Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

In news: Ghazipur Landfill


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Landfills

Mains level : Social and environmental threats posed by Landfills

The Ghazipur landfill site rises by nearly 10 metres a year and is expected to surpass the height of Qutub Minar and other vertical structures in the country.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2016:

Q.What can be the impact of excessive/inappropriate use of nitrogenous fertilizers in agriculture?

  1. Proliferation of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms in soil can occur.
  2. Increase in the acidity of soil can take place.
  3. Leaching of nitrate to the ground-water can occur.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

What are Landfills?

  • A landfill site, also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump, or dumping ground, is a site for the disposal of waste materials.
  • Some landfill sites are also used for waste management purposes, such as temporary storage, consolidation and transfer, or for various stages of processing waste material, such as sorting, treatment, or recycling.

Threats posed by landfills

Landfills have the potential to cause a number of issues. Infrastructure disruption, such as damage to access roads by heavy vehicles, may occur amongst others.

1) Leachate

  • When precipitation falls on open landfills, water percolates through the garbage and becomes contaminated with suspended and dissolved material, forming leachate.
  • If this is not contained it can contaminate groundwater.

2) Decomposition gases

  • Rotting food and other decaying organic waste create decomposition gases, especially CO2 and CH4 from aerobic and anaerobic decomposition, respectively.
  • Both processes occur simultaneously in different parts of a landfill.

3) Other threats

  • Poorly run landfills may become nuisances because of vectors such as rats and flies which can spread infectious diseases.
  • The occurrence of such vectors can be mitigated through the use of daily cover.
  • Other potential issues include wildlife disruption due to occupation of habitat and animal health disruption caused by consuming waste from landfills, dust, odour, noise pollution, and reduced local property values.

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