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Solid Waste Management in The United States: The Mississippi Region

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Objectives of the study
  3. Location Relevance
  4. Movement Relevance
  5. Summary
  6. References


Management of waste is a global challenge that must be significantly considered for sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity. It refers to the process that involves the inception, treatment activities, transportation, and final disposal of wastes that are generated through daily human activities. Solid waste management poses a significant challenge compared to most kinds of waste. Millions of tons of solid waste are generated daily. Therefore, it is vital to take great care when disposing of them.

In the United States, solid waste is associated with a lot of geographical, health, and moral risks. It can destroy the geography of an area through pollution. If poorly managed, solid waste can lead to the contamination of both surface and groundwater. The toxic chemicals in the solid wastes are leached into the soil and cause pollution on land through seepage and eventually reach the water sources. Besides, substantial quantities of dry waste in solid-state have risks of accidental fires, which in turn pose a higher risk to the environment. Decomposing organic matter attracts many disease vectors such as houseflies. If not appropriately managed, solid wastes can play a role in the transmission of diseases, thus leading to health problems. When people reside in unhygienic places, they become socially demoralized. Studies indicate that people living in slums have esteem problems compared to their counterparts.

The amount of solid waste produced in Mississippi State increases rapidly. Currently, it is estimated that 1.5 million tons of solid waste is generated every year, and this value is expected to double by 2035. However, the increase in the volume of solid wastes generated has not been accompanied by an equivalent increase in waste management capacity and resources. Therefore some areas within the state have been greatly affected by substantial waste pollution. According to the study conducted by the Mississippi State University, the shortfalls are majorly due to poor strategies on waste management and inadequate resources to implement the existing policies. The Federal government, State authorities, and the locals need alternative methods to improve the strategies in solid waste management. This will help in improving the quality of the environment, ensure clean water sources in the entire state, and protect biodiversity in Mississippi and its environs. Besides, proper solid waste management will also provide higher public health standards in the State.

Objectives of the study

  1. To identify the gaps in the existing waste management policies of Mississippi and improve them.
  2. To investigate the strategies that can be used by the local community leaders to create awareness among the citizens on ways to effectively manage the waste generated in their households.
  3. To identify different methods of sorting and recycling waste.

The Mississippi region has many physical features that must be protected. , for an instance, the River Mississippi has been polluted in the past due to poor management of solid wastes. The state government can work together with the locals to come up with suitable models of collecting, treating, and disposing of solid wastes within Mississippi. The region has also had national parks that must be protected. For instance, Natchez Trace Parkway has a wide range of ecosystems and rich biodiversity that attracts tourists from different parts of the world. To adequately protect the biodiversity and physical features within the Mississippi region, robust waste management strategies are vital.

Location Relevance

Mississippi is located in the tropical region, where the amount of rainfall is very high. During the rainy season, the city experiences occasional floods that sweep toxic wastes that contaminate the River Mississippi. Flood water containing toxic waste causes unhygienic conditions, which may affect the health of residents, especially those living in Sugar Ditch slums in Tunica County. Dumping of solid waste in Sugar Ditch worsens the living conditions of the residents.

A report published by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) indicates that poor waste management within Mississippi State affects the adjacent states, for instance, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Mississippi is therefore of great is of relevance when considering waste management strategies. Proper solid waste management in the county will extend positive impacts to the neighboring states. Also, the interaction of water sources in the counties means that contaminated surface and groundwater sources within Mississippi can drain water into the water systems of the states around Mississippi.

Mississippi is a place that hosts millions of people. The management of solid waste is, therefore, in the hands of these people. However, the lack of proper policies and plans may lead to adverse solid waste pollution through dumpsites and landfills. As a state in the US, solid wastes must be collected, disposed of, and treated if necessary. It must also comply with the Federal laws on waste management. This will ensure a pollution-free state, high living standards among the residents, and generally stable public health. Besides, it will help in the protection of natural ecosystems within Mississippi State.

Proper waste management is necessary for the protection of the critical infrastructure in Mississippi State. Critical infrastructure refers to all public and private assets, systems, and networks that are vital for the proper functioning of the US economy. Examples of critical infrastructures in Mississippi are the Dams, food, and agriculture sector, manufacturing, transport systems, water and wastewater systems, and the energy sector. Poor solid waste management in this place may lead to the destruction of these critical infrastructures which may eventually lead to the collapse of the economy of the state and spread to other parts of the country. For example, if solid wastes are allowed into farmland the quality of the soil may go down affecting the food and agriculture sector which employs millions of farmers and retailers in the state. Therefore, the critical infrastructures must be protected through proper management of solid waste in Mississippi.

Movement Relevance

Movement involves the change in the location of people, animals, and cargo. Solid waste can be detrimental to movement and transportation if they are dumped in transportation systems. For instance, if solid wastes are dumped on transport systems such as roads, rails, canals, and airports, the entire transportation sector may be incapacitated leading to difficulties in the movement of both passengers and cargo. Therefore, transport systems must be maintained and protected by managing solid wastes.

The Federal government has been regulating how citizens interact with their environment. In 2015, a private firm in Biloxi came up with an innovative way of recycling solid waste, especially thermoplastics. They made different products using plastic wastes, but their primary product was called the eco-posts. These are environmentally friendly posts that are made out of recycled plastic. Unlike traditional posts made of timber, they allowed for the preservation of the forests. Besides, they ensured a clean environment by providing an alternative way of disposing of plastic waste. This initiative can receive a national application.

Sorting solid wastes is of utmost importance. Glass, plastics, and metallic wastes can be recycled while organic wastes; for instance, food remains, can be used to make organic manure. However, some solid wastes are very toxic and may contain diseases and pathogens. Treatment before final disposal can be done.

The government can come up with more youth initiatives like the existing grants and awards that help in collecting, disposing of, and recycling of solid waste within the state. The initiatives also help in cleaning water sources that have been accidentally contaminated with solid wastes.


The management of solid waste is not only a regional menace but also a global challenge. Mississippi State has difficulties in proper waste management due to inadequate resources and a lack of appropriate policies. The amount of waste generated per year has continued to rise over the decade.

Waste management solutions involve sorting solid wastes into different categories. Plastic wastes can be recycled to produce different economically essential products such as the eco-post, which are environmentally friendly. The glass and metallic scraps can also be recycled. Organic wastes, on the other hand, can be used to produce organic manure, while highly toxic solid wastes can be treated before they are released to the environment. The local authorities can also create awareness among the residents of Mississippi and come up with more recycling initiatives and grants projected toward solid waste management.

Solid waste management should consider the geographical location, place, region, human-environmental interactions, and movement relevance; it should also aim at maintaining public health, protecting biodiversity, and protection of the critical infrastructure of the Mississippi State.


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  3. Joshi, O., Grebner, D. L., & Khanal, P. N. (2015). Status of urban wood-waste and their potential use for sustainable bioenergy in Mississippi. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 102, 20-26.
  4. Kaza, S., Yao, L., Bhada-Tata, P., & Van Woerden, F. (2018). What a waste 2.0: a global snapshot of solid waste management to 2050. World Bank Publications.
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