Illegal waste management and other challenges faced in the enforcement of environmental law in the world. Assignment 3
The effect of increasing of waste in environment requires selection of accurate way to produce, consumption and management of the waste. Human should know that he is the part of environment, he lives only ones and Earth is his home. He shouldn’t destroy; instead he has to make it more beautiful.
The protests in London October, 2019 for the global warming had main 3 demands and one of them was to adopt “A declaration of a climate and ecological emergency, and to work with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change”.
That means to work with other institutions to save the world from pollution (waste management likewise included under this demand), from greenhouse gas emissions, to keep world clean for our future generation how we got it from our previous generations.
One of major problem of the pollution is waste. According to reports done Americans are producing and hopping in a year around 220 million tons of solid waste.
This is the uppermost number among all states.
This research will divided into four parts and each one will argue about particular part of the waste: Section 1 will describe the types of the waste and disposal of the waste (general view of the correct disposal, management of the waste disposal, harmless utilization of the waste and recycling); In Section 2 will be discussed about the reasons and causes of illegal waste disposal (Dumping of the waste) effects of the illegal dumping to the environment; In Section 3 Analyzation of Basel Convention (scope, goals, elements of the Convention); Section 4 general suggestions to solve the problem and view of the Author about the methods of punishments for violation of the law.
There are three main types of the waste:
Radioactive (or Nuclear) waste – is most harmful waste because it is a material which is after being used in a reactor becomes radioactive. The energy from it released when fuel nucleus breaks into two. Most harmful and radioactive waste is the leftover smaller “nucleo” known as fission products. This waste is dangerously radioactive and remains active for a thousand of years. If you stay near to unshielded fuel which was used and came out from the reactor you would get radioactive rays in high dose within seconds and you would die with the sickness of acute radiation sickness. But fortunately the waste fuel never comes out unshielded. When it comes it is kept usually under the water because the water is very good shield to avoid the rays. Deep geologic storage is the main disposal method nowadays and the other is recycling the waste. Finland is famous with their Onkalo geologic storage of the radioactive waste; it is the world’s first and largest storage.
Recycling of the nuclear waste is possible because it is mainly 90 % is uranium but most of the countries are banned because it creates Plutonium which is used for nuclear weapon. So because of that most countries are keeping the waste either under the water (USA) or keep it in special storages (Finland).
Solid waste is any garbage, waste, refuse and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semiliquid or contained gaseous material coming as a result from production industries, commercial, mining or agricultural operations or as a result of community activities. Management of solid waste is collecting, treating and disposing it because of uselessness of the waste. There are main 8 methods to dispose solid waste:
Reduction and reuse – it is the most easiest method to reduce the waste, instead of buying new jar to repair or to buy items from the shops of used items (second hand);
Animal feeding – to use plant waste to feed the animals in a farms;
Recycling – converting the waste products into new products or in other words to give the waste second life Ex: tires and plastic to use in road building;
Composting – it is natural bio-degradation, waste which is coming from the plant, kitchen is used for organic planting as a rich nutrition – fertilizer (the waste stays in one place for a long period, sometimes it takes months until the microbes decompose them).
Fermentation – inserting the waste into the special tubes and fermenting as result getting gas to use it in a cooking or heating;
Landfills – very common in a developing countries, it is burying the waste into the ground, it might cause water and air pollution;
Incineration – thermal treatment of the waste, in other words using high temperature to convert the waste into gas, ash, heat and steam. These method is mostly common in Japan, where no space to composing the waste or other method to dispose it.
Land application – it is a wastewater using for a vegetated land, in other words the recycled water is used upon land.
Pesticides – any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest, including vectors of human and animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals. It can harm the soil, water and other flora. Harming the soil and water it can be toxic also to the birds, insects, fish, other beneficial insects and plants. Farmers cannot dispose all pesticides because they are regulated as hazardous waste. In each country there is a special regulation to dispose pesticides. It should be regulated with special government authority to dispose. Pesticide suppliers should cover all the stages of pesticide production, distribution and use, they should help to provide safe solutions pesticide related waste.
Illegal waste dumping is the major problem especially in poor countries because of the weak law enforcement or the lack of corruption on agencies. Many companies are dumping the wastes direct to the water, if they are caught either will pay some payoff for officials or pretend cleaning the water. This action will damage environment, can be fire hazardous, there is a big risk on health and safety. Illegal dumping of the waste makes air and water pollution, as a result there are many diseases in some part reaching even cancer.
Good definition was given to illegal dumping by Australian Government it says: “Illegal dumping is the unlawful deposit of any type of domestic, commercial, or industrial waste of 200 liters or more”.
But why illegal dumping of the waste occurs? First, because of the high fees for garbage disposal, maybe less education on harming environment by dumping trash or simply laziness of other to sort their garbage.
Second, factories might have different fees for disposal or weak law enforcements in a country and to avoid the payment they might dump waste direct to the environment.
Third, unfortunately in some less developed countries you can see the people throwing the garbage into river.
Main effects of illegal dumping are as follow:
Marine – illegal dumping can pollute ocean. In poor countries there is no sorting of the garbage, the only thing they do is collection and dumping into the open ocean.
Runoff – illegal dumping can block the natural runoff during heavy rain or natural storms.
Aesthetics – natural look of the environment spoiled with the view of piled and strong odor of the waste.
Atmosphere – many household appliances contain hazardous materials for example refrigerators and freezers contain hazardous gases (tetrafluoroethane or chloro-fluoro-carbon) both are harming ozone layer.
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal is an international treaty which is signed by 186 countries to regulate the movement of hazardous toxic waste from developed countries to less developed countries. However, it doesn’t address the movement of radioactive waste. It was opened to sign 22.03.1989 and came into force 5.05.1992.
The history of the Convention is going back to 1980s. Countries with less development were desperate for foreign currency and were ready to trade with hazardous waste. Well known case Khian Sea Waste disposal incident also one of the examples of dumped waste where the incinerated ash was transported from Philadelphia, USA to Haiti. Ship changed its name several times and half of the load was dumped on a beach before being forced away.
The other case is Koko case 1988 where 8000 barrels of waste was transported with 5 ships from Italy to small town Koko, Nigeria and was planned to store in a farmland of Nigerian citizen with the rent $100 per month.
These practices considered as “Toxic Colonialism” by developing countries.
In a recent meeting of the party countries there was a discussion about e-waste, where the computers. Phones, electronic devices after being used stop being “commodity” and became ‘waste’. This market with the price of billion dollars.
The last meeting which was held in Geneva Switzerland on 1st October 2019 was about prevention and combating illegal traffic in hazardous wastes and other wastes through the better implementation and enforcement of national law.
Suggestions how to prevent illegal dumping
The solution to prevent illegal dumping can be reached in numerous ways:
Ban of using harming or long term naturally disposing materials (plastic bags, bottles) in some countries to prevent pollution usage of plastic bags are prohibited. San Francisco is the first city in USA banned using plastic bags in shops.
Educational lessons for kids and adults. Instead of advertisement in commercial purpose it is reasonable to make a video showing how it is hazardous to environment illegal dumping of the waste.
Law enforcement. To make reasonable prices to dispose waste and high amount for violating it.
Practice the main three “R’s” in waste disposal management hierarchy “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle”.
Not only illegal dumping is harming environment but also human’s approach and the way how they use the Earth. Millions of dollars are spent daily just for cleaning environment from waste. It was better to preserve and care about environment rather than cleaning. To keep the home of human clean in our hand, if you care about environment you would never dump waste instead try to use three R’s – Reduce. Re-use.
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