Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
A recent study on Waste Management in India-Shifting Gears done by ASSOCHAM in association with PwC has found that the generation of hazardous waste is increasing at the rate of 2 to 5 % per year in our country.
Industries generating hazardous waste include petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, paint and dye, petroleum, fertilisers, asbestos, caustic soda, inorganic chemicals and general engineering industries. The hazardous waste from these industrial sectors contains heavy metals, cyanides, pesticides, complex aromatic compounds and many other chemicals, which are toxic, flammable, reactive, and corrosive or have explosive properties, says the ASSOCHAM-PwC study.
As per the estimates, annually around 7.46 mn metric tonnes (MT) of hazardous waste is generated from 43,936 industries in our country, of which land fillable waste is 3.41 mn MT (46%), incinerable is 0.69 mn MT (9%) and recyclable hazardous waste is 3.35 mn MT (45%).
So, what can we, the common people do, you would ask? Plenty, I would say.
Let me list out five ways in which you can contribute your bit to reducing this hazardous waste, which in the long run is going to kill all of us.
Junk those household cleaners
All those perfumed household cleaners that you get under different brand names in the market are full of chemicals that are unsafe for us. Please stop being carried away by the fragrance. Add household ingredients like vinegar, lemon jucie, baking soda and common salt in water to swipe clean your floor.
Use natural compost and avoid pesticides
Make your own compost using your kitchen waste. It is not only environment-friendly but also gives excellent results. Use garlic, onion and soap to secure your plants from pests. Use pesticides and fertilisers only in extreme cases. These are all chemicals and spoil the soil in the long run.
Switch to camphor and neem for repelling mosquitoes
All the commercial mosquito-repellents available in the market are chemical-based, and cause big harm to your health, your environment besides adding up to the amount of hazardous waste in the landfill site. Put a few drops or neem oil or camphor tablets in a cup of water to keep your house free of flies and mosquitoes. Citronella oil is also quite effective against mosquitoes.
Use natural means to polish metal/furniture
For polishing furniture, metal and floor, use lemon or olive oil in combination with vinegar or lemon juice. Use baking soda or vinegar-salt mixture for polishing metals. Polishes and varnishes that you get in the market are toxic to health and environment.
Avoid drain cleaners
No doubt the drain-cleaners are very effective to remove the clogs in drains, but these are highly toxic. Use suction pump to open clogged drains. Better still, prevent clogging. This can be done by using a strainer and by pouring boiling water down the drain three-four times a month.