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Don't burn your waste, deal with it, say experts
Source: Times of India, Date: February , 2013
NAGPUR: Pollution and pollutants have surrounded us from all sides. But did
you know that even the air inside your home could be full of pollutants that
can harm your health? The unintentional persistent organic pollutants (POP),
which are released by open burning of garbage and vehicular emissions among
other things, are the new dangers that experts are warning against.
As scientists from all over the country met at National Environmental
Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), they discussed ways to deal with POPs.
Neeri is the regional centre assigned for Asia under the Stockholm Convention
whose Regional Stakeholders Meet on dioxins and furans organized by Neeri and
environmental NGO Toxics Link brought these experts together. The one day meet
had participation of scientists, NGOs and industries. It aimed to promote
effective monitoring and management system for control of POPs and develop
future strategy and roadmap for the countries of Asia.
"Burning waste in the open is the primary source of the emerging
pollutants dioxins and furans in India. This could be avoided if the country were
to develop and utilize technologies to recycle what can be and dispose the
waste that can not be recycled in a proper way. Also, people must be made aware
of these methods," said Stish Sinha, associate director of Toxics Link. He
also said that there is a need to create awareness about dioxins and furans in
the public domain to control open burning.
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) scientist Sharad Kale said that there
were a lot of radioactive substances in our surroundings which also need to be
dealt with. "We have to understand the degeneration of these substances in
the ecosystem. Increased use of pesticides also results in release of dioxins
and furans," he informed.
Burning of garbage in the open releases chlorinated metals that circulate in
the air and reach the insides of homes and offices, too, said programme
co-ordinator and Neeri scientist Asha Juwarkar. "These are known to be
carcinogens and allergens. The safe way to incinerate waste is to burn it at a
temperature that is above 900 degrees Centigrade. However, when we burn it in
the open, the temperature is somewhere between 100 degrees and 150
degrees," she said.
She also pointed out that these substances also enter our food chain and can
cause health issues like liver diseases, impairment of the immune system,
endocrine system and reproductive system. She insisted that we should reduce,
recycle and reuse our waste as far as possible.
Garbage, lumber and pallets, treated wood, tyres, paper products like
newspapers, wires, asphalt, plastic, synthetics, heavy oil, paints, household
and agricultural chemicals
Burning ok for.. Bonfires, cooking, managing forests or
wildlife habitats, controlling agricultural pests or diseases
Avoid burning.. Disposable items, Buy durable products
which can be recharged, refilled and reused, Buy products in bulk instead of
small serving individually wrapped items
Reuse things by repairing them and/or donating it for charities
Recycle: Turn things that would something valuable
otherwise. Compost the organic waste. Disposal at landfill sites. Contact local
solid waste facility.
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