SOCIAL, IMPLICATIONS OF WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste Management (WM) is a dynamically emerging field with vaste scope. The growing urbanization and industrialization is making WM a complex problem with s
implications. A sustained effort is needed to restore the socio-ecological balance of nature in order to optimally harness the available resources.
This paper emphasizes to deal with the problem of waste in totality considering its technical as well as social aspects and highlighting the social implications of effec
done prior to the implementation of any W M programme. It has been emphasized that in the socio-economic resource structure of India, Management of waste pla
Waste Management: An Overview
From system's view point, waste has been visualized as any unnecessary input to or any undesirable output from any system encompassing all types of resources,
utilities and services, data and information etc. The resource-based classification of waste is shown in Figure 1. Waste Management (WM) is conceptualized as a m
the system under consideration (1, 2, and 5). A systematic approach to WM encompassing the waste of all kinds of resources at all stages should be adopted. How
total product cost, material wastes are of critical importance.
Complementarity of Waste Management and Resource Management
A system basically takes some input, process it and gives the desired output, as shown in Figure 2 i.e., some input is essential, in whatever form, for the functioning
transform the total input into useful or desirable output. In view of the known physical laws of nature the existence of an ideal system is not possible, i.e. 100 per cen
any system. To paraphrase, some waste is inevitable in the functioning of any system.
The main objective of WM is to minimize the waste this aiming at the ideal system, while the resource management aims to maximize the utilization of the resources
i.e., optimal utilization of the available resources for higher efficiency and growth of the system, but the approaches are different. The relationship of waste and reso
that waste and resource management are complementary to each other. If one is primal formulation of a problem, the other is dual.
Concept of Wastivity
An ideal or perfect system will be one that consumes just the right amount of resources, leaving no idle, unutilized (nonrecoverable) or lost resource, or any undesir
rudimentary stages may prove to be a good measure of performance, both at macro and micro levels, and will be helpful in the sound planning and monitoring of va
"Wastivity of any system is defined as the ratio of the waste to the input"?
Depending upon the level of waste under consideration the wastivity may be categorized as gross wastivity and net wastivity. The wastivity for each type of input ind
Both productivity and wastivity are complementary to each other, which bears in it the inherent cause-effect phenomenon. The cause, i.e. wastivity is checked, the e
The Functional Elements of Waste Management
The problems associated with the management of waste in today's society are complex and diverse in nature. For an effective and orderly management of wastes t
identified and clearly understood. The efficient WM comprises the guide identification of waste generated/caused, economic reduction, efficient collection and handl
of waste leaving no environmental problems. WM can thus be functionally classified into five basic elements, viz., generation, reduction collection, recycling and dis
viewed in totality considering the inter-relationship of basic functional elements/ systems as shown in Figure 4. One of the objectives of WM is to optimise these bas
economic solution, commensurate with the constraints imposed.
By considering each element separately it is possible to:
(i) Identify the fundamental aspects and relationships involved in each element:
(ii) Develop, wherever possible, quantifiable relationships for the purpose of making engineering comparisons, analysis and evaluation.
Socio-economic Benefits of Waste Management Programmes
Some of the social and economic benefits of effective WM programmes and systems are as follows:
i. Cheaper products due to increased productivity. Reduced scarcity of materials by way of material conservations.
ii. Economic gains by salvaging waste materials.
iii. Introduction of newer products by recycling/reusing wastes.
iv. Relief from energy crisis.
v. More hygienic, safe and pollution free environment.
vi. Lesser public nuisance due to reduction in diseases.
vii. Neat, clean and comfortable living conditions and higher standard of living.
viii. Reduced uncertainty, better prediction and control of natural calamities by nature conservation.
ix. Preservation of heritage, fauna and flora.
x. Control over unemployment and the development of a healthier society, and.
xi. Speedier and sustained national development and self-reliance.
