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Abstract

Waste management has been identified as a viable option for mitigation of climate change (IPCC, 2007; UBA; 2011). This presentation surmises that buildup of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to alarming level–corresponding to CO concentration in excess of 400 ppm–would not have occurred if we had prevented release of environmental pollutants by managing the waste in an effective manner. As a society, we failed to manage our waste in an environmentally-safe way, which first resulted in causing pollution of land and water, followed by air. Even after becoming aware of the severity of land and water degradation around the middle of the 20th century, atmospheric pollution remained ignored because the turbulence in the troposphere quickly and effectively dispersed the polluting emissions, making it temporarily invisible. This thinking led to the slow but sure accumulation of harmful substances in the atmosphere to the point that its natural self-regulating ability got compromised resulting in heating of atmosphere, causing global warming and the ensuing climate change. Currently humanity is at an unprecedented juncture in its history, facing the critical issue of climate change that calls for concerted global effort to tackle global warming. While many of the suggested measures require large investment of capital and would take long time to achieve desired results, solid waste management to increase recycling, capture methane, minimize pollution; and simple steps to conserve water and energy resources, are measures that can be easily adopted. Combating climate change calls for strong political will and involvement of each individual. Recent events of 22 April, 2016 (USA Today, 2016) when 175 countries pledged to adopt recommendations of the Paris Agreement (UN, 2015), and the historic Kigali event of 15 October, 2016 (USEPA, 2016) where nearly 200 nations agreed to phase out/eliminate hydrofluorocarbons, are positive affirmation of the international community's will to move forward as global citizens of our home—the Earth. The presentation explains simple, common sense strategies to minimize the severity of climate change impacts, and the role citizens can play in accomplishing it. Importance of proper management of solid, liquid, and gaseous waste emissions in pollution abatement and climate change mitigation are highlighted in the presentation. Details of how proper waste management can cut down GHGs emissions, thus contributing to mitigation efforts, are discussed in the presentation.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2016.qulss.46
2016-11-30
2019-11-19
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