Question 9

Discuss briefly the following:
(a) Radioactive wastes
(b) Defunct ships and e-wastes
(c) Municipal solid wastes


(a) Radioactive wastes: - Radioactive wastes are generated during the process of generating nuclear energy from radioactive materials. Nuclear waste is rich in radioactive materials that generate large quantities of ionizing radiations such as gamma rays. These rays cause mutation in organisms, which often results in skin cancer. At high dosage, these rays can be lethal.

Safe disposal of radioactive wastes is a big challenge. It is recommended that nuclear wastes should be stored after pre-treatment in suitable shielded containers, which should then be buried in rocks.

(b) Defunct ships and e-wastes: - Defunct ships are dead ships that are no longer in use. Such ships are broken down for scrap metal in countries such as India and Pakistan. These ships are a source of various toxicants such as asbestos, lead, mercury etc. Thus, they contribute to solid wastes that are hazardous to health.

E-wastes or electronic wastes generally include electronic goods such as computers etc. Such wastes are rich in metals such as copper, iron, silicon, gold etc. These metals are highly toxic and pose serious health hazards. People of developing countries are involved in the recycling process of these metals and therefore, get exposed to toxic substances present in these wastes.

(c) Municipal solid wastes: - Municipal solid wastes are generated from schools, offices, homes, and stores. It is generally rich in glass, metal, paper waste, food, rubber, leather, and textiles. The open dumps of municipal wastes serve as a breeding ground for flies, mosquitoes, and other disease-causing microbes. Hence, it is necessary to dispose municipal solid waste properly to prevent the spreading of diseases. Sanitary landfills and incineration are the methods for the safe disposal of solid wastes.

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