Burning garbage has been a common and easiest solution to manage garbage in or out of the house. The effect to human health and environment of burning garbage is disregarded in the community. Surprising thing is that it doesn’t matter what the materials is as long as it catches fire it is being put on fire. Slippers, shoes, bags, electronic items, tire, plastic and paper are the most common ones that get burnt away. Sadly, federal government has only option to urge local authority to make people stop burning garbage but hardly anyone gets prosecuted or fined.
A study conducted by the Department of Environment shows the burning of waste contributes 19 percent to the air pollution. A recent study commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development showed that more than 80 percent Nepalis living in urban areas breathe air that exceeds safety limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) Source: Kathmandu Post. Without any doubt open burning of garbage is contributing for exceeding pollution level in air.
Impacts of open burning
Breathing difficulty, irritating eyes, are quite common symptoms observed. Despite of that smoke, emission from burning garbage can contain toxic fumes and chemicals which can cause cancer. Emitted particular matter can impact young people and elderly more. The odors can bother passerby. Residue from burning can contaminate ground water. Burning garbage can emit nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic chemicals, dioxin and much more.
Most importantly exposure to toxic chemical and fumes emitting from burning garbage can cause bio-accumulation and toxicity in humans. Which means the toxic chemical emitting from the burning of garbage poses a great threat to man. Chemical lands on the plants which are eaten by animals and stored up in their fatty tissue. When we slaughter these animals for meat the chemicals will also end up ingesting the meat and products from these animals.
Once in the body, they alter the normal functioning of the body, cell division, they affect the reproductive system. They suppress the immune system and disrupt both the immune and the hormonal systems in the body rendered the body susceptible to a myriad of health related problems. Read more about effects of open burning.
What to do to stop burning?
Winter is around the corner. People will burn anything considered garbage or catches fire to get away with cold.
1. You can sell recyclable( paper, plastic, electronics) to vendors or scrap collectors.
2. Donate you unwanted textiles. Youth from 100s Group in Nepal have started accepting clothes, shoes for donation.
3. Make a compost of kitchen waste and other bio waste. If not possible use it as mulch around vegetables or any plant.
Burning garbage is not the appropriate solution to manage waste as it seems an easier option. There are short and long term consequences of burning garbage on children, pregnant women, elderly and even adult too. Lets see if we can make someone understand that spreading poisonous chemicals in the air by burning garbage can be deadly and urge him/her to be a good and responsible neighbor.