Hazardous. The word seems to conjure a threatening feeling and is sometimes automatically associated with death. Even when using hazardous to describe waste, it is done so not with relative ease. The picture of poisonous chemical-waste materials then comes to mind, whose warningsoften represented by the proverbial skull and bonesare even more threatening. But the truth is, these kinds are not the only hazardous waste people have to deal with. There are, in fact, safe materials (such as household products) that, after use, can qualify as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is anything that has potentially dangerous ingredients and properties, and that which may put to great risk public health and the environment if an effective hazardous waste management system is not in place.
With that description in mind, hazardous waste can be anything from the oil generated by factories and industries to the cleaning chemicals used at home and the pesticide used by gardeners. Generally, these are the products that are corrosive, flammable, radioactive, explosive, toxic, and reactive. As products, careful use is necessary, and as waste materials, proper storage and disposal is likewise important. Failure to establish hazardous waste management may result in health problems and, in some serious cases, death.
Managing hazardous wastes
Because of the associated risks, the government in general and households and companies in particular should institute appropriate hazardous waste management. And every effort should begin with distinguishing which products end up as hazardous waste. This is important to properly separate them from all the other waste materials and to have a secure place for storage. Hazardous waste is usually stored in containerssome use drumsand should be labeled. Pouring hazardous waste down the sink is not encouraged as doing so can contaminate the groundwater and may harm surface plants, animal life, and the water systems at large.
Businesses, especially those that are big hazardous waste generators, hire agencies and individuals to help them manage, transport, and dispose of their hazardous waste. Households, on the other hand, normally rely on the services and facilities established by local governments. In some cities, for instance, collection programs are enacted where hazardous waste materials are picked up door-to-door. The core principle here is that every entity, whether a household or a company, is responsible for its own waste and is taking every measure to properly manage and keep it from harming the environment and many lives.
Once collected and transported, hazardous waste materials would be then disposed of. One common method of disposing them is through incineration. Commonly done with medical waste, incineration involves burning the waste. Another method of hazardous waste disposal is waste injection, which means depositing the waste deep down the ground.
The success of hazardous waste management lies in the enactment of legislations, which gave way to the creation of facilities and agencies that would ensure proper hazardous waste management is taking place. Assuming individual responsibility also plays a big role. Although compliance is a major factor, concern for lives and the environment usually encourages accountability.