Do people know what they throw into the garbage or how it affects the environment and human health? Unfortunately, most people don’t know what hazardous wastes are or their impacts. Firstly, waste is needed to define. Waste means any discarded, rejected, abandoned, unwanted or surplus matter, whether or not intended for sale or for recycling, reprocessing, recovery or purification by a separate operation from that which produced the matter (EPA, 2019). A hazardous waste, simply defined, is a waste that has features that make it dangerous or capable of harming human health or the environment (EPA, 2015). With the definition of hazardous wastes, people think that those wastes cannot be generated from households. However, there are some examples which use in households such as pesticides, nail polishers, batteries. Those examples are only a few household hazardous wastes. Thus, people often throw those wastes into bins or drains without knowing the effects on nature and human health.
There is a convention which was named the Basel Convention, to control all hazardous waste. The Basel Convention was registered in 1992 and as of February 2018, 185 states and European Union are parties to the convention including Turkey. The Basel Convention unifies global toxic import management to provide a method that allows them to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. The Basel Convention aims to regulate hazardous waste commerce (The Basel Convention: From Hazardous Waste to Plastic Pollution, 2019). Therefore, while industrial hazardous wastes are tracked by the governments, household hazardous waste is not. The reason for that a little number of household wastes are accepted as hazardous waste (Household hazardous wastes include only 1 percent of the municipal wastes). However, this doesn’t mean that their negative effects on the environment and public health are little.
Each hazardous wastes has the potential to be harmful to both human health and the environment. The dumping of household hazardous wastes through drains, trash cans or storm sewers, for example, could corrode plumbing: pollute groundwater, rivers, and streams; taint public water supplies; and possibly cause toxic buildup in food chains (Conn et al, 2007).
What is the solution to this problem? People need to be aware of those household hazardous wastes which use in daily life and dispose of them in the specific bins because if hazardous wastes and nonhazardous wastes collect with the same bins, all of the wastes become hazardous waste, which means the increment of hazardous wastes. Also, with the collection of hazardous wastes separately, the disposal of these kinds of waste will conduct in different ways more carefully. Thus, every individual has a possibility to protect the environment and human health by being aware of the wastes he/she throw into the garbage bin every day. As a result, people can save the world with a little effort!
Parties to the Basel Convention, (2021). Retrieved from; http://www.basel.int/Countries/StatusofRatifications/PartiesSignatories/tabid/4499/Default.aspx#enote1
The Basel Convention: From Hazardous Waste to Plastic Pollution, 2021. Retrieved from; https://www.csis.org/analysis/basel-convention-hazardous-waste-plastic-pollution
Waste Definitions. (2021). Retrieved from; https://www.epa.sa.gov.au/files/4771336_guide_waste_definitions.pdf
W. David Conn, Denise W. Scott, Valerie Birch, John T. Novak & Domenic Forcella. (1989) Managing Household Hazardous Waste, Journal of the American Planning Association, 55:2, 192-203.