Current status of waste management plan
The present status of waste management plans on an already overcrowded planet is precarious and we are all probably heading towards an eco disaster, unless we soon wake up to reality. Not even the best of waste management systems can support itself during the recession periods and it is at these times and conditions that we get to know and realize the vulnerability of our ecosystems. The present waste management systems we get to see are not capable to say the least in handling the growing amounts of global waste generated by the growing population. Most countries, the ones in Asia and Africa especially have huge dump site that resemble hillocks that keep burning round the clock throwing toxic black fumes in the air. This is at present seen as a local phenomenon and a problem that concerns people surrounding the dump site. People do not recognize the global threat posed by these dump sites and only global governance can provide a solution that saves our ecosystem and hence our lives.
It is getting worse by the year
With the exponentially rising global population and increase in gross domestic product per capita of the countries, the amount of waste also increase proportionally and unless we have a proper plan in place we will not be able to manage waste. Unless we are aware of the challenges faced by the waste management industry we will not be able to chalk out a plan that would work for sure and at the same time lead to the evolution of waste management plans in the right direction.
Optimizing a waste management plan
Of all the countries that have good waste management plans in place the best is found in European Union. It has one of the most advanced waste management systems in the world. It is necessary to take one good look at such a plan at least to learn and adopt their best practices and implement the same for the benefit of other countries. The countries of EU have addressed many challenges and their experience in waste management can be of immense use when practiced by others without repeating their mistakes. When one studies the world’s best management systems their successes and failures does provide a very useful insight for evolving a global strategy on waste management. Comparing with other countries we understand rather very clearly that the European Union is leaps ahead and still moving forward to a better, and more environmentally sound waste management system. We also find that landfills and methane emissions that are abundantly found in third world countries are remarkably reduced. Mechanical biological treatment and waste to energy facilities are expanding in various forms and recycling is a major trend with remarkable results.
Waste management data
Consider the following statistics:
- From 2000 to 2008 the EU has exported plastic waste of 2.27 million tones.
- The percentage of plastic waste rose by 250%.
- Plastic waste annually recycled in Europe equals 5 million tones.
- Nearly 87% of these exports are going to China.
- The first quarter of 2009 saw a 33% increase in exports compared to the previous year.
- Amount of non-hazardous waste exported to Asia increased tenfold for waste paper; eleven fold for plastics and fivefold for metals between 1995 and 2007.
- The amount of paper and cardboard packaging waste recycled has increased from about 24 to 30 million tons.
- The amount of plastic packaging recycled has increased from about 10 to 14 million tons.
It is clear from the above data that the success of EU waste management depends largely on the ability of Asia to absorb waste shipments. The current recycling levels would not be impressive but for Asia that receives huge amounts of recyclables. The best waste management system in the world depends largely on a global trade of waste materials. This makes the need for waste management plan all the more necessary.