The origin of waste is as long as humans; the only difference is the amount and form of trash generation. Currently, nearly 130 billion tons of trash are generated around the world. Our groundwater is contaminated, our air is contaminated, and 80,000 potentially hazardous compounds and heavy metals enter the food chain every second, with an increasing trend.
History of waste management
Waste management in the modern era benefits everyone. However, while everyone throws undesirable stuff in trash cans or recycling bins daily, how many individuals give modern garbage disposal even a passing thought? The progress of waste management has indeed been intrinsically linked to its impact on health and the environment, both good and harmful, throughout human history. The effective waste management sector has gone a long way, although developments in recycling and other areas are primed to continue growing.
The age of stone
The origin of waste is as long as humans; the only difference is the amount and form of trash generation. The very first garbage was feces and leftover food waste. People in the Stone Age buried their garbage or stacked it up in large piles to be burned once in a while (Barles, 2014).
According to scientists, big cities like Mesopotamia were practically buried in garbage during the third Millennium BC. The development of structured trash disposal began with the construction of larger settlements. The “Cloaka Maxima” water and sewage facilities built by the Romans are legendary (Hara & Yabar, 2012). At their own expense, a limited group of households was linked. Slave-owned businesses were compensated from a specific municipal tax to clean up the sewer system. The “Monte” is a well-known ancient antique waste dump. This “eighth hill of Rome” is 46 meters high and has a diameter of 1,000 meters. It is littered with broken amphorae (clay pots) used to convey oil and grains from the districts into the city (Barles, 2014).
This technology, like many other Roman inventions, fell out of favor during the middle Ages. Waste and feces were dumped on the street at the front of the house. Pigs were utilized to remove organic waste from the streets, but they also contributed to pollution, spreading diseases such as plague and cholera. Waste disposal facilities and irrigation sewerages began only after the necessity of cleanliness in epidemic outbreaks was recognized (Mekonnen & Tokai, 2020).
The systematic waste disposal in cities on the scale of Hamburg (around 20,000 residents at the time) began in the early 15th century (Wilson, 1996). Prisoners were assigned to transport the excrement to the fields as fertilizer. The amount of garbage created has rapidly increased since the dawn of industrialization.
The Healthcare system became increasingly important during the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. Rubbish dumps were developed to keep the ever-increasing amounts of garbage under control. The first rubbish incineration plants were built in London around the late nineteenth century (Hara & Yabar, 2012).
The contemporary concept of proper waste management initially originated in the United States in the 1890s. By the turn of the century, a rising number of American communities offered at least rudimentary solid waste handling and recycling, and by 1930, practically every city had garbage collection. The pollutants were disposed of in several methods once removed from metropolitan areas, including landfills, incineration, water, and ocean disposal (Hara & Yabar, 2012).
Every day, nearly 130 billion tons of trash are generated around the world. Our groundwater is contaminated, our air is contaminated, and 80,000 potentially hazardous compounds and heavy metals enter the food chain every second, with an increasing trend (Abdel-Shafy & Mansour, 2018). Excessive consumption, particularly in developed countries, is resulting in an increasing amount of garbage. If nothing changes, by 2025, the quantity of waste generated will be increased four to fivefold. This fight for waste material comes at a high price that no one wants to pay. One of the consequences of this problem is the disposal of waste in developing countries, which receive a portion of the amount required to dispose of the waste properly.