Poor Solid Waste Management: The Health Effects

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Poor solid waste management is a common environmental issue that not only affects developed, but developing countries as well. Landfills, recycling failures, and poor waste transfers characterize it (Environment Victoria, 2015). Poor waste management is an environmental issue because it not only creates “eyesores,” but also emits toxins, leachate, and greenhouse gases (Environment Victoria, 2015). These characteristics cause environmental pollution through surface water contamination and soil contamination (Environment Victoria, 2015). Indeed, many materials that make up solid waste contain toxins and other harmful gases that affect the environment.

Poor solid waste management is a common cause of concern for communities and governments alike because of its impact on local communities. Experts say it could cause health problems by increasing the level of pollutants in the atmosphere, albeit slowly and in small quantities (Rushton, 2003). Low birth weight is a health issue commonly reported among newly born babies living around landfill areas. Cancer studies also show a direct relationship between poor solid waste management and a high incidence of cancer (Rushton, 2003). Similarly, people living around landfill areas report respiratory problems and congenital malformations by living around landfill areas (Rushton, 2003). These health challenges show that poor solid waste management is a public health issue.

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The above-mentioned health issues affect local populations through different kinds of exposure. For example, respiratory problems often occur through air pollution because landfills release contaminants in the air (Environment Victoria, 2015). People inhale them through their lungs and have poor health as a result (Rushton, 2003). Poor solid waste management also affects human beings through soil contamination. Plants absorb these chemicals from the soil and people ingest the chemicals by eating the plants (Rushton, 2003). Landfills also affect the health of local communities through surface water contamination. When people use this water to drink, bathe, or feed their livestock, they get sick. Therefore, the potential for solid waste contamination covers three areas – air, water, and food (Environment Victoria, 2015). Everybody is exposed.

The concern for contamination arises from an established risk assessment. The health effects highlighted in this paper emerge from scientific studies that have proved that poor solid waste management has a negative impact on people (Environment Victoria, 2015). Therefore, the burden of proof is there. This proof makes it impossible to use a precautionary approach to explain the public health issue.

Based on the health effects of poor solid waste management, and its multiple channels of exposure, this health issue is a major concern. However, few people pay attention to it because they believe that it mainly affects people who live close to landfill areas (Environment Victoria, 2015). Their lack of concern exacerbates the seriousness of the health issue because it increases people’s risk exposure to landfill waste. There needs to be greater awareness regarding this public health issue because, similar to global warming, which affects people around the world, pollution in one landfill area is bound to affect people from other areas as well (Environment Victoria, 2015).

Before writing this paper, I overtly knew about the level of pollution going on through poor solid waste management. However, I did not fully comprehend the types of health risks caused by the environmental issue. For example, I did not understand the multiple exposure channels of landfill contamination. Similarly, I did not understand that landfill waste contamination in one area of the country could affect the food supply in another part of the country. Generally, my views about this health issue changed after discovering that everybody is at risk of landfill waste contamination.

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Poor Solid Waste Management: The Health Effects. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/poor-solid-waste-management-the-health-effects/
“Poor Solid Waste Management: The Health Effects.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/poor-solid-waste-management-the-health-effects/
Poor Solid Waste Management: The Health Effects. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/poor-solid-waste-management-the-health-effects/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Poor Solid Waste Management: The Health Effects [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/poor-solid-waste-management-the-health-effects/
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