Development of Economic System
Many a time growth and development of the economic system are treated as synonymous. The consumption of resources is considered a growth measure. More co
development. The development of the economic system is dependent upon the effectiveness of utilization of the inputs, which is very much related to the managem
the waste parameters deserve explicit consideration in view of their important role in various systems. The need to incorporate waste as a parameter in socio-econo
into consideration the crisis of vita fly needed resources, balanced economic growth of the nation, and the awareness for a cleaner and hygienic ****
The techno-economic structure has conventionally been concentrating on intermediate means and intermediate ends. The ultimate means and ultimate ends in the
time been ignored. This has led to serious social as well as ecological problems at both the ends. In order to minimize such socio-ecological problems the base has
as the ultimate end. WM can provide answer to interlink various stages from the ultimate means to the ultimate ends in an effective manner.
he low entropy resources are being consumed exorbitantly and in the process high entropy wastes are generated. This is leading to a continuous increase of the en
growth of entropy has to be checked if the human race wants to survive for tong and at a higher level of development. The entropy can be brought under control by
The technology and WM can be taken as a substitute of negentropy, (3) as the technological progress enables the economic extraction of lower grade natural resou
wastivity of the economy.
From socio-technical system's viewpoint every organization is an integrated system having interacting technical and social sub-systems as shown in Figure 6. The o
gives the output of technical as well as social nature, and generates both the technical and the social system waste. The relationship of technical and social system
waste increase the social system's waste and vice versa. Waste, whether technical or social, affects the social system within the system and the environment throug
In this regard selection of technology is an important managerial consideration. A wrong choice of technology will lead to consequent waste of resources as well as
intensive technology is selected, for a country like India with vast amount of manpower available, in a sector where it is not needed, it will result in the waste of capi
in the selection of appropriate technology.
Social Responsibilities and Interfacing Problems
It is the social responsibility of every scientist, technologist and manager to design and manage systems which are leading to minimum level of wastivity as shown i
cycle. One is technology development system and the other is technology management system. Scientists, technologists and managers have their social responsib
scientists and technologists have higher responsibilities for the technology development system, whereas the managers are more responsible for the technology ma
social responsibilities by designing and developing technologies that minimize the wastivity, and there, meet the social needs of the system and the environment in
Manager's social responsibilities are also very wide, and by managing the system's waste they contribute towards better performance of social system by obviating
resource crisis, environmental pollution, psychological and social stresses.
The need and importance of WM in the socio-economic system has been emphasized and the social implications of effective WM are highlighted. It is concluded th
engineering curricula should incorporate some topics on systems approach to WM and its socio-economic implications. It is hoped that, if the professionals come ou
a broader systems approach to WM, it will help in the development of a better socio-economic
Paper presented in the curriculum Development Workshop, New Delhi on Social Responsibilities of Scientists, Technologists. Co-ordinator Prof Anuradha Sharam
Many industries in India have also developed various technologies for disposal of waste, for e.g. Solid wastes and Fly ash etc has been discussed in this paper.
* Click here to have an idea about such technologies in one of the companies.
Further Waste Management analysis
We have discussed the issues related to waste management in our earlier modules. These also constitute future challenges for us. In response to government and
few years directed a significant effort toward the proper and safe management of medical waste streams. Medical waste is classified as a bio hazardous waste whic
This also includes injury and infection with many viruses and the Humans Immunodeficiency Virus to laundry workers, nurses, emergency personnel, and refuse wo
In a recent survey conducted in the United States and Japan and reported by the world health organization (WHO) (1994), it was found that injuries by sharps cons
maintenance workers and 18 % per annum for outside waste management workers. In Japan, the survey indicated that injuries by sharps constitute about 67% for
In order to reduce the risks associated with medical waste, proper management mechanism should be adopted by health care facilities to protect the health of the s
and the public once the waste has left the facility for final disposal. These mechanisms include.
- Waste identification
- Storage and
However, as a first-step in the implementation of a waste management system, the management of a medical facility should conduct an audit of the generated wast
locations of the waste generation points and types and amounts of generated waste. An accurate estimate of the medical waste amounts provides the managemen
1. Predicting the cost of operating its medical waste management system in relation to the fees for waste transport, treatment and disposal.
2. Improving environmental performance by monitoring the amounts of generated waste from each medical activity, and undertaking proper measures to enforce wa
WHO/ UNEP (1997), the World Health Organization has adopted the following definitions.
