Waste accumulated in our surroundings and is ready for disposal is called as garbage. Garbage is the solid waste which includes domestic wastes, municipal wastes and industrial wastes.
- Domestic wastes are the wastes from our houses.
- Municipal wastes are the wastes from schools, offices, roads and shops.
- Industrial wastes are the wastes discarded from industries and small factories.
A large, low-lying area used to dispose garbage is known as a dump.
- A garbage dump is also used as landfill. Garbage collectors collect waste and then dispose it at garbage disposals.
- Garbage dumps have flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes, and later turn into breeding grounds for micro-organisms which may cause diseases. This is the reason why garbage dumps are usually located on the outskirts of a city.
- On a long run when garbage mixes with soil, it takes a longer time to decay making the soil loose.
- Burning of agricultural wastes like dried leaves, husk etc. releases smoke and harmful gases into the atmosphere. These harmful gases may cause respiratory diseases.
Components of garbage
Domestic wastes can be of two types namely, dry wastes and moist wastes. Wastes are collected in two separate types of bins.
a) Dry wastes or non-biodegradable wastes:
- Blue bins are used to dump recyclable wastes which include glass pieces, glass bottles, plastic waste, old batteries, polythene bags etc.
- Green bins are used to dump vegetable and fruit peels, food remains, tea leaves, egg shells, leaves, hair, tissue papers etc.
Dry wastes include newspapers, metallic waste, plastic pieces, broken glass pieces, wooden blocks, waste rags. These wastes are to be discarded into blue bins provided by the municipality. Dry wastes can be recycled and reused. At regular intervals of time they are taken to recycling plants for the process of recycling.
b) Moist wastes or biodegradable wastes:
are the wastes which come from our kitchen. They include food remains, vegetable peels, fruit peels, garden waste. These are discarded into green bin provided by municipality. These can be composted to obtain manure. Moist wastes are also used to fill the low lying areas by converting them into landfills.
Management of biodegradable wastes
Wastes can be decomposed and converted into organic manure by different processes.
a) Composting involves conversion of biodegradable wastes into organic manure by burying them in the compost pits. These wastes are decomposed by the action of bacteria and fungi. It is a slow and simple process. It is a cheap process. It causes no harm to the environment.
Advantages of compost
b) Vermicomposting involves degradation of organic matter into fertile manure by using special type of earthworms called as red worms. The nutrient rich manure is called as vermicompost. The process of preparing manure with the help of red worms is called vermicomposting. The red worm is a type of earthworm that lives in the soil rich in organic matter. Organic soils are rich in nitrogen and carbon with plenty of moisture and microbes.
- Compost increases the fertility of the soil.
- It increases the amount of trace elements copper, manganese, molybdenum in the soil which are essential for growth.
- Compost increases water holding capacity of the soil. It also improves the texture of the soil.
Method of Vermicomposting
- A vermicomposting pit is made with a wooden box or big cement rings.
- A mesh is spread at the bottom of the pit.
- Vegetable waste, fruit waste, waste paper which is not shiny or coated with plastic, is spread over the mesh.
- Water is sprinkled to create moisture so that the red worms can live.
- A vermicomposting pit takes nearly two to four weeks to completely convert waste into manure.
- The red worms possess a special structure called gizzards with which they grind food material. A red worm eats food equal to its weight every day. Their castings are used as rich manure. This is called as vermicompost.
- Vermicompost should be removed from the pit and dried before use.
- Vermicompost can be made in 3 -4 weeks.
- Red worms do not survive in too hot or too cold conditions.
is another method of managing biodegradable wastes. Landfills are large areas used for waste disposal. Garbage thrown into landfills decomposes very slowly and makes the soil loose. As the landfill becomes full, the garbage decomposes and mixes with the soil. This land can be cleaned and converted into a park.