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When most people think of industrial waste, they envision metal barrels with a hazardous waste symbol on outside. There are many more sources of industrial waste other than those problem causing “hazardous wastes”, and they hit a lot closer to home than anyone would think. The industrial waste is the waste produced by industrial activity which includes materials that is rendered useless during a manufacturing process such as that of factories, industries, mills, and mining operations. It has existed since the start of the industrial revolution. Some of the common examples of industrial wastes are chemical solvents, pigments, sludge, metals, ash, paints, sandpaper, paper products, industrial by-products, and radioactive wastes.
These industries are commonly situated near the water bodies due to industrial dependence on large amounts of water as an input. Many areas that are being industrialised do not yet have the resources or technology to dispose the waste with lesser effects on the environment. Both untreated and partially treated wastewater are commonly fed back into a near lying water body. Metals, chemicals and sewage released into the water body directly affect marine ecosystems and the health of those organisms who depend on the water as drinking water sources. These toxins from the wastewater can kill off marine life or cause varying degrees of illness to those who consume these marine animals depending on the contaminants. Metals and chemicals released into the water bodies affect its ecosystems. The wastewater containing nitrates and phosphates often causes Eutrophication which can kill off existing life in water.
Waste material containing chemical substances that are of mineral origin (i. e. the substances that do not contain organic substances) is known as inorganic waste. Such substances are negligibly affected by microorganisms. Hence, they are non-biodegradable in nature. Some of these wastes can be recycled and some cannot. The examples of inorganic wastes are plastics, glass, e-wastes, metals, salts etc.
Non-biodegradable plastic containers in oceans and estuaries can harm fish, seabirds and other marine life. Animals that eat plastic can experience digestion problems leading to illness. Micro plastics, tiny bits of polypropylene or polyethylene, hide beneath the water and pose a risk as well. The planet has a limited amount of land and people waste it when they dispose off non-biodegradable materials. Products that do not decompose naturally may reside in landfills and take up space much longer than biodegradable materials. When people litter, some non-biodegradable trash may not even make it into landfills. Instead, it may make its way into forests, parks, fields, and the sea. Styrofoam, also known as foamed polystyrene, is a non-biodegradable substance that can cause environmental problems when it becomes litter.
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