· Medical activities: - any practices related to the diagnosis, monitoring, treatment or prevention of disease or alleviation of handicap in human or animals. These inc
pharmaceutical or similar practices, investigation, teaching and research, or the collection of blood for transfusion.
· Medical waste: the total waste streams arising form medical activities which consist wholly or partly human or animal tissue, blood or other bodily fluids, excretions
dressings, or syringes, needles or other sharp instruments, being waste which unless rendered safe, may prove hazardous or infectious to any person coming into c
· Healthcare or medical facilities: the sites carrying out all kinds of medical activities as defined above. These include, but not limited to, hospitals, healthcare centre
The WHO regional guidelines (1994) presents some examples of heath care waste classification systems in the western pacific countries. Accordingly a sound appr
determining their quantities is to adopt classification system which corresponds to the locally implemented methods for waste collection, treatment and disposal.
Waste management and sustainable development:
Kofi A Anan (2002) observed Sustainable development rests on three pillars: economic growth, social progress and protection of our environment and natural resou
with the publication of our common future, it was meant to go beyond the ecosystem approaches of the past, which put environmental issues on the political map bu
Despite this advance, and despite considerable efforts and significant achievements since the "Earth summit "the latest readings reveal a planet still in need of inten
poverty and rapid urbanization; wasteful consumption habits and growing demands for water, land and energy continue to place intense pressures on the planet's li
There is little chance of protecting the environment without a greater sense of mutual responsibility, especially in an age of interdependence, and especially since th
much larger than that left by others.
Leadership qualities coupled with technical competence are a potent prescription for engineers and managers shouldering the heavy responsibility of socio-econom
by vast engine of consumer satisfaction; many are also responsible for environmental destruction. Corporations and businesses also generate pollution, contributing
They have not only been accused of generating trust, but also environmental racism, a charge that turns our attention to where that trash is going and has gone. Ac
people of color communities for toxic waste facilities" and an "official sanctioning of the life- threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in our communities". Min
airborne toxins and contaminated drinking water. Says Deeohn Ferris an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation.
The condition is called as "environmental racism" an environmental researcher hope Taylor says "small dirty industries have a tendency to locate in minority commu
relative lack of knowledge about environmental concerns ".
Environmental Racism analyzes the pattern of placing hazardous facilities in communities in many countries and also makes a connection between this phenome
countries often a discussion of ethics in business or corporate social responsibility is reduced to a stank conflict between making profits for shareholders vs. assumi
Milton Friedman (1970) a Nobel Prize economist raises the question whether business has social responsibilities? Some business people have expressed the view
maximizing profits but also concerned about "discrimination" and "Avoiding pollution". According to Friedman corporations have "artificial responsibilities "but not "bu
stakeholders and that their duty is to make as much money as possible comparable with the "basic rules of the society "those embodied in law and those embodies
those who own the corporation and his primary responsibility is to them. He must not make corporate decisions in manners that does not promote " the best interes
someone else's money to promote a "social objective and this in Friedman's view amounts to fixation a function reserved in our political system to the government.
represented. Fried man thinks this is typical or socialism. He claims that executives may lack expertise to make such decisions, for e.g., how to might inflation or to
There is a counter argument to Friedman's view's that has been given by a legal theorist Christopher Stone. He says that "the managers of the corporation are to be
think proper for society on the whole". Stone takes the position that it may be better to leave the running of corporations to the market and the law rather than "to ha
and various notions of what is best. However, this view applies only if the law and the market can keep corporations within "desirable bounds" of social responsib
One example of these circumstances is the displacing of third-world farmers by huge agribusiness companies in order to grow crops for export to other countries. S
with "Shareholder". This suggests that many individuals and groups beside shareholder are interest groups, retirees, host communities and customers to name a f
Thus, aims of CRS areas are as follows:
Companies now perform in non-financial arenas such as human rights, business ethics, environmental policies, corporate contributions, community developmen
Social and environmental performances are considered side by side with financial performance. From local economic development concerns to international hum
accountable for their actions and their impact.
