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Failure To Dispose Off Municipal Wastes Safely Can Cause A Huge Public Health Disaster!
As urbanization continues management of wastes (both solid and liquid) is becoming a major public health and environmental problem in countries like Somaliland. The concern is serious particularly in major cities.
For instance, a typical solid waste management system in a country like Somaliland displays an array of problems. Such problems include: low collection or irregular collection services, indiscriminate open dumping and burning without air and water pollution control.
Unfortunately, poor waste management enhances or propagates and in fact promotes the breeding of flies and pests, rats and mice; cockroaches and parasites; fleas and lice, bedbugs and other scavengers and other disease transferring agents….hence the need for a waste management and safe disposal.
Waste; what is it? Waste is a widely used term. It means different things to different people. Meanings of waste range from wilderness to uselessness. To many it means decay, ruin, pollution, dirt, garbage, refuse, trash and, junk etc. But in short, waste is what is worthless or unused for human purposes. The management of it is its collection and disposal. However, the manner by which it is collected and disposed of is a topic of great debate. One only has to look at the volume of waste on our cities curbsides for pick-up to realize the enormity of what has to be dealt with: All waste material has to end up somewhere. One way or another, it ends up in the environment, that being a combination of the air, land and water.
As is often the case, what an urban area does not want or cannot contain within its boundaries, the solution is often to move the problem to the countryside. This can cause a huge public health problem. In fact is a disaster to public health that is waiting to happen any time!
Communities in history were filthy and outbreaks of disease were common. Waste sat and accumulated in the streets and streams, ditches and pools that were also used for washing and drinking. These water sources were in general unclean. Urban air was filled with smoke and foul odors. In those poor conditions, diseases such as typhoid were spread by contaminated water. The day to day production of wastes would even be dumped directly into the street to be scavenged by animals, birds and other insects or would accumulate until being washed away by a heavy rain.
However, worldwide, municipalities later improved the health situation by gradually taking over the provision of clean water, the clearing of streets, the removal of trash and sewage and by regulating discharges. And the filthy cities which sat in a clean countryside, have been replaced by the relatively clean cities of today but sadly encircled at a distance by their wastes. Unfortunately, this is specially so today in poor Somaliland.
Today, problems caused by waste dump sites range from the contamination of nearby water sources to gas explosions and uncontrollable fires. Despite these problems, waste dump sites are the method of choice for poor Somaliland, particularly for large cities.
In fact, according to the UN Center for Human Settlements, only between 25 and 55 per cent of all waste generated in big cities is collected by municipal authorities. This percentage is far lower in Somaliland big cities. And the UNDP estimates that worldwide, more than five million people die each year from diseases related to inadequate waste disposal This estimate is certainly proportionately even much higher in Somaliland as the indiscriminate dumping of wastes into environment contaminates national food and water source supplies.
Municipal Solid Waste Management
Municipal solid waste comprises refuse from, households, non-hazardous, solid waste from industrial, commercial and institutional, establishments, market waste, yard waste and street sweepings. And its management is a cyclical, goal-oriented process. It includes all phases of waste collection, recycling, treatment and disposal.
Effective Municipal Solid Waste Management calls for an appropriate distribution of responsibilities, authority and revenues. In cities, inter-municipal cooperation is essential. De-centralization of authority requires a corresponding distribution of powers and capacities. Waste generation is also conditioned by people’s attitudes. People’s attitudes towards waste may be positively affected. Local waste management also depends on reliable collection options and consensus among Neighbors.
The scope of Municipal Solid Waste Management encompasses planning and management systems, waste generation processes, and organizations, procedures and facilities for waste handling. Development strategies comprise specific objectives and measures in these areas.
Factors That Hamper Waste Management
The social status of solid waste management workers is generally low in all countries but much so in developing countries. This owes much to a negative perception of people regarding the work which involves the handling of waste or unwanted material. Such people's perception leads to the disrespect for the work and in turn produces low working ethics of laborers and poor quality of their work.
Because of insufficient resources available in the government sector, collaborative projects often have attempted to mobilize community resources and develop community self-help activities. Results are a mixture of success and failures. Failed projects with inactive communities usually did not provide people in the community with incentives to participate in activities. The lack of public awareness and school education about the importance of proper solid waste management for health and well-being of people severely restricts the use of community-based approaches in developing countries.
At dump sites, transfer stations, and street refuse bins, waste picking or scavenging activities are common scenes in developing countries. People involved have not received school education and vocational training to obtain knowledge and skills required for other jobs. The existence of waste pickers/scavengers creates often an obstacle to the operation of solid waste collection and disposal services. However, if organized properly, their activities can be effectively incorporated into a waste recycling system.
People are certainly one of the primary resources of any nation and failure to insure their wellbeing is certainly a mistake. But our elected official’s apathy or indifference to realities and communities’ indulgence into khat chewing sessions often destroy our health. And while our wasting of their most valuable resource, time and health losses are a sorrowful saga that we all see happening in our communities and hampering the development of Left To Itself Poor Somaliland.
Goals Of Municipal Solid Waste Management
Open Waste Dump Problems: