For the past twelve days, Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala, has been shrouded in heavy smoke after a fire broke out at the Brahmapuram waste plant.
Although the fire at the garbage dump and waste plant location was controlled by March 5, the Kochi Corporation has been struggling to combat the toxic haze and smog. In response, the Kerala High Court has given an ultimatum to the authorities and demanded that the government present an action plan by Friday.
As a result of the fire, the air quality in Kochi has decreased, prompting authorities to advise residents to wear N-95 masks when going out. Additionally, schools have instructed younger students to stay at home.
The extensive smoke coverage in various areas has caused PM2.5 and PM10 particulate levels in Kochi’s air to exceed the recommended standards, as indicated on the Kerala Pollution Control Board website.
Residents, who are struggling due to the situation, have been advised to wear N-95 masks while stepping outside. Meanwhile, schools have directed younger students to stay at home.
Serious health issues await those who inhale this toxic smoke, and it is a fact that the authorities’ inability to control waste management issues is not due to a lack of technology. Rather, it is due to a lack of knowledge, long-term vision, and practicality.
Here is a list of countries with the best recycling and waste management ethics.
Effective waste management is crucial for the sustainability of any region or country. It is high time for authorities to explore and study how other countries are managing their waste efficiently.
Various countries have implemented successful waste management strategies that prioritize waste reduction, recycling, and reuse.
By learning from these countries, authorities can adopt innovative and sustainable waste management practices to reduce the impact of waste on the environment and public health.
Here are some countries that are working towards maintaining zero-waste practices by focusing on zero-waste resource management and other policies:
The country created a mandatory recycling scheme to maintain high recycling rates.
By 2002, Germany recycled up to 56% of its garbage. Managing waste in Germany starts from the household.
The majority of German residents are zero-waste inclined. Consumers separate their household waste according to the country’s recycling scheme. There are six separate garbage bins for food waste, plastic waste, and other types of garbage.
The yellow bin is for plastic, the white bin is for clear glass, the green bin is for green glass, the brown bin is for brown glass, the blue bin is for paper waste, and the last bin is for organic and food waste. These distinctions make it easy for recycling plants to maintain a proper recycling process with no hitch, unlike other countries with a lower recycling rate.
In addition, Germany implemented Energiewende, a roadmap to a low-carbon and renewable energy transition. Because of the high recycling practices in Germany, the amount of waste sent to landfills has reduced significantly
Austria has its own waste sorting policies. The citizens of Austria use brown garbage bins to collect organic waste so they can process it into compost. The gray bin is for clear glass, the green bin is for colored glass, the yellow bin is for PET bottles and cans, and the black bin is for trash that you can’t recycle.
Also, Austria has a national heating network that keeps houses warm during the winter and summer periods.
The city of Vienna strongly relies on biomass to produce energy. They generated energy by burning waste they couldn’t recycle. Burning trash is not a no-waste practice as it releases greenhouse gas emissions.
However, in Vienna, the fumes go through a triple filter system to ensure emissions are as low as possible. This makes it safer than dumping waste in landfills.
The high levels of waste produced after the boom in the country’s economy filled up landfills and caused the air quality to reduce.
Also, the earth and water quality reduced drastically. South Korea created its Waste Management Law in 1986, a practical step to achieving a no-waste country.
The law focused on reducing the millions of tonnes of waste dumped at landfills. To reduce the high quantities of plastic in the garbage, the government banned the use of disposable plastic bags and containers.
They also introduced a volume-based waste fee and producer responsibility scheme. These schemes improved the rate at which the citizens of South Korea recycled packaging products and other recyclable materials and reduced the quantity of waste produced
Switzerland recycles up to 53% of its total waste. It is a country with a small land mass and produces about 90 million tonnes of waste yearly.
To curb this, it implemented a pay-to-dispose rubbish policy. The people of Switzerland use the money to dispose of their trash by purchasing designated trash bags.
Also, there are laws in place to punish people who try to dump their trash illegally.
Laws also implore manufacturers and stores to accept certain types of waste for recycling. For instance, e-waste, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, metals, and glass are acceptable.
The Ordinance on Beverage Packaging (VGV) helped to regulate the sales and return of beverage packaging. It also requires that manufacturers make the packaging materials labeled and recyclable.