Companies are also more transparent in disclosing and communicating their policies and practices as these impact employees, communities, and the environme
In the new global economy, companies that are responsive to the demands of all of their stakeholders are arguably better positioned to achieve long-term financia
communicate its environmental and social impacts; such information is pertinent in an information-driven economy, and improved communication has become critic
CSR has become the password to not only overcome competition but to ensure sustainable growth. It has been supported not only by the shareholders but stakeho
community. Corporate Virtue Is In is the slogan as it offers so many advantages including a hike in profits.
CSR is the point of convergence of various initiatives aimed at ensuring socio-economic development of the community which would be livelihood oriented as a who
The above discussion suggests that there is Benefits of CSR too. Some of these are presented below:
o Improved financial performance
o Reduced costs
o Enhanced brand image and reputation
o Increased sales and customer loyalty
o Customer satisfaction
o Increased productivity and quality
o Increased ability to attract and retain employees
o Reduced regulatory oversight
o Brand Visibility, recognition and awareness
o Increased market share
o Favourable positioning
o Competitive mileage
o More engaged investors
o Environmental sustainability
o Forging of partnerships
According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an expression used to describe what some see as a company's obligation to be sensi
operations. The principle is closely linked with the imperative of ensuring that these operations are "sustainable" i.e. that it is recognized that it is necessary to take
decision making also the social and environmental consequences "_Sustainable Development"_.
A company's stakeholders are all those who are influenced by and/or can influence a company's decisions and actions, both locally and globally. These include (bu
community organizations, subsidiaries and affiliates, joint venture partners, local neighborhoods, investors, and shareholders (or a sole owner).
Today's heightened interest in the proper role of businesses in society has been promoted by increased sensitivity to environmental and ethical issues. Issues like e
and faulty production leading to customers inconvenience or danger, are highlighted in the media. In some countries Government regulation regarding environment
laws are also often set at a supranational level. Some investors and investment fund managers have begun to take account of a corporation's CSR policy in making
increasingly sensitive to the CSR performance of the companies from which they buy their goods and services. These trends have contributed to the pressure on co
environmentally sustainable way... Corporations have often, in the past, spent money on community projects, the endowment of scholarships, and the establishmen
employees to volunteer to take part in community work thereby create goodwill in the community which will directly enhance the reputation of the company and stre
that a responsible company will take into full account the impact on all stakeholders and on the environment when making decisions. This requires them to balance
profit and reward their shareholders adequately. This holistic approach to business regards organizations as being full partners in their communities.
The benefits of CSR to businesses vary depending on the nature of the enterprise, and are typically very difficult to quantify. It should be noted that the definition of
'stakeholder impacts' definition and will often include charitable efforts and volunteering.
The Environment issues for CSR are likely rest on one or more of these arguments these are:-
- Human resources
- Risk management
- Brand differentiation
- License to operate
- Diverting attention
Corporate Social Responsibility can be an important aid to recruitment and retention, particularly within the competitive graduate market in the environment.
Managing risk is a central part of many corporate strategies. Reputations that take decades to build up can be ruined in hours through incidents such as corruption
also draw unwanted attention from regulators, courts, governments and media. Building a genuine culture of 'doing the right thing' within a corporation can offset the
In crowded marketplaces companies strive for environmental factors, which can separate them from the competition in the minds of consumers.
By taking substantive voluntary steps corporations can persuade governments and the wider public that they are taking current issues like health, safety, diversity o
Major corporations which have existing reputation problems due to their core business activities may engage in high-profile CSR programs to draw attention away fr
health initiatives corporations have installed very visible wind-turbines on the roofs of some petrol stations in some countries.
Though CSR is a widely talked about concept, there are still many criticisms against it. Some critics of CSR, such as the economist Milton Friedman, argue that a co
its shareholders, whilst obeying the laws of the countries within which it works. Others argue that the only reason corporations put in place social projects is utilitaria
reputation with the public or with government. Proponents of CSR, however, would suggest a number of reasons why self-interested corporations, seeking to solely
of society as a whole.
