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From garbage to waste

From garbage to waste

The word garbage has meant and for many people still means something derogatory, something that lacks value and that must be disposed of, in this way the useful, which is not always necessary, becomes a nuisance and is the cause of the problem of how to ignore what we consume or produce

In rural areas it was never a real problem, since organic waste followed the cycle of life serving as fertilizer or animal feed, the discharges thrown into the rivers were purified by the waters themselves, the great purifying power of nature still he had not been defeated by man's lust for power. Man began to use raw materials in a disorderly way, with the excuse of development, the man who exploits natural resources faster is the one who earns the most benefits, the one who produces more garbage is happier, consumerism and waste appear.


In cities, garbage has been a problem almost since their origins, due to the high population density and the fact of throwing garbage into the streets. This has produced the proliferation of insects, rodents and pathogenic microorganisms, resulting in catastrophic diseases for man such as the plague. Today, a large city cannot be conceived without a good garbage collection and treatment system, although the costs are passed on directly to citizens. A poor garbage management system will cause the environment to deteriorate and depreciate due to air, water and soil contamination.

Observing this, it was seen that man could not so easily get rid of the garbage that he originated and since they were not a set of useless things, but that raw materials could be extracted from them, reusable, the term waste began to be used.

In Spain the waste law of 98 defines that waste is any substance or object belonging to any category that appears in the annex to this law, which the holder discards, has intention or obligation to discard. In this way, the responsibility of generating waste is included in the law.

The production of waste in recent years in Spain has been increasing, going from 10,567,700 tons in 1986, which would be equivalent to 272 kg / inhabitant / year, to 17,175,000 tons of waste in 1999, which is equivalent to to 438 kg./hab/year. Only the Community of Madrid produces 1,460,000 tons per year. Yes we put the waste in a layer of 20 cm. We would occupy the entire municipal area of ​​Madrid in just 5 years.

Let us focus on the so-called MSW, urban solid waste, which although they only make up 4.06% of all the waste generated in Spain, are the ones that have the greatest difficulty in their treatment, due to their heterogeneity, and because they are generated in the private homes producing a greater risk for the urban population of the city.

The different treatments of the R.S.U. We can classify them into disposal techniques or recovery techniques, that is to say, in the disappearance of the waste or in getting a second use of it. Thus we will have in the first one the landfills, sanitary controlled and security deposits, and the incinerators, either with or without the use of energy. As exploitation techniques we have them by chemical and biochemical processes, composting, recycling and recovery of materials.

The scarcity of raw materials as well as the protection of the environment are reasons to lean towards recycling, however, from any use technique there will always be something that cannot be recycled, a part that must be treated with a disposal technique. It is also true that recycling techniques are always more expensive since they require more sophisticated technology and larger facilities and that the amount of garbage that is generated is such that there is no time to recycle it without preventing it from accumulating.

However, disposal techniques either by dumping or by incineration always entail contamination to the environment, that although it is true that the risk of contamination can be lowered if it is carried out in an appropriate way, this risk will always be present and its decrease will make the treatment more expensive, so sometimes it is no longer profitable.

The techniques must be mixed since some complement the others, however, today the elimination produces a greater benefit for the companies dedicated to the treatment of R.S.U. that harnessing. Since the benefit of a landfill is more short-term than that of, for example, a recycling or composting plant, in addition they require much less initial investment.This is why one must always lean towards recycling their own garbage, since in this way, companies dedicated to waste treatment will obey the wishes of their customers.

Selective collection, that is, the separation of waste at source, must be promoted by the different peoples, for the benefit of the environment, becoming a custom to recycle, in this way we will stop being slaves of our own garbage and we will not be able to only to ignore the garbage that we produce but to know that what we have consumed will cause us the least possible damage.

Recycling, as well as the recovery of raw materials, are techniques necessary to carry out what we call sustainable development, however in the case of waste, as in many others, the interests of companies dedicated to waste treatment are opposed to the interests of environmental defenders, keeping people in a perfect state of disinformation, flattering them with the ease of throwing any waste into the same bag, without talking about the consequences that this generates, they achieve one day after another profit from his dictatorship of waste.

"When the last tree is cut down, the last river polluted and your house a landfill, you will realize that money is not eaten"


Video: How is the world dealing with the waste disposal epidemic? Inside Story (June 2021).