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People are creating more waste than ever. Bins are overflowing faster and faster, partly due to all of the packaging food comes in nowadays, and partly due to reduced collection times. That is why it’s more important than ever to deal with it efficiently.
Naples is a major example of what can come of poor waste management, with toxic waste being dumped around the city have led to high rates of cancer, birth defects and allergies. Surat in India also had 52 casualties from a pneumonic plague in 1994 caused by lack of hygiene control.
Those are both the worst-case scenarios, but even something as insignificant as overflowing bins isn’t something that can be ignored, because they all have negative effects too. Waste handlers need to be aware of the main problems of this condition to go about combating it.
Bacteria, insects and various vermin all make overflowing bins their breeding grounds quite often. You may have often seen flies coming in droves, with the summer heat being ideal for growing bacteria in waste, or rats gnawing at leftover food. Many of the former often lay their eggs in this sort of environment, so leftover or rotting food will make an ideal place for flies.
These pests going around your bins, or even coming in contact with nearby food, will lead to risks of salmonella and, by extension, typhoid fever, food poisoning, enteric fever and gastroenteritis, amongst many more.
To stop this, making sure the waste is placed somewhere away from more fresh, uncontaminated items such as fruit and vegetables will be a good start in making sure the area isn’t completely contaminated by bacteria and pests spreading.
As the chemicals of rotting waste spread into the air, often emitting high amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, the air pollution caused will lead to not only damages to the climate of the area around it, but can cause many health problems related to the air, such as breathing ailments when the polluted air enters the lungs.
Making sure the waste is disposed of far away from houses is the very least that can be done in fixing this. Putting a focus on the growth of trees, to absorb carbon dioxide emissions, would also be something that would help more businesses become more eco-friendly.
Whenever waste is brought into the water, be it food, plastic, chemical or simple liquid wastes, it will affect the composition of the water’s chemicals. The most dangerous items for water surfaces include batteries, computer parts and painting equipment.
This contamination bringing rise to water pollution will affect all parts of the ecosystem, with the water being consumed by the animals drinking it, or the fish and other marine life living within it. When roughly 70% of the planet is covered in water, the water pollution will be a domino effect for all other parts of the planet, from consumption of contaminated water to the flow of such water into larger bodies such as oceans.
This is very difficult pollution to fix, though efforts have been made to do so. The Seabin is one method amongst many drainage attempts to prevent further pollution coming to the oceans. Unfortunately, as of yet, only preventing further waste building up is available, rather than being able to actively reduce the problem.
When waste handlers finally get around to dealing with the overflowing bins, they must proceed with caution. Infections, chronic diseases and general accidents are all risks associated with handling waste that can cause wounds or illnesses from either sharp waste objects or vermin animals, which can further lead to skin or blood infections. An even greater illness would be intestinal problems coming from the bacteria flies carry and transmit when eating the waste. Because of this, wearing durable gloves is essential for any waste handler, as well as possibly masks to cover the mouth in cases of severe contamination.
Along with all that has been mentioned, the build-up of waste can be a nuisance for those around it, for reasons such as the odour it creates or scattered litter being a safety hazard for walking. The idea of tripping on a banana skin is more than just a tired comedy trope, but an example of what can come when walking somewhere with a large amount of waste. Unsightly amounts of waste in the open can lead to a loss of tourism to certain areas as a result. This isn’t only expensive to clean up, but will cull your country’s earnings.
So, what can be done to prevent this problem with bins on a wider scale?
Some of the solutions are quite simple, like getting more regular collections, or making efforts to reduce the waste you generate.
As for more specialised solutions, smart solar-powered compactor bins are popular in many public areas. These can hold up to eight times as much waste as normal bins due to their compaction process, function through solar power to be eco-friendly, and have the technology to inform those collecting the waste when the bin is about to become full to prevent them overflowing!
In smaller areas, smart fill-level sensors in bins are more appropriate in terms of spacing, playing the same role in monitoring when the bin is full. A monitoring platform can also be put in place to plan out future collections ahead of time, making collections far more efficient and costs being reduced by 50%.
With new ways to use bins, overflowing bins may soon stop being a problem, hopefully bringing an end to the problems of large amounts of business and household waste as well. That being said, we’ll probably find a way to make more waste in the meantime.
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