Chemical Wastes: A Silent Hazard

The Governments, electronic and print media, NGO’s and the general public all over the world seems to be unperturbed by the modern world’s big environmental hazard and menace, chemical wastes. ‘Chemical wastes’ is a general term used for all the hazardous chemical substances which are the leftovers in factories or are emitted from the automobiles. Some forms of chemical wastes are, spent acids and bases, insolvent substances, both chlorinated and non-chlorinated, contaminated glassware and plastic that has been used in laboratories, organic solvents etc. These wastes are hazardous and can be effectively harmful, even leading to chronic diseases. Many occupational hazards are also caused due to the chemicals produced as wastes.

The rise of chemical wastes in the last 30 years is both alarming and disturbing. The Industrialisation has reached almost all developing countries as an answer to their economic problems. But most of them, are unconcerned and oblivious to its side effects like chemical wastes, poisonous gases, etc. Also there has been a big rise in number of automobiles, with the world’s new found consumerism in full flow, leading to larger emissions of chemical wastes. The factories are usually situated near rivers or seas and dispose of their wastes in the rivers. This leads to contamination in water bodies, causing difficulty for aquatic life to survive in that region. Also contamination gets highly concentrated as it reaches higher in the food-chain, causing problems to other creatures including humans.

So what is the remedy? No industrialisation? Or no cars?

No, that is not the answer. The answer lies in a better management of wastes and an increased awareness towards the issue at hand. The basic and the foremost need is publicity of the problems that the chemical wastes cause, through print and electronic media. Also required is the collaborative effort by the Governments of all nations to bring the issue to the limelight. This is required to make the general public realise the extent of the damage that can be caused by the harmful hazard chemical wastes.

This must be simultaneously aided with stringent law for industry owners to have a proper wastage management department, that looks after the chemical wastes. There must be heavy fines levied for disposal of wastes in water bodies, as this leads to many problems. Effective technological steps must be taken to cut the amount of wastes produced. Proper disposal can be done by first selecting the reusable and recyclable wastes apart from the rest. Then, the rest of the wastes should be disposed of either by incineration or by proper disposal in a landfill site. If the waste is hazardous in natural state it must be converted to something less harmful by chemical actions. Then it should be enclosed in a box and disposed off.

All these steps, although difficult and cumbersome are necessary to give our future generations with a safer, better and cleaner tomorrow!

Aman Mittal

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