Land fills not only take away land on mother earth but also pollute the air, water and land. Landfills lead to infrastructure disruption, such as damage to access roads by heavy vehicles. Pollution of local roads and water courses from wheels on vehicles when they leave the landfill is significant. Contamination of groundwater or aquifers or soil contamination occurs, as well. Even engineered liners have a lifespan, but eventually, every landfill liner will leak, allowing the leachate to contaminate the groundwater. Methane is naturally generated by decaying organic wastes in a landfill and is a potent greenhouse gas, and a danger because it is flammable and potentially explosive. Landfills attract vultures and vectors such as rats, and flies which can cause infectious diseases besides wildlife disruption, dust, odor, noise pollution, and reduced local property values.
The more waste a individual/institution /industry produces the higher the responsibility of formulating zero landfill program. This program would entail:
(i) Moving towards decentralized municipal solid waste program where every residential colony ,educational institution, office, restaurant , office takes complete responsibility for the management waste it produces and no waste from these areas ever go to any landfill .
(ii)Introducing waste containers which are made from earth friendly materials are aesthetic, last a lifetime and are suitable for various waste streams.
(iii) Segregating the waste at source , analyze the various waste streams and volumes produced and create interventions to reduce it as much as possible. For example reducing every gram /mm of input materials be it raw food for home or cafeteria, clothing for one’s dress or commercial line, paper in personal and professional spheres , or the size of steel sheets used for stamping parts in an industry.
(iv) Reusing the waste produced. Waste from one stream can easily become raw material for other stream. Food and green waste becomes raw material for composting. Details covered in an earlier blog. Waste paper and Clothing waste both from home and commercial places become raw materials for hand made recycling industry. In industries reusing the sand from aluminum and ferrous metal casting operations again & again instead of sending it to landfill every time. (The sand being mixed with some binders , additives cannot be used for much else).
(vi) A well designed Zero Landfill program would create less demand for the services of recyclers.
(v)Moving towards green packaging by eliminating every bit of extra packaging materials, replacing packaging to bio-degradable, eliminating hazardous packaging completely. Details on green packaging have been covered in an earlier blog.
Dr. Ms. Iqbal Malik
Founder & Director