What is hazardous waste?
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What Does hazardous waste Mean
A waste is a man-made waste or material that is useless after having performed a job or fulfilled its mission. Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate or recycle the waste so that it acquires a new possibility of use.
The danger , moreover, is the risk or imminent contingency that something bad happens. It is possible that the danger is a real physical threat, or something abstract that humans understand as potentially harmful.
A hazardous waste , therefore, is a waste with intrinsic properties that endanger the health of people or cause damage to the environment. Some of these properties are the following: flammability , toxicity , corrosivity , reactivity and radioactivity .
Among the most common hazardous wastes are mineral particles carried by water and mixed with mud, which come from mines, spills of various substances in surface waterways and emissions of toxic gases through chimneys and exhaust pipes.
It is worth mentioning that historically, these wastes have not always been considered dangerous ; on the contrary, they were part of the common waste from various industrial areas and even from private homes. Given that there was no regulation that told citizens what to do with these materials, and that there was not enough information about the risks that irresponsible handling could entail, it was normal for them to dump them into bodies of water, such as rivers. or the sea, or they were left in common garbage dumps.
It was from agreements in favor of the environment such as the Rotterdam Convention or the Basel Convention that people began to become aware of this issue, and various countries, both developed and those that were developing, undertook the task of legislating the handling of hazardous wastes, as well as their classification and the necessary measures to store them.
Hazardous waste usually comes from: hospitals (they are called biological); of the pharmaceutical industry and the chemical industry; forestry or agricultural activity, given the use of biocides, fungicides and pesticides; mines; the energy industry (certain types of oil); the oil industry (aqueous, bituminous and tar emulsions, among others); textile industry (dyes, oxidized chromium and acids); military industry; scientific research and development centers (reagents and solvents); plastics industry.
One of the most common processes for the treatment of hazardous waste is known as inerting and consists of minimizing the potential risk of the non-recoverable waste until its final disposal.
If an industry evades these regulations and tries to dispose of its hazardous waste in another way (by dumping it in a river, for example), there is a great risk of pollution and damage.
Other types of recognized waste are the following:
* assimilable to urban : those that are not classified as dangerous and that correspond to waste from commercial stores, offices and private homes;
* Inert : these are wastes that do not undergo any physical or chemical transformation, that are not biodegradable and that do not produce negative effects on other materials when they come into contact with them. In other words, they cannot generate environmental pollution or have a negative impact on the health of living beings. The level of contaminant-type components that they possess, as well as the possibility of separating their insoluble parts from the soluble ones, must be negligible. The most common are pieces of glass , bricks, concrete, and rubble.
Since the materials used to build all legal products are adequately documented, it is possible to check their properties to see if their waste should be considered hazardous.