Environmental Problems In Waste Management

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Large scale urbanization and industrialization, an outcome of global economic development is leading to huge production of both municipal and industrial wastes. The increasing rate at which these wastes are generated is posing serious environmental problems that require immediate attention and strategies for their safe disposal and/or management. Major challenges in waste management are linked to large volume and characteristics of wastes such as toxic organic compounds, heavy metals and pathogenic content. Further, the presence and abundance of microbial content, especially human pathogens is the primary challenge associated with the handling and treatment of wastes. Organic fraction, often a major fraction of both municipal and industrial…show more content…
This practice may also induce soil and plant toxicity and create depressive effects on the metabolism of soil microorganisms by drastically modifying physico-chemical and biological environments of soil (Ayusho et al., 1996; Hait and Tare, 2011a, b). Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for wastes to undergo treatment capable of waste stabilization with complete recycling of nutrients and sanitization prior to application as agronomic amendment (Vesilind, 2001). Hence, there is an utmost requirement of suitable ecofriendly treatment techniques capable of processing various organic wastes into valuable products primarily for agricultural applications. In recent years, biological methods like composting and vermicomposting for processing organic wastes have received much attention due to being effective, economical and…show more content…
Composting is the accelerated biodegradation of organic wastes by microorganisms with simultaneous elimination of pathogenic microbes under thermophilic conditions (Haroun et al., 2009; Hait and Tare, 2011a). However, long duration and frequent turning of material for dissipation of heat and maintaining aerobic condition during composting result in loss of nutrients (Hait and Tare, 2011a). Nevertheless, vermicomposting is a mesophilic waste bio-oxidation and stabilization process where earthworms and diverse microbial communities jointly process organic wastes under aerobic condition to produce nutrients-rich and pathogens-free vermicompost (Domínguez, 2004; Rodríguez-Canché et al., 2010; Hait and Tare, 2011b). Unlike composting, vermicomposting is a mesophilic process (<35°C) during which organic wastes do not undergo thermophilic stabilization that eliminate pathogens. The activity of earthworm effectively reduces the levels of human pathogens in contaminated organic wastes to safe levels. Furthermore, vermicomposting is a better option as it results in a homogeneous product with better quality in terms of desirable aesthetics, reduced levels of pathogenic microbes and more available plant nutrients (Contreras-Ramos et al., 2004; Hait and Tare,

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