Environmental Studies Essay Example

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Environmental Studies

Question 1

Sanitary landfills can be describe as a process of waste management where unwanted materials are buried in large piles or underground. After setting the landfill, waste materials are then added to the landfill. Sanitary landfills are often organised in layers. There is alternation between soil and waste, the alternation hinders odours and enables rapid decomposition of materials. Secure landfills involve a process where waste materials are disposed by burial in trenches and holes lined with plastic sheeting to hinder leaching or leakage if harmful substances into water supply and in soil (Xi et al. 2016).

Advantages of sanitary and secure landfills over open landfills

The main advantage is that it can help in the production of energy. Wastes in Landfills produce gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gasses are then utilized by landfill plants to produce energy. Gasses from the landfills are then trapped by machines and used to move turbines. Again, it is the safest mode of waste management compared with open-pit landfills. Open pit systems lead to air pollution and water pollution while secure and sanitary methods are safe (Xi et al. 2016).

Question 2

Fixation presents the best option for waste disposal. Fixation allows wastes to be put together in a homogenous merge which fulfills the acceptance criteria guidelines for disposing wastes in the landfill. Fixation is more advanced and improved than the traditional techniques since it has been expanded to fix the wastes so that the wastes are chemically bonded thus minimizing the effect of leached liquids from the landfill. The method is applied since it is fully automated and enclosed making sure that any emission is restricted within the facility. The most appropriate fixation method for aqueous waste contaminated with lead is a separation of lead by centrifuge, gravity and thermodesorption (Allegri 2012).

Question 3

Only waste with no detrimental impacts on the sewer treatment system or collection system and that which will not jeopardize the life of individuals exposed to the waste can be discharged into the sewer system. All other wastes are considered unsafe to be disposed in the sewer system. Regulations restricting the discharge of these harmful substances into the sewer systems should be implemented. The restriction should illustrate what can be disposed and what should not be disposed into the sewer system. Restrictions are necessary to create a clean sewer system and prevent contamination of sewer system with hazardous substances (Allegri 2012).

Question 4

Asbestos fibers, when breathed, can lead to adverse health effects. The fibers cause cancer and other related diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Individuals are exposed to asbestos when renovating or demolishing homes. Exposure to asbestos is detrimental to humans making it hazardous waste (Newsome et al. 2013).

Several options can be used to dispose asbestos waste efficiently. Asbestos should be disposed at an approved site. Before it is removed, it should be placed in a sealed container and clearly marked to indicate the presence of asbestos in the container. Moreover, licensed personnel should be allowed to handle asbestos, there should be a plan on how to remove asbestos and the plan should be approved by the local authority (Newsome et al. 2013).

Question 5

Cyanide is a chemical found in low concentrations. The chemical is commonly used in mining factories to separate silver and gold particles from ore. With proper and adequate management, the chemical can be utilized effectively without harming the environment. Cyanide has been used in industries to aid in the manufacturing of ore for over 120 years. Cyanide is toxic since it hinders the body from getting oxygen leading to suffocation which is most cases fatal to animals and human beings. Additionally, certain plant with cyanide such as cassava may lead to
goiter (Agdret, 2008).

There are legal frameworks for industries using cyanide in the production processes. Several jurisdictions including Australia have recommended that industries using cyanide should do so in a friendly manner and accordance with the International Cyanide Management Code. The code involves reduction of the amount of cyanide used and operating and designing systems that limit the level of cyanide (Agdret, 2008).

Question 7

Basel Convention is a global pact designed to limit the movement of harmful wastes between countries, specifically to hinder the movement of harmful wastes from more developed countries to less developed countries. Additionally, the treaty was intended to limit the toxicity and amount of waste materials generated to ensure there exist sustainable environment as much as possible. Again, the convention called for all nations to work together and reduce the amount of harmful waste they generate. However, the convention did not provide the time frame and how much the nations were to use in reducing hazardous wastes. Also, the convection noted that wastes should be disposed
in a friendlier manner at the source of production (Liddick, 2010).

