Open Waste Burning and its Impact
Open waste burning is an inefficient combustion process and releases significant amounts of air pollutants and ash, and dense white or black smoke.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in open places and announced a fine of Rs. 25,000 on each incident of bulk waste burning.
According to the NGT establishment and operationalisation of the plants for processing and disposal of the waste and selection and specifications of landfill sites which have to be constructed, be prepared and maintained strictly in accordance with the Rules of 2016.
Non-biodegradable waste and non-recyclable plastic should be segregated from the landfill sites and used for construction of roads and embankments in all road projects all over the country.
The negative impacts of Open Waste Burning are:
• The pollutants are all toxic to humans, depending on their concentration, and may cause irritation, skin and respiratory problems some are carcinogenic.
• Those individuals with respiratory problems such as asthma or with allergies may be even more sensitive to the smoke.
• The smoke from waste disposal ground fires may reduce visibility on local roads. This has the potential to cause traffic accidents.
• The ash, which may be dispersed by the wind or leached by water, may contain toxic contaminants.
• Toxins may be leached from any ash remaining which could lead to the contamination of surface water or ground water. There is always a risk of the fire burning out of control
• Pollutants from burn barrels vary depending on the type of waste materials burned but, typically, emissions include dioxins, ash, furans, halogenated hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, lead, barium, chromium, cadmium, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, arsenic or mercury. Burn barrels also often emit acid vapors and carcinogenic tars.
• Pound for pound, garbage burned in a burn barrel gives off twice as many furans, 17 times as much dioxin, and 40 times as much ash as a municipal incinerator.