As in most industrialized countries around the world, waste management is a major concern in Canada. In fact, it could be said that waste disposal ensures both the continuance of the country’s way of life as well as the quality of that life. With the increasing global awareness of environmental concerns such as waste disposal Vancouver is right at forefront of efforts to deal with its own local waste issues more efficiently, and with much less harm to the environment.
The three stages of waste management
Waste management involves three stages: collection of waste matter (most of it the result of human activity and consumption), transportation and shipment of the waste to a treatment facility, and processing and/or recycling the waste for later use or for permanent disposal. Properly employed, these procedures result in the removal of waste from areas where they are generated or collected, with as little risk to the environment and the waste handlers as possible.
Waste management solutions
Over the years, a number of methods have been developed for dealing with waste more effectively and more efficiently. Some of the most common methods practiced today are:
This is one of the most commonly employed methods for dealing with waste. Landfill disposal is usually employed in areas where there is plenty of land to dump the waste in. Although inexpensive, there is potential for long-term damage to the environment and health risks to people with this method.
Incineration involves burning waste in order to dispose of it. Most countries do not consider this an effective waste management method due to the harm it causes to the environment, the destruction of potentially recyclable materials, and the excessive consumption of energy and resources.
Composting involves allowing organic waste materials such as food, plants, and paper to decompose naturally (although solutions that encourage and speed up the decomposition process are often used as well). The decomposed matter is then recycled and used as compost for agricultural and landscaping purposes.
Modern methods for waste disposal
The constantly increasing volume of waste has made it necessary to come up with even more efficient methods for dealing with waste, methods that build on the benefits–and reduce the negatives–associated with traditional methods of waste disposal. Vancouver and other communities all over Canada have begun implementing methods such as mechanical biological treatment and pyrolysis and gasification processes that not only reduce the impact caused by less effective waste disposal methods, but increase the value that may be derived as well. Mechanical biological treatment for example extracts the recyclable matter from waste and converts it to fuel that may be used for powering industrial facilities. Pyrolysis and gasification for its part involves the conversion of waste material to synthetic gas, which could then be used as an energy source.
Appropriate waste management solutions are essential not only for our comfort and well-being, but also for our very survival. By employing a proactive and constantly evolving approach to waste management, we could reduce the effects that these processes have on the environment, while at the same time maximizing the benefits that could be derived from the very same processes.
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