Garbage is an ever present challenge in any modern society. San Antonio has a population of about 2.2 million individuals. This is according to the census of the year 2011. On average, Americans produce about 482,500,000 pounds of solid waste each day. This is according to the survey done in 2008. America has a population of about 180 million people. A quick mathematical analysis from the data above shows that San Antonio is responsible for about 1.22% of the produced solid waste (Cohen, 119). Though the fraction is small, this volume of waste is high. In fact, about 5,897,222 pounds of solid waste is produced daily.
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Essentially, solid wastes are; glass bottles, plastic papers, disposable dippers, and aluminum cans. These materials are not biodegradable and need to undergo some form of processing before disposal. Solid waste needs a treatment plant to facilitate recycling or destruction to avoid harming the ecosystem. San Antonio residents are large consumers of supermarket products. Therefore, there is the need to use packages that will preserve the food and enhance the shelf life of the same. Most of those packages constitute solid waste because they are non-biodegradable.
Improper management of this solid waste leads to stockpiles of rubbish and heaps because of inadequate means of handling the same. These stockpiles tend to be common in places like the Olmos creek. This has serious environmental consequences that are so severe that this dumping should be entirely eliminated. This problem will not just affect San Antonio, but the greater part of the adjacent areas. This is because Olmos creek is part of the head waters of the San Antonio River. Besides, the effects of the dumping in the area reach other places in the form of air pollution.
Solid waste affects the flora and fauna that are dependent on that water. Most metal containers used as food preservation vessels contain traces of heavy metals. These heavy metals, when ingested by the edible fauna in the river, cause a condition known as heavy metal poisoning in humans (Steiner and Butler, 23). The water itself will have an extraordinarily high bacteria count rendering it unfit for human consumption. Also, the increase in bacteria will cause a reduction in oxygen levels in the water. This will cause the fauna to suffocate and will turn the river into a dead river.
These large amounts of solid waste in daily production need an effective waste management system. This will ensure that the piling up is avoided. This niche has been filled up by many private businesses because the state has not been able to handle the enormous garbage. This business requires a substantial fleet of garbage collection trucks for efficient collection of solid waste from San Antonio.
For effective waste management, it is essential for the state to get back into the waste collection activities. This is aimed at reducing the high garbage collection fees required by private businesses. The high fees tend to push the residents of San Antonio to look for other cost effective ways of disposing off their garbage. This is because solid waste is not considered as a something good or even a source of income. These cheap techniques are like dumping in the Olmos creek which has costly environmental repercussions. If the state reactivates its solid waste management wing, the fees will be meager due to the number of people within the service of the state organization. Secondly, the state has a finance scheme that is capable of handling the massive initial capital requirement for the purchase of garbage collection trucks. These trucks are terribly expensive and require the bulk of capital for their acquisition. Thus, the business cannot be run without them.
Garbage collection is the first hurdle. The second crucial service is the actual processing of the actual solid waste from the San Antonio homes. The most modern methods of waste processing include well thought out landfills and waste to energy plants. The open fields and incinerators that were being used are outdated and are heavy pollutants of the environment. Recycling is also beneficial as it demonstrates an environmentally conscious way of extracting energy from solid waste (Engler, 2). San Antonio can immensely benefit from this process hence the state should invest heavily in the same.
The San Antonio state can encourage the development of recycling market by offering incentives favoring their creation in this state. These positive pushes can be in the form of tax credits, grants and low interest loans (Engler, 13). Also, to bolster these industries the state can offer to purchase recycled materials from these industries.
These processes are crucial to ensure the enhancement of environmentally correct solid waste management techniques. They can be implemented to address the issues of solid wastes. Recycling is the way forward because it combines efficiency and environmentally conscious processes in handling solid wastes (Hickman, 133). Accreditation of these processes is based on years of scientific research. San Antonio is already reeling from the many negative effects of global warming. The adoption of these green waste management techniques will encourage the efforts the state has enacted to fight the negative environmental change.
In addition to all this, recycling is offering several ways of handling non-organic solid wastes. It can either convert the waste into a different useable form, or convert it into a raw product for the same manufacturing process (Fullerton and Tietenberg, 25). This creates a complete production loop avoiding the term waste. The common products that recycling can handle are glass, plastic and paper. Glass is the most recycled material out of these three because the recycled product is the raw material for the glass manufacture. Recycling industries also create jobs that cater for the broad employee spectrum (Engler, 51). Job creation is crucial in the current American society. San Antonio has an educated population that can benefit from the jobs that recycling will create. These jobs have technical specialization that can be obtained from intellectuals of the local universities in San Antonio.
The old techniques of solid waste management are ineffective and destructive to the environment. New techniques like recycling and well thought out landfills should be considered when handling the current solid waste situation for a sustainable environment. Thus, solid waste should not be considered as a danger to the surroundings. Instead, it should be deemed as an opportunity that needs to be exploited for personal and societal gains. Proper waste management can see to it that employment opportunities are created for the locals. This will uplift the living standards of people in a locality.
Cohen, Steven. Sustainability Management: Lessons from and for New York City, America, and the Planet. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Internet resource.
Engler, Mira. Designing America’s Waste Landscapes. Baltimore: J. Hopkins University Press, 2004. Print.
Fullerton, Don, and Tom Tietenberg. The Economics of Household Garbage and Recycling Behavior. Cheltenham: Elgar, 2002. Print.
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Hickman, H L. American Alchemy: The History of Solid Waste Management in the United States. Santa Barbara, CA: Forester Press, 2003. Print.
Steiner, Frederick R, and Kent S. Butler. Planning and Urban Design Standards. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2007. Print.