Being Responsible for Waste

By Monica Khadka
Apr 02, 2022

Do you ever think about what happens to waste after waste workers pick it from your home? The answer depends on where you live. If you live in the United States or Germany, chances are that waste has been taken care of responsibly; if you are living in Nepal or Chile, its less likely.

Globally, the demand for diverting waste from landfills and incinerators towards the economy through recycling is increasing. A few countries have even banned landfills to implement recycling. Manufacturers have had to take responsibility for their products beyond the point of sale. However, landfills still remain the major disposal method for many countries. On the contrary, a few countries even lack proper landfill sites and resort to practices such as dumping.

It is estimated that humans will create about 4 billion tons of waste by 2100 (Global Citizen, 2016), 78 years from now. Without proper waste management, the pollution we cause will ultimately affect human health and the environment. Countries such as Germany, Poland, or Estonia are already making improvement in their waste management sector but what about us? More specifically, what about our country Nepal where the waste management sector still needs great improvement?

If you are like me, you probably do not operate a waste management company. You are neither in a position to make policy level changes, nor can you control the consumption and production patterns in our country. So, what can we do?

Not all waste is recycled and these wastes remain on our lands or the oceans for a long time. To limit the damage done to the environment, the least that we can do is minimize the waste we generate and segregate our waste at home. If you’re throwing away something sharp or broken, make sure you seal so that waste pickers don’t cut themselves. Try to compost, recycle, reuse, or upcycle whenever possible. Finally, we can educate ourselves to become responsible waste creator by going online or connecting with organizations, businesses, and individuals who are already working towards the improvement of the waste management sector. I am sure that a lot of points were missed out on what an individual can do on a personal level to contribute to the improvement of the waste management sector.

In the future, if you happen to own a waste management company, please make sure you treat your waste workers well, invest in the right technologies and machineries, and collaborate with the government and relevant stakeholders to find efficient ways to conserve our planet, that we call home. I am not sure if we can ever be waste-free, but I do believe that we can find solutions to the problem of waste management if we all just try from our own level.

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