeace, August 1999. ISBN: 90-73361-53-2
۳-Amini, N. and Crescenzi, C. (2003) (cited in Kevin et al., 2008) Feasibility of an on-line restricted access material/liquidchromatography/tandem mass spectrometry method in the rapid and sensitive determination of organophosphorus triesters in human blood plasma. Journal of Chromatography B 795(2): 245-256
۴- Drzyzga. Oliver and Prieto. Auxiliadora.Plastic waste management, a matter for the ‘community’
۵-Methods of Plastic Waste Disposal (and possible complications), September 6, 2016
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۷- PlasticsEurope (2018) Annual review 2017–۲۰۱۸. URL , https://www.plasticseurope.org/download_file/force/1830/181
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