15 Feb Why Managing Universal Waste Is Critical for Our Future
Universal waste contains materials used commonly in every household that have hazardous effects on your health and the environment. It applies mainly to lamps, batteries, mercury-containing equipment, pesticides, and aerosol cans. Universal waste is produced worldwide, making its disposal a challenging task. Most people overlook the importance of universal waste management, which is crucial to maintaining a clean environment. Understanding the short-term and long-term effects of universal waste on the environment and knowing the proper ways for its disposal can help to a great extent.
How Universal Waste Impacts the Environment
Universal waste can greatly impact the environment, including water, air, soil, and wildlife health. There are many regulations that guide proper universal waste disposal, but they can’t stop contamination. In 2019, more than 1,900 facilities were found to be violating the voluntary disclosure and certified corrections of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was a 20% increase from 2018. Not only this, more than $471 million in fines for judicial civil penalties and federal administrative were levied in the same year.
The most prominent short-term effect of universal waste on the environment is water pollution because the chemicals disposed into the waterways make lakes, rivers, streams, rivers, and aquifers unsafe. That water becomes unusable for drinking or agricultural means. Chemical-infused water also can make animals and plants sick, and it can affect human health.
One such case came to light in 2014. A Freedom Industries facility near Charleston, West Virginia, polluted the Elk River by dumping crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol into it. Elk River is a tributary of the Kanawha River, which serves as a source of water intake for many people. Almost 300,000 residents had no access to clean water for a week.
The long-term effects of universal waste on the environment are worse. These effects include mutation in animals, cancer and other deadly human diseases, trash, and much more. In the long run, universal waste can erase entire ecosystems, such as the population of bees, which is crucial to preserving plant life fertility. Even if the spills are contained quickly, the chemicals pollute the soil and interrupt plants’ growth process.
Water pollution is not only a short-term effect of universal waste on the environment because it can keep building with time. Chemicals can reach underground aquifers and pollute the main source. A spill occurring in a small area can grow in no time and impact a larger area, and it can take years before it finally shows up as a problem.
Proper Universal Waste Disposal
The first step toward disposing of universal waste is identifying it. Luckily, there are near-universal standards that categorize these wastes as hazardous wastes based on how they affect the environment, such as how reactive the material is to other chemicals, its toxicity levels, its inflammability, and how easily it can corrode other materials. Contact us if you need any help with universal waste disposal or have any doubts related to it. We will be more than happy to help.