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Hazardous Waste Storage, Management, and Disposal

Poushali Ganguly
Waste, especially hazardous waste needs to be disposed off in a proper manner. Here's more on that...
Waste is considered 'hazardous' when it has the potential to cause severe health problems, death, as well as environmental issues when not properly disposed, treated, or destroyed. Those that can be classified as hazardous waste are:
  • Radioactive
  • Medical
  • Oxidizing
  • Toxic
  • Ignitable or Inflammable
  • Corrosive
  • Explosive
  • Eco-toxic
These wastes generally come from automobile repair shops, hospitals, exterminators, chemical factories, electroplating companies, oil refineries, and the like. They can be split into three categories:
  • F-list, that comprises waste that comes from industrial and manufacturing operations.
  • K-list, includes the wastes from specific industries like petroleum refining or pesticide manufacturing.
  • P-list and U-list are sub-lists, which include commercial chemical products that are harmful only when they are not treated and discarded well.

Waste Management

All the progressive nations of the world are facing the similar problem of waste management and disposal. Disposal is the second option to management, and sometimes included in it, as some of the waste is such that disposing it would cause more trouble.
Waste management refers to the collection, transportation, processing, and recycling or disposing off the waste. This kind of waste is produced by human activity, and waste management is an effective process of controlling the impact on the mental and physical health of people.
There are several methods by which waste is managed:
  • Landfill
  • Incineration
  • Physical and Biological Reprocessing
  • Energy Recovery
  • Avoidance and Reduction
Landfill refers to the burial of disposable waste. If it is properly designed and well managed, it can be a hygienic as well as cheap method of disposing waste. Incineration refers to the burning of waste material. This is a high temperature waste treatment, and is sometimes also referred to as 'thermal treatment'.
Waste is converted into gas, heat, steam, and ash. It is a very common method of waste disposal, done on both a small and large scale. It helps in disposing solid, liquid, and gaseous waste.
Incineration is an effective way of getting rid of medical waste, though there are many who have the opinion that medical waste, when incinerated, emits gases that are harmful. Recycling is a process, wherein, from the waste, the original resource is extracted, or the waste is reused.
There are various ways and methods of recycling; like cola cans pose a huge environmental nuisance, so they are being recycled on a large scale to get something beneficial out of them. Biological recycling refers to waste that is organic, that is, waste that can decompose and mix with nature, which is its source.
Few examples of such waste is paper, food, dead foliage, and the like, which can be subjected to natural recycling. The gas that is produced during the process can be used to generate electricity.
Energy recovery means, the energy that is in the waste material should not be wasted, as the material is disposed, so the process of energy recovery harnesses the latent energy as direct combustion fuel. This fuel can be used for cooking, heating, or as a fuel for other heat using procedures.
One of the most important methods that is being adopted now is avoidance and reduction of waste material being created. Used products are being reused, and people are being discouraged to use disposable material.
Hazardous waste is also stored, but then, care should be taken about spilling and leaking. There should not be any fumes coming out of the storage, and if there is, corrective steps should be taken immediately.
To prevent any such thing from happening, there should be a secondary containment tray that should be able to hold all the liquid waste that is leaking. Waste is stored so that it can be disposed off after it accumulates to a considerable extent. Stored wastes should be disposed off within six months.
Nowadays, to spread awareness, people are being trained in handling waste and disposing it off. People are receiving waste management, storage, and disposal training, on a general as well as professional level.