Municipal Solid Waste Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Municipal Solid Waste?
Municipal solid waste (MSW) is a significant environmental problem in many parts of the world. MSW consists of all the materials disposed of by households, businesses, and other entities in urban or suburban areas. This includes organic materials such as food scraps, paper products, and yard trimmings; recyclable materials such as glass, plastic containers, aluminum cans and paper; non-recyclable items such as diapers and Styrofoam; hazardous wastes from medical facilities and automotive shops; and bulky items such as furniture and appliances. The primary challenge with municipal solid waste is disposing of it in a safe manner that does not harm the environment or public health. Improper disposal can lead to water contamination through leaching of hazardous chemicals into groundwater or surface runoff into streams. Additionally, when MSW is burned instead of properly disposed of it releases harmful air pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals and particulate matter that can cause respiratory problems for people living nearby. To address this issue cities around the world have implemented various initiatives to reduce MSW generation through prevention programs like source reduction campaigns that encourage people to buy fewer disposable products or composting initiatives for organic material. For those materials that are still generated there are programs for collection sorting separation recycling reuse composting anaerobic digestion incineration sanitary landfills plasma gasification pyrolysis etc to reduce their impact on the environment.