High risk of cancer in waste control

cancerSIR: Waste does a lot of things when brought to the landfills. They emit greenhouse gas in form of methane, although methane can be used to make energy, it is generally hazardous to health. Wastes buried in landfills also tend to leach chemicals that can contaminate ground water. Wastes can be incinerated, the problem with incinerators however, is that they also produce greenhouse gas and other forms of toxin such as dioxin. Dioxin is found to cause cancer, whether waste is brought to a landfill or incinerator, it seems like it is a potential source of pollution and threat to health.

Although indirectly, waste causes resource depletion, this is due to the common buying pattern: buy, throw and then buy again. As the waste piles up high, the demand for more products also rises, almost exhausting the natural resources. This has a spiral effect, mainly involving threats to biodiversity, deforestation, pollution and other environmental problems.

A clean environment is considered important by many Nigerians and this is the pillar for governments’ primary programme on the need to achieve good health for all, there are still lapses here and there, giving rise to the need for environmental sanitation and its importance to human existence.

Environmental sanitation is perhaps the most obvious element in environmental management but is certainly not the most important. Its significance lies in its effectiveness in raising and maintaining an environment, healthy and hygienic for the needs and standards of the present. Waste management has become a major issue in urban areas because of the increasing gap between the prolific level of generation and the limited technology and capacity of evacuation.

Education and awareness campaign play a great role in waste management, not all people are aware that the one piece of waste material they are sending to landfills or incinerators constitutes a greater threat to the environment.

Currently, calls to recycle and waste reduction are widely active, various campaigns and projects are launched every day, adding more noise to the earlier advocacies on proper waste management. Waste recycling plays a vital role in waste management, consistent waste reduction and recycling activities mean there will be less waste materials to be sent to landfills and incinerators. As such, the emission of greenhouse gas and other forms of pollutant will be reduced by a large percentage. Reusing and recycling of used items will also result in less production of new products and this helps in the conservation of natural resources.

There is need to understand the importance of waste management.

• Omobusola Morakinyo, Abeokuta, Ogun State

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