Key challenges to the idea of CSR include: - the rule of corporate law that a corporation's directors are prohibited from any activity that would reduce profits - other m
problem, such as accounting oversight, stock options, performance evaluations, deferred compensation and other mechanisms to increase accountability to shareh
There are various views regarding CSR.
Some would argue that it is self-evidently "good" that businesses should seek to minimize any negative social and environmental impact resulting from their econom
reputation to publicize (for example) any environmentally beneficial business activities. A company which develops new engine technology to reduce fuel consumpt
Some commentators are cynical about corporations' commitment to CSR and Sustainable Development and say that the idea of an "Ethical company" is an oxymor
But as with any process based on the collective activities of communities of human beings (as companies are) there is no "one size fits all". In different countries, th
how business act.
There is a growing global role the pressure on business to play a role in social issues will continue to grow. Over the last ten years, those institutions which have gro
operate effectively within a global sphere of operations. These are effectively the corporate and the NGOs. Those institutions which are predominantly tied to the na
frustrated at their lack of ability to shape and manage events. These include national governments, police, judiciary and others.
There is a growing interest, therefore, in businesses taking a lead in addressing those issues in which they have an interest where national government have failed
supporting a sustainable fisheries approach is one example. Using the power of their supply chain, such companies are placed to have a real influence. National go
with no solutions at all, and ever-depleting fish stocks. That is not to say businesses will necessarily provide the answers - but awareness is growing that they are o
taking an interest.
There are various arguments against Corporate Social Responsibility; some of the arguments have been discussed below. These are as follows:
(Mallen Baker, April 2001)
Argument - I
Businesses are owned by their shareholders - any money they spend on so-called social responsibility is effectively theft from those shareholders who can, after all
This is the voice of the laisser-faire 1980s, still being given powerful voice by advocates such as Elaine Sternberg. Sternberg argues that there is a human rights ca
management deprives shareholders of their property rights. She states that the objectives sought by conventional views of social responsibility are absurd. Not all a
states that ordinary decency, honesty and fairness should be expected of any corporation.
In the first instance, this case strongly depends on the model of social responsibility adopted by the business being a philanthropic one. The starting point assumpti
away" money which rightfully belongs to other people. If CSR is seen as a process by which the business manages its relationships with a variety of influential stake
operate, the business case becomes immediately apparent. CSR is about building relationships with customers, about attracting and retaining talented staff, about
Argument - II
The leading companies who report on their social responsibility are basket cases - the most effective business leaders don't waste time with this stuff.
Looking at the most recent times, "Most Respected Companies" survey by the Financial Times. Who are the most respected companies and business leaders at the
In the first instance, very few businesses operate in a black or white framework, where they are either wholly virtuous or wholly without redemption. There are many
Electric which would play to the kind of agenda recognizable to advocates of social responsibility - in particular that of employee empowerment.
Also, many of the leading companies with regard to their social responsibility are equally successful companies. The same "Most Respected" survey named IBM an
that have been much more strongly associated with the CSR movement. Coca Cola achieved its place partially because of its profile in social responsibility.
Argument - III
Our company is too busy surviving hard times to do this. We can't afford to take our eye off the ball - we have to focus on core business.
It's all very well for the very big companies with lots of resources at their disposal. For those fighting for survival, it's a very different picture. You can't go spending m
off one morale is rock bottom. And the odd bit of employee volunteering won't make any difference to our people when they feel cynical and negative about how the
Managing your social responsibility is like any other aspect of managing your business. One can do it well, or one can do it badly. If the process of managing social
stop paying attention to core business, the problem is not that you're doing it at all - it's that you're doing it badly. Well managed CSR supports the business objectiv
stakeholders whose opinion will be most valuable when times are hard, and should reduce business costs and maximize its effectiveness. The following statements
Times are hard, therefore it is in my interest to pollute more and run an increased risk of prosecutions and fines, not to mention attracting the attention of environm
Times are hard; therefore I can afford to lose some of my most talented people - serving or potential - by erecting barriers on the basis of race, gender, age or sexu
tribunals occur as a result of my poor employment practices.
