Every city has an open market space and with this looms the possibility of waste creation, more so organic waste creation. Waste generation and the collection, separation, processing, transport and disposal of waste, herein called waste management, is important for both the health of the public as well as the aesthetic value and the health of the environment.
Improper management of waste is one of the main causes of environmental pollution and degradation of cities especially in developing countries. With an ever increasing human population, especially in urban areas, the need to designate proper waste disposal sites, away from human habitation, and implement ideas on managing the amount of organic waste generated, will go a long in ensuring the health of the public is well thought of.
A lot of research has been done on the potential health effects of waste and the long term significance of managing it, whether followed through or not by parties involved.
Organic waste generated around open market areas presents a risk to the nearby residents, especially when neglected. Some of these risks and their effects on public health are;
Odor and Vermin Nuisance
Organic waste releases unpleasant odors due to the production of chemical organic compounds produced by decomposing food substances. The presence of decaying food will evidently attract rats, among other vermin. Considering the likelihood of these vermin passing through human residents, it poses a major risk to the health of the public in towns.
The risk of abdominal and intestinal infections such as dysentery and amoebiasis, when one consumes or comes into contact with food that vermin has affected, increases with poor management of organic waste. Children face a higher risk of infections
Emission of Volatile Organic Compounds and Bio-aerosols
Organic waste releases organic dust containing bacteria or fungal spores. This spores will definitely get into the atmosphere when inhaled. The health risk of inhaling this compounds include asthma, bronchitis, fungal infections, bacterial infections and skin infections among many allergies. This poses a major challenge to the health sector.
Asthma is major long term respiratory infection affecting many children. This infection if, not detected early enough is a hindrance especially for under privileged families. These families have to face the high cost of medical bills which does not play well for the economy of a country.
Contamination of The Food Chain
Organic waste generated from open markets is a potential pathway for contaminants to enter the food chain. Chemicals present in the waste are toxic to the health of the public especially through food chain magnification. Food chain magnification being the transfer of toxic chemicals through the chain from a lowest member, which is food a primary producer, to a higher member (Tertiary consumer) such as us human beings.
Proper management of organic waste is crucial to reduce the effects, both short and long term, that arise from neglect of organic waste collection. Although proper organic waste disposal is important, doing activities in a different way will provide a long term solution.
Organic waste is ‘living matter’. The presence of living matter makes it a good source of compost. Large compost pits could be created and the by products used in farms as organic fertilizers. This would ensure a reduction of organic waste in landfills, create employment and of more importance promote good public health for the country.
Environmental pollution is directly linked to public health. The effects of organic waste may not be as far fetched as is the case of industrial chemical waste or air pollution, but the impacts of organic waste to the public possess long term health effects particularly for communities making a living in and around open market spaces.
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