Révolutionnaire Team Révolutionnaire Team
Révolutionnaire Team

Improper Waste Management Emilie Baliozian - Med.jpg

Improper Waste Management

By: Emilie Baliozian


Waste management refers to the ways we manage and dispose of waste. Typically operated by a local regulatory framework, it includes processes such as collection, transportation, dumping, recycling, or sewage treatment (source). However, improper waste management is the disposal of waste in a way that has negative consequences for the environment and human health. Examples include littering, not recycling materials that should be recycled, releasing hazardous waste into soil or water, etc.


Improper waste management has many negative environmental consequences. Some wastes that end up in landfills or nature excrete hazardous chemicals when they decompose that leak into the soil, and ultimately, into groundwater. When we burn waste such as rubber and plastic, or when waste simply decomposes, greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. Food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide (source).


This has severe consequences on human health: exposure to improperly managed waste can cause skin irritations, blood infections, respiratory, growth, and reproductive issues (source). Improper waste management can also increase the spread of disease-carrying pests like rats and mosquitoes. Animal life isn’t spared either: waste like styrofoam and cigarette butts causes deaths in marine animals and birds who mistake them for food.


There are many reasons why improper waste management is so prevalent. First, we produce too much waste and are caught in an age of consumerism that prioritizes single-use products and profit over the reuse of materials. Second, many people and business owners lack the proper knowledge, funds, access to infrastructure or transportation resources to dispose of their waste. Third, state and local legislation doesn’t have enough control over industries that produce and dump toxic and health-threatening chemicals into the environment (source).


Solutions to waste management start with education and adopting the Re-use, Reduce, and Recycle mentality. We need better organic waste management, such as municipal composting, to turn organic matter into fertilizer, thus avoiding the production of greenhouse gas emissions in landfills. To control industrial waste, we must adopt the “polluter pays” principle: those who produce waste and pollution should pay to manage it through a carbon tax (source).


What you can do:


  • Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The first step is to refuse waste and single-use plastic before you adopt the 3Rs.
  • Start composting! Here is a guide on how to start your own compost.
  • Call your local municipality to understand your local recycling practices and to call for better waste management. Here is a resource that helps you understand how to recycle in your community.