Times are hard; therefore I need to ignore changing values in my customer base towards socially responsible goods and services. I can keep making things just th
Times are hard, so I can ignore the fact that the local communities around my plant are poor living environments with low education achievement, meaning that my
will need supplementary training in basic skills such as literacy which they should be getting at school. Our company can be an island of prosperity in a sea of depri
Argument - IV
It's the responsibility of the politicians to deal with all this stuff. It's not our role to get involved
Business has traditionally been beyond morality and public policy. We expect governments to provide the legal framework that says what society will put up with. Th
legal - even making large tax receipt from it - and then acting as though tobacco companies are all immediately beyond the pale. if one considers smoking illegal , th
selves and choose what is good and bad for them.
Outside of that "macro" scale, the argument holds up less well. Many companies actually spend considerable time and money seeking to influence the formation of
of interest can range far and wide - from international treaties on climate change, through to domestic policy on health (such as that relating to smoking) or transpor
that they have a role like it or not. And if that lobbying has involved blocking legislation that serves a social end purely in order to continue to profit in the short term,
If CSR is simply about obeying the law and paying taxes, then perhaps the above statement is fair comment. If it is about managing the demands and expectations
communities, governments and environmental NGOs - if it is about managing risk and reputation, and investing in community resources on which you later depend
Argument - v
I have no time for this. I've got to get out and sell more to make our profit line.
There are a number of views that have business managers about environmental performance, how difficult a sell waste minimization was to managers who really ne
shown that just about any business you can think of, if it undertakes waste minimization for the first time, can shift 1% of its overall turnover straight onto its bottom
out and selling more product somehow remains more attractive for business managers than making more profit through wasting less. It will take a long time and a c
before this one shifts.
Argument - VI
Corporations don't really care - they're just out to screw the poor and the environment to make their obscene profits
Corporations have their share of things to answer for; the fact is that if one is interested in the real solutions to world poverty or environmental degradation, one has
The solutions to these common problems will either be common solutions or they won't be solutions. By all means give careful scrutiny to those who wield the most
which enables the common solution of wealth creation as if people and the environment mattered.
Another argument against CSR is -"Is Corporate Social Responsibility an Oxymoron"?
The voices calling for corporate reform are getting louder. "Corporate social responsibility is an oxymoron", according to a recent book and documentary film "the Co
are like amoral "psychopaths" - manipulative, incapable of being empathic or remorseful, and, while causing tremendous damage to the environment and other elem
responsibility for their behaviour. Harsh words, but they resonate with those uttered by critics of corporate power throughout history.
Corporations are powerful institutions. They do not serve humanity well when their pursuit of profits leads to strategies that degrade the environment, violate human
health and safety and otherwise undermine the welfare of communities.
People who run corporations are mostly decent human beings; many are pillars of their communities. They care about the environment and other people; they want
the public interest does not stem from flaws in the characters of corporate personnel; it stems from a flaw in the rules under which corporations operate.
State laws that create corporations promote behaviour which managers and shareholders do not condone in their personal lives. Those laws encourage managers
only that their company makes more and more money without regard for the human or environmental costs. They allow managers to excuse the damage they do by
promoting the interests of shareholders.
Legislatures pass laws to control that behaviour, but they are merely treating the symptoms of a problem while ignoring its underlying cause. A better solution, to pr
change the laws that create it.
People understand that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive. Shareholders are increasingly supporting stockholder resolutions that address issues
support action that may not be in their short-term financial interest. More and more corporations are taking steps to protect the environment and to adopt policies tha
these changes are slow, piecemeal and vulnerable to backsliding.
Corporations have the potential to embrace human values if we, the citizens in whose name the corporate laws were enacted, demand it. To deal effectively with ins
psychopathic individuals, it is essential to provide structure, embodied in a code of conduct that articulates expectations and standards clearly, sets limits on such b
code is breached.
By asking the state legislators to enact the Model Code for Corporate Citizenship, which would add the following sentence to the corporate law which suggests that
the environment, human rights, public health and safety, the dignity of employees or the welfare of communities. This takes us to the next section of this module on
Policy Considerations are important aspects of environmental studies. In this module we understand the policy implications and environmental laws. There are vario
These are related to pollution, water , air.
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