by Suhaib Arogundade
Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of waste management is the method of disposal. This might be understandably so due to the saying “out of sight, out of mind” since majority are not aware of what happens to their waste after it must have been carted away by waste collectors.
Waste disposal methods vary from City to City, State to State, Country’s, and Continents. It equally depends on the kind and type of waste generated. In determining the disposal method that a city or nation should adopt, some factors like type, kind, quantity, frequency, and form of waste need to be considered. For the purpose of this article, we will look at the three common disposal methods of waste and the kind of waste they accept.
- Open Dumping/Burning: This is the crudest means of disposing of waste and it is mostly practiced in rural areas, semi-urban settlements, and undeveloped urban areas. For open dumping or burning, every type and form of waste is dumped in an open area within a community or outside different homes in a community and same being set on fire after a number of days or when the waste generator or community feels it should be burnt. There is no gainsaying that the negative health and environmental impact of such practice are huge only if the propagators know better. For more on health and environmental impact of waste, watch out for my article on “Intangibles of Waste Management”.
- Controlled Dumping: This is apparent in most States in Nigeria, if not all and some cities in Africa like Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, to mention but a few. It is a method of disposing of all kinds of waste in a designated area of land by waste collectors and it is usually controlled by the State or City Government. Controlled dumps are commonly found in urban areas and because they are managed by the government, some dumps do have certain features of a landfill like tenure of usage, basic record keeping, waste covering, etc. Many cities in Nigeria confuse the practice of controlled dumping as landfilling but this not so because a landfill involves engineering design, planning, and operation.
- Sanitary Landfill: A sanitary landfill is arguably the most desired disposal option in reducing or eliminating public health hazards and environmental pollution. The landfill is the final disposal site for all forms and types of waste after the recyclable materials must have been separated for other usages and other biodegradables have been extracted from the waste for use as compost, heat, or energy; or after incineration. These extractions can be done at household level or Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) operated by the government or private individuals. As desirable as a landfill is, so many factors need to be put into consideration in its siting and operation plus it requires a huge investment in construction and operation. Some of these factors include but not limited to; distance from the residential area, proximity to water bodies, water-table level of the area the landfill is to be sited, earth material availability, and access road.
Author: Suhaib Arogundade
Suhaib Arogundade is an enthusiastic young professional who has interest in commodity trading, mindset redesigning, and waste management research.
Suhaib is the Chief Waste Eliminator at WasteWatch Africa.