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Waste and Disease

Waste and Disease

There are various sources of waste, such as, human and animal waste, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, industrial and medical waste, food and mineral waste among which household and biomedical waste are the major sources of waste. Unhygienic use of plastics and electronic waste (e-waste) such as abandoned computers, mobile phones, refrigerators and other electronic devices also contribute toward the increasing volume of waste.

Environmental pollution

All these types of waste cause environmental pollution and many serious health problems if not disposed and managed appropriately. Improper disposal of waste transmits high risk of spreading diseases which can happen in many ways. Waste attracts insects, flies, rats, birds or pathogens which are potential for spreading diseases and infections. Organic waste easily gets fermented and leads to favorable conditions for the breeding of pathogens, such as, bacteria and virus. Direct exposure to such waste results in several chronic and infectious diseases. Wet waste generates bad odor which causes air pollution and creates an unhygienic condition.

Unattended solid waste often helps forming still water which becomes the breeding place of diseases. Sometimes, waste site contaminates with ground water which also carries high risk of transporting diseases. Also accumulation of wastes is a concern due to aesthetics reason. Medical waste and bio-waste (discarded syringe needles, samples containing blood or internal tissue, bandage or plasters) are considered having high risk of spreading diseases. Therefore waste from medical laboratories, health centers and hospitals require special attention for disposal.

E-waste contains harmful chemical elements like lead, cadmium, mercury. If e-waste is unscientifically disposed, it becomes toxic and might pollute the air, water bodies and soil which in turn will affect all the living bodies. This results in lung cancer, kidney failure and nervous disorder. According to a recent study, "More than 30% kids in Bangalore are born with the chronic disease Asthma. This is due to poisonous elements like lead, cadmium and mercury, which are released when e-waste is burnt,"

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