Waste management strategies and climate change

Waste management is an important global issue now a days. The carbon dioxide and methane concentrations in atmosphere rose gradually. The global temperature increases due to greenhouse gases. As GHG (greenhouse gases) is produced by anthropogenic activities and burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas.

Waste management carbon dioxide methane global temperature greenhouse gases

Climate change has a reckonable impact on countless natural and human activities. Thereupon, the evidence showed that duration of global action is short but we still have time to avoid the adverse effect of climate change by adopting strong actions. Some limited policies and technologies cannot control GHG emissions and reduce the adverse impact on climate.

It requires many smart strategies which involved all sector at a glance. The municipal waste sector is important part of these strategies. The researchers revealed that waste management sector emitted 1.3Gt eq- or approximately 5 percent of total human activities. At regional and city scales the waste departments have chances to reduced GHG emission through modern technologies and strategies.

Waste management technology and climate change

Above all, the municipal waste sector employs have been collecting waste from town since decades. The aim of this activity is to improving living environment for people. There are many modern technologies through which waste becomes valuable material. But waste sector should select those technologies which emit low GHG and has less adverse effect on climate. The local community should think about it and make plans at city and regional level.

If modern technologies are operated, then people can sell their waste as after recycling it will become a costly product. Globally, climate change should be observed as a chance and not a threat for the waste managing industry. There are already many proven technologies available which can make a significant contribution, the current push towards GHG reduction solutions can only result in more efficient waste management systems.

Components of waste management strategies

The researchers around the world define three basic components of waste management strategies which would allow the waste sector to become a greenhouse gas emission saver. The three basic components are following.

  • Establishment of integrated waste management structure, with highlight on waste reduction and reusing to reduce the drain on stuff and energy assets

  • Introduce municipal waste management technologies with lower energy use and reuse of treated residuals

  • Recuperate energy from discarded processing unit and captured landfill gas, for use as electricity and switching the use of fossil fuels for energy production

The concept of garbage/waste prevention, reuse and recycling have the potential to minimize greenhouse gas emission by sustaining raw matter and fossil fuels. The waste has different types like organic waste, inorganic waste and plastics. These are offering organic fertilizers, energy & production of biogas which reduce fossil fuels burning and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The organic fertilizers lower greenhouse gas emission through sequestration of carbon in soil and improve soil physical properties. Around the world 130 million tonnes of waste are burning which is enough for electricity demand of 10 million consumers in Europe.

Innovative technologies to reduce GHG emissions

The selection of technologies depends on local area and types of wastes. For waste collection vehicles and fuel are necessary. For reducing GHG use of bio-diesel is necessary. There are wide different types of technologies available for recycling of waste in which quality of products maintain with low GHG emissions. Avoid greenhouse gas emission through increasing recycle product recovery rate.

The most developing countries waste included organic material. Composting is the best option for recycling of organic wastes. Anaerobic digestion does composting. The byproduct is used in agriculture sector as organic fertilizers which maintain productivity of soils. This is the key component for sustainable crop production.

The carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides emitted during production of organic fertilizers. Moreover, bio char production units emitted lower GHG emission as compared to compost. The important process for waste reduction is incineration. In this combustion of solids waste in controlled furnace.

The GHG emission sources are carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and energy use. Since, in innovative technology thermal energy is used and recovered material from bottom ashes for higher recovery rate. The next approach is landfilling. Methane emission from landfills are the major source of GHG emission globally. By adopting technology landfill gas will use as fuel to produce thermal energy and best alternative source of electricity.

The suitable option is for recycling of waste is mechanical biological treatment.

Three steps are included in this process. The first one is diversion and stabilization of biodegradable material before dumping. The second is recovering of recyclables. The third states that production of high quality fuel for energy and thermal system. Additionally, the smaller plant of MBT is suitable for poor colonies due to low input rate.

Steps for adopting waste innovative technologies

  • The first step is building of network among institutions. The awareness campaigns and training need to be organize at regional level. Students should be attending training and spread knowledge in their living colonies.
  • The second step focused on researchers. Researchers will concentrate on GHG reducing technologies and improved methods of reduction of waste material.
  • Waste management industries select areas . It is source of jobs for unemployed persons. Therefore, undeveloped sites will be suitable for this type due to availability of local workers.
  • Furthermore, the forth step is most important. Similarly, before selecting sites and establishment of business trained people must visit other countries to seeking knowledge about innovative technology policies, strategies and regulations. They will participate in global events and training for mitigate adverse effect of climate change effectively.
The author is from B.Sc.(Hons.) Agriculture Department of Agronomy, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan

Iqra Ghafoor

M.Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture/Agronomy MNS University of Agriculture Multan, Pakistan

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