lawyers in India

Domestic Waste: Hazard To The Life And Its Effect on Human Being

Written by: Azim Khan B. Pathan - Lawyer and LL.M. student From Nagpur
Arbitration Law
Legal Service
  • The problem of Domestic Waste is drawing increasing attention of the people as huge garbage is lying down uncollected beside the roads, streets dustbins and on the ground which is causing threat to the environment as well as endangering public health.

    This waste is generated as consequences of household activities such as the cleaning, cooking, repairing empty containers, packaging, huge use of plastic carry bags. Many times these waste gets mixed with biomedical waste from hospitals and clinics. There is no system of segregation of organic, inorganic and recyclable wastes at the household level. Door-to-door collection is rarely practiced community collection bins are poorly managed and are usually no more than open dumps on the roadside.

    The improper handling and management of Domestic Waste from households are causing adverse effect on the public at large and this deteriorates the environment.

    The municipal workers are most affected people by the occupational danger (hazard) of waste handling, they suffer from illness like eye problems respiratory problems, gastro and skin problems. The persons who wander for collecting the discarded things for selling purpose through wastes also suffer from various health problems like respiratory problem from inhaling particles, infection from direct contact with contaminated materials which lead to headache, diarrhea, fever and cough and cold.

    The growing problem of lack of solid waste management collection as well as improper disposal techniques also lead to various diseases and even death of the animals specially cows, birds and stray dogs who wander and rummages through the waste for food. These wastes are having different characteristics and having toxic elements. Many times the animals like the cows, buffalos eat up the plastics alongwith the food and due it the death of animals ensues. Due to eating up of waste generated food it affect the quality and quantity of the milk products of the animals.

    The improper management and lack of disposal technique of the domestic waste pollutes to the environment. It affects the water bodies. It also changes the physical, chemical and biological properties of the water bodies. Uncollected waste is scattered everywhere and reaches to the water bodies through run-off as well as it percolate to underground water. The toxics contain in the waste, contaminates water. It also makes soil infertile and decrease the agricultural productivity.

    Due to uncollected waste and improper disposal techniques drains also get clogged which lead to mosquitoes by which various diseases like malaria, chicken-guinea, wirel fever, dengue etc. arise and affect the health of people adversely.

    The Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, which was framed by the Central Government under the power coffered upon it by environment protection Act 1986, rules came into force from 2000. Even after passing 7 years of the rules there is tremendous lack of literacy programmes on waste management and disposal techniques which keeps the most of the people ignorant about waste management. This lack of awareness among the people increases the problems.

    The apathetic Governmental attitude towards the disposal of waste is a problem that has led to difficulties in implementation of “The Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2000” as it has led to ignorance towards uncollected domestic waste. The waste processing and disposal facility has to be set up by the Municipal Authority on their own or through the operator of facility, as well as they have to follow the standards as specified under the Rules of 2000.
    The improper and apathetic attitude towards management of Domestic Solid Waste has adverse effects on the society as well as environment causing various diseases like diarrhea, fever, cough and cold, headache, chicken-guinea etc. to the people living nearby areas of such local dustbins, to the municipal workers and also the animals like cows, birds who wander through these waste for food. Uncollected Domestic Waste is causing health hazard as well as polluting to the environment endangering the life of the people at large.

    It is one of the biggest source of environment pollution. Land is polluted with the waste dumped upon it, makes the soil infertile. contaminates the water bodies, affect the aquatic life which through food chain reaches the human being as well as in organic compounds. Due to the discarded plastics carry bags and uncollected waste there is drain clogging which leads to stagnant water and becomes breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects. All this happens because there is no proper management and collection of solid waste which ultimately causes grave threat to the human beings and animals life.

    With the growing population the huge waste is being generated day by day. There is wide use of plastics, advanced technology and other materialistic things. This resulted in different characteristics of waste which became complicated problem for management of Domestic Waste and disposal techniques.
    This is such a burning problem concerned with environment that needs to be carefully studied and researched as on every street waste is lying uncollected scattered around local bins and dumped around locality consequently there is occurrence of bad smell as well as hazard to the human health and to the passerby.

    This is such a delicate problem that even judiciary has taken note of the same. Even in recent judgement of Rajasthan High court in the Suo Motu action taken against the administration of Jaipur city, Justice D. V. Singh held that right to life includes the right to food, clothing, shelter, right to reasonable accommodation to live in, right to descent environment and also right to live in clean city. Even in the case of Municipal Council, Ratlam V. Vardichand, the case which was the beginning point of environment jurisprudence in India in which justice Krishna Iyer attributed the pollution free environment and public health with that of Human right aspect. Judgment and decisions of the judiciary have proved that pollution free environment and clean city is facet of Right to life.

    Some of the suggestions to eradicate the problem of domestic waste faced by the people:
    # The government should take into account all the factors responsible for environment pollution and should give the priority for effective enforcement of Environmental Laws and Rules.
    # There should be concerted efforts of government for spreading the awareness among the people about the importance of cleanliness and protection of environment through the communication media as well as organizing awareness camps at local levels.
    # Immediate attention should be given to integrate the role of NGOs, private sectors and rag pickers, the emerging actors in the field of waste disposal, for overall institutional framework.
    # Efforts should be taken for strengthening local authorities, scientifically and technologically, for providing training to existing manpower and exchanging information and integrating knowledge by complementing the efforts of agencies dealing with environment.
    # Efforts at individual levels should be promoted.
    # Need to educate the people to store waste at source, dispose of the waste as per the directions of the local bodies and effectively participate in the activities of local bodies to keep the cities clean.
    # People should form the habit of storing waste at source in their own houses and deposit such waste into the municipal system only.
    # There should be separate waste disposal policy through the Central Government and should separately allocate budget and work with the help of effective institutional arrangements at local level.
    # ‘Environment’ this entry should be placed in concurrent list.
    # Cleanliness should be developed as a part of culture.
    # There should be a change in the mindset of the people and they should avoid luxurious life style which creates more waste.
    # People’s participation in the implementation of Laws and Rules should be increased by making them aware about their right and duties through legal literacy camps.
    # Government should revise its policies and enact new legislation pertaining to proper disposal of Domestic Waste and providing stricter compliance provisions.
    # Administrative machinery should be geared up to solve the problem faced by people at large.
    # At individual level people should try to dispose Domestic Waste by digging pit in their yards and putting biodegradable waste into pit and shielding it from rain water which further can be used as compost manure.
    # Society should find ways and means to cut down Domestic Waste.
    # Domestic Waste should not be thrown in the neighbourhood, on the streets; roadsides open spaces and vacant lands, into drains or water bodies.
    # Dry waste should be segregated from wet biodegradable waste; recyclable waste should be given to agencies.
    # Solid waste management programs should be targeted for reduction in the regions waste and should provide incentives for decreased generation of waste.
    # Stringent penalty must be imposed on people who throw away waste outside houses or on the street.
    # People should make use of thing which they can use for long time and not just use and throw.
    # Composting of Domestic Waste at the household level and community level should be encouraged through public education and dissemination of information on composting technique.
    # Mere dumping of Domestic Waste without treatment in nearby locality should be avoided by the local municipal authorities.
    # Scientific and proper disposal techniques for safe disposal of domestic waste should be used by the local authorities.

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