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Solid Wastes


What are solid wastes?

Solid wastes refer to everything that goes out in trash. We can define solid wastes as the 'discarded materials other than fluids'.

Types of solid wastes


solid-2Municipal Solid Wastes

  • Wastes from homes, offices, etc.
  • Collected and disposed by the municipality and generally consists of paper, waste food materials, leather, textile, rubber, glass, etc. 
  • Provide breeding ground for files and other insects when they are dumped in the open.

Fly ash

  • Generated by Thermal power plants generate 
  • Composed of oxides of silica, iron and aluminum and low concentrations of toxic heavy metals.

Defunct ships

  • Broken down in developing countries for scrap metal
  • Contain toxic substances like asbestos, mercury, etc. 
  • The workers are not suitably protected and are exposed to toxic chemicals
  • The coastal area becomes polluted.

solid-3Hospital wastes

  • Contain pathogenic microbes, disinfectants and other harmful chem icals.


Industrial wastes

  • Produce large amounts of corrosive and highly inflammable chemicals.

Electronic wastes (e-wastes)

  • Generated in the developed countries and are sent to developing countries where certain metals like copper, iron, etc. are recovered from them. 
  • Workers are exposed to the toxic substances as recycling is done by hand.

Disposal of Solid Wastes

  • Municipal solid wastes are burnt to reduce the volume.
  • Sanitary landfills have been adopted as an alternative to open-burning dumps. 
  • Municipal wastes are incinerated and the heart emitted is used to generate electricity. 
  • They are also recycled for various components. 
  • Fly ash is used in construction industry or buried as landfills it is also used for soil amendment as it increases water retention and aeration of soil. 
  • e-wastes are buried as landfills or incinerated; they are also recycled.


3 R's

  1. Reduce - Instead of buying new, use the ones that are in the house
  2. Reuse – Instead of  throwing away the bottles, they can be used pencil stands or small vases
  3. Recycle – Using cloth shopping bags instead of plastics. It can be used again and again.



Solid Waste & Human Health

  • Rag pickers get chronic diseases as they are directly handling of solid waste.
  • The release of chemical waste from industries into the environment leads to chemical poisoning
  • Municipal waste along with industrial waste creates radioactive hazards to the one who are exposed to it. 
  • Direct dumping of untreated waste in water bodies affect the food chain through the plants and animals that feed on it, because of the accumulation of toxic substances.
  • Hospital and other medical waste requires special attention otherwise they may spread infectious microbes
  • People exposed to hazardous waste may get cancer too in some cases.

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