The excessive increase in waste generated in society today is causing serious consequences and generating a serious social and environmental problem that has become an issue of utmost importance. For this reason, in this post we compile the main consequences of waste generation and the fact that it is not treated.
Consequences of waste generation
The generation and accumulation of waste can cause the following negative impacts, which not only affect the environment, but also affect the economic, health and social spheres. The proper management of this waste is a universal problem that concerns citizens, governments and companies alike.
Depletion of natural resources
The overexploitation of natural resources is leading to their disappearance, as failure to recycle and reuse results in an increase in the production of the products we consume on a daily basis. If we continue at this rate, consuming raw materials, there will come a point when these will become scarce and there will not be enough to cover the needs of the entire world population. This will also mean the disappearance of some ecosystems and natural habitats.
Higher energy costs
To produce raw materials again, more energy is needed than if we were to recycle and reuse the types of waste that are generated. In addition, with the trend of rising energy prices, it is affecting the lack of raw materials. Energy is essential to produce anything. Therefore, if prices go up, production costs will be much higher. It is therefore necessary to reverse the situation by reusing waste and residues, recovering them and giving them a second life, achieving a lower energy cost and, consequently, a much lower production cost.
Soil degradation and contamination
Inadequate waste collection and storage, accidental or intentional dumping of waste, accumulation of waste on the surface or burying of waste for disposal, and poor infrastructure are some of the main causes of soil contamination. In addition, air and water pollution have an effect on global temperature and sea level, and this affects crops, plants and forests, as the physical, chemical and fertility properties of soils are disrupted.
In the absence of an impermeable layer to protect and isolate the soil, liquids from the decomposition or compression of waste leach through the soil. They can reach the soil layer where groundwater is found, thus contaminating the water.
On the other hand, large amounts of waste and residues reach and accumulate in seas, rivers and lakes, which, when decomposing, directly degrade and pollute the water.
Without proper waste management, waste emits toxic gases into the atmosphere that cause smog, the greenhouse effect, acid rain and damage to the ozone layer. In addition, their accumulation can lead to slow decomposition with little or no oxygen present. This is how waste affects the environment.
In addition to these environmental problems, it has an impact on people's health and quality of life, causing more pollution and health problems due to poor air quality. Hence the importance of recycling.
Optimising manufacturing processes to reduce waste generation and focusing on recycling and reuse, the first steps in the waste hierarchy, is how sustainable development can be achieved.
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