According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, improper waste disposal means that hazardous materials enter the environment and require removal, clean-up or neutralization according to federal, state or local law. This happens when people dispose of waste materials at unauthorized dumps and random locations. 1.Environmental Impact
oThe improper disposal of waste impacts the environment by polluting groundwater and releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Decomposing waste produces a mix of water and toxins called leachates that can enter the public water supply. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency links the improper burning of solid waste dumps to harmful chemical explosions and climate change on a global scale. Public Health Consequences
oDisposing of waste materials in an improper fashion can have significant public health consequences. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports that between 2001 and 2005, New York and Washington states reported the most cases of improper waste disposal. o
oThe improper disposal of waste at a health care facility can attract animals, spread infection and increase the likelihood of contamination to the environment. According to the Engender health website, a large percentage of medical staff members experience injuries related to the improper disposal of solid waste materials. Dangers of Improper Disposal
When used, stored and disposed per label directions, most household products like cleaners, beauty products, medicines, auto fluids, paint and lawn care products pose little hazard to people or to the environment. However, these products may become dangerous and hazardous when used, stored or disposed of carelessly.
When thrown in with the regular trash, household hazardous waste can injure sanitation workers. In addition, the hazardous waste may end up in landfills not intended or permitted for those type of wastes which could in turn impact groundwater. When poured on the ground, household hazardous waste may seep into and contaminate our groundwater or the ocean we swim in.
When flushed down a toilet, sink or drain, household hazardous waste goes through the sewage system to treatment plants not equipped to handle hazardous waste. At treatment plants, hazardous waste interferes with the biological treatment process by killing bacteria and contaminating the effluent that runs into the ocean and the biosolids which cannot then be reused as fertilizer.
When hazardous waste is thrown on the street, it goes down storm drains leading into our area waterways, impacting the Pacific Ocean, our lakes, and our local beaches. Improper use, storage and disposal of household hazardous products can potentially harm our families, children, and pets, pollute our neighborhoods and contaminate our ground, water and air.