The convention has a great significance is hazardous waste management. Foremost, the convention hindered the transfer of hazardous wastes from developed countries to undeveloped countries; this lowers the risks of harmful wastes in underdeveloped countries and hinders exploitation by developed countries. Again, the convention limited the amount of toxic substances produced by the countries; this made it easy to deal with hazardous wastes. Finally, the convention called for all nations to use friendly approaches in disposing of
wastes; this helps the nations to use quality methods in treating and disposing of wastes (Liddick, 2010).

Question 9

There are several non-biological techniques which can be used to remediate contaminated soil. The first technique is oxidation process. Oxidation is the movement of soil contaminant to a more environmentally friendly state. It can limit or eliminate the toxicity and volume of contaminants. Hydrogen peroxide is used as oxidizing agents. It is capable of oxidizing hazardous materials which are either inorganic or organic compounds. Hydrogen peroxide is used since it efficiently and effectively oxidizes ring and organic compounds. Moreover, it is economical and easily available at an affordable cost. However, it is slow and has an incomplete reaction with certain species like saturates alkenes (Hamby 2015).

The other technique is the Encapsulation. The process helps in soil remediation process by separating the contaminant with the soil. This can
be performed in several ways; the most common way is mixing the contaminated soil with cement, lime, and concrete. This hinders the contaminants from moving to clean soil. However, the techniques impede using soil for farming (Hamby 2015).

Question 10

Bioremediation is the process of utilizing micro-organism to eliminate or neutralize waste contamination. Micro-organism breaks down harmful substances into non or less toxic substances. This process of waste control system uses no toxic chemical. For instance, Maggots can be introduced into contaminated wounds and eat the contamination enabling the wound to heal accordingly. There exist several micro-organisms in the soil including fungi and bacteria that breaks down organic matter and decompose wastes. Bioremediation operates by giving soil micro-organism oxygen, fertilizer and other conditions which sustain their lives. Thus, bioremediation helps to create a sustainable environment for soil micro-organisms.

Advantages of bioremediation

The first advantage is that bioremediation uses no toxic chemicals. The major problem in utilizing human-made chemicals in control and treatment process is that the chemical used finally finds a way
to the water source making water unsafe for drinking. In the begging, various waste management programs used chemicals in their process which was very harmful to the animal, plants, and human life. However, bioremediation process utilizes soil micro-organism in its process and uses no chemical, as a result creating a more sustainable environment (Fulekar, 2010).

The other advantage is that bioremediation enables waste recycling. After treating and removing or neutralizing wastes, the wastes can then be recycled. When chemicals are used to treat waste, the waste is still contaminated and cannot be recycled. Thus, bioremediation enables for waste recycling while chemical processes create wastes that cannot be utilized again and have to be stored. Additionally, it is the safest and most cost effective solution.

There is no limitation on the use of bioremediation process in waste control; it can be applied to both human-made and naturally occurring wastes (Fulekar, 2010).


Allegri, T. H.,2012,
Handling and Management of Hazardous Materials and Waste. Boston, MA: Springer US.

Australian Government, Department of Resource, Energy, and Tourism. 2008, Cyanide Management. Commonwealth of Australia.

Fulekar, M. H.,2010. Bioremediation technology: recent advances. Dordrecht, Springer.

Hamby D.M., 2015, Site Remediation Techniques Supporting Environmental Restoration Activities. Available at: http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu/~hambydm/papers/remedrev.pdf

Liddick, D., 2010. The traffic in the garbage and hazardous wastes: an overview. Trends in Organized Crime, 13(2-3), pp.134-146.

Newsome, C., Newsome, A., Newsome, N., Newsome, V., & Stone, A. 2013. European Directory of Hazardous Waste Management 1993/94. Dordrecht, Springer Netherlands.

Xi, B., Li, M., Yang, Y., Jiang, Y. & Huang, C. 2016. Optimization of the solid waste conversion process and risk control of groundwater pollution.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3- 662-49462-2.