Impact of Waste Accumulation

Impact of Waste Accumulation – If wastes are allowed to accumulate and are not disposed of carefully, then they will not only affect our environment but will also affect our health.

  • When accumulated wastes are left open and unattended, they begin to decompose. This results in the growth and multiplication of a number of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi that carry germs of various diseases to human settlements.
  • The decomposition of wastes also produces various gases which pollute the air around us.
  • During the rainy season, rain water takes various decomposed wastes containing pathogens to water bodies causing water pollution.

Impact of Waste Accumulation on Landscape

  • Waste accumulation ruins the natural beauty of the landscape. Apart from this, it also becomes the thriving ground for rats and other disease-carrying germs.
  • Burning of coal, fuel or wood produces sulphur and nitrogen which react with oxygen to form sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide, respectively. When these gases react with water vapour, sulphuric acid and nitric acid are formed. Precipitation of water along with these acids forms acid rain.
  • When monuments come into contact with acid rain, gypsum and calcium are washed away leading to their corrosion. Examples: The Parthenon of Athens, the Colosseum of Rome, the Taj Mahal of Agra

Impact of Waste Accumulation on Pollution

  • Pollution is caused by the introduction of harmful substances into the atmosphere. It is caused by the addition of waste toxic chemicals or gases into the atmosphere.
  • Accumulation of waste leads to pollution. Industries, household activities, hospitals, restaurants, and agricultural practices (such as the use of fertilizers) are the main sources of pollution.
  • In open dumping, wastes are dumped in open spaces located far away from the limits of the city. This kind of waste disposal is not safe and has many limitations. The dumping of different types of wastes makes such dumping grounds the breeding ground of mosquitoes and flies. When these wastes are carried by rainwater to nearby lakes, rivers, or ponds it results in water pollution.
  • Industrial wastes contain harmful chemicals such as lead and mercury. These chemicals enter animal and human bodies by the food chain.

Eutrophication

It is a process in which oxygen begins to deplete from water bodies either naturally or because of human activities. Nutrients and chemicals are discharged into water bodies through sewage and effluents. Accumulation of these in water bodies results in the growth of phytoplankton and algae. This obstructs the penetration of oxygen and sunlight into water bodies which may result in the death of aquatic organisms.


Impact of Waste Accumulation on Health Hazards

  • Respiratory infections and irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat. It causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, and allergic reactions.
  • Air pollution may also cause chronic respiratory diseases, lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even damages the nerves, kidneys, and liver.
  • Pathogens are disease-causing bacteria that are present in wastewater. When contaminated water is consumed, pathogens enter the human body. It may cause various water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, and jaundice.
  • Metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium dissolved in water may cause several diseases if they enter the human body. When water contaminated with cadmium was consumed by people in Japan, they were affected by a disease called Itai-Itai. Similarly, a disease known as Minamata affected the Japanese after they consumed fish that had large concentrations of mercury. Lead can affect the blood system and can lead to behavioral disorders.
  • Radiations are extremely dangerous for human health as they produce harmful changes in the body cells and affect genes.
  • When people are exposed to radiation, their offspring may also be affected and gene mutations may be transmitted to future generations. These are known as genetic variations.
  • When a person is exposed to radioactive pollution, damage may be caused to the body organs. It may result in lung cancer, brain cancer, thyroid cancer, sterility, and reduced or defective eyesight.

Also, Read Waste Management-II