Combatting Pollution Through Industrial Waste Management

Manufacturing facilities of various industries are an unavoidable part of modern civilization. These industrial facilities manufacture products that make people’s lives simpler and more convenient. However, these enterprises also generate a substantial amount of non-biodegradable, non-recyclable, and hazardous industrial waste. When this waste isn’t disposed of appropriately, it pollutes the environment’s air, land, and water — which can have some repercussions.

Industries of all kinds need to take environmental responsibility and effectively manage their waste to create a safer, more sustainable, zero-waste future. The waste management market is undoubtedly growing in popularity. The global waste management market value may reach a value of $2.5 trillion by 2030.

What Is Industrial Pollution?

Industrial pollution is pollution that can be traced back to industrial practices. During the Industrial Revolution, the number of new industries and technologies grew, resulting in increased land, water, and air pollution. Industrial pollution can contribute to ozone depletion, animal and human health concerns, and global warming. It can also contaminate drinking water sources, emit harmful pollutants into the air, and degrade soil quality. Most industries create some pollution, but some industry sectors produce more waste than others.

Types of Industrial Pollution

Industrialists produce waste in the form of solids, liquids, and gases. The gases are often released into the sky, liquids are discharged into bodies of water, and solid wastes are either deposited on land or in water. When not managed appropriately, these waste products create three types of pollution:

  • Air pollution: This pollution is caused by the release of specific gases like carbon monoxide, airborne matter like smoke and dust, and toxic gases from burning fossil fuels.
  • Land pollution: Land pollution is caused by leaving solid and liquid waste in the ground. Many different types of waste can get into the soil and degrade the land.
  • Water pollution: This pollution is caused by organic and inorganic solid or liquid waste left in bodies of water. Petroleum refineries, textile factories, and iron and steel industries can cause water pollution.

Additionally, industrial waste is classified by the industrial process that produces it, so we can further classify two types of industrial waste pollution:

  • Process waste: Washing and processing raw materials create process waste. Depending on the raw materials used and the nature of the industry, process waste might be organic or inorganic. For example, food processing plants, sugar mills, and distilleries can produce organic industrial waste. Chemical industries like the petroleum and paint sectors can produce inorganic industrial waste.
  • Chemical waste: Manufacturing a product sometimes releases chemical waste. Heavy metals and their ions, acids, detergents, alkalies, and other compounds are all examples of chemical waste. Fertilizer facilities, iron and steel industries, and paper and pulp industries can produce industrial chemical waste.

How Does Industrial Pollution Affect the Environment?

The impact of industrial pollution is extensive and can have long-term effects on our planet. Here are several ways industrial pollution affects our environment:

Air Pollution

Air pollution can result in various diseases and continues to impact us and the environment daily. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diseases associated with air pollution exposure include stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia. With so many new small enterprises popping up, air pollution will likely increase.

Land Pollution

Land or soil pollution affects our agriculture and local vegetation. Chemicals used in or created as byproducts of industrial operations are the primary contributors to land pollution, followed by household, livestock, municipal wastes, agricultural chemicals, and petroleum-derived compounds. This can result in land degradation, which influences food production and human livelihoods.

As a result, land pollution reduces crop yields, and crops cultivated in polluted soils are unfit for animal and human consumption. Desertification is a type of land degradation where fertile soil becomes desert. Desertification can impact human health in a few ways, like increased malnutrition and the spread of water- and food-borne illnesses, such as fecal-oral and water-wash diseases.

Water Pollution

Most industries rely heavily on water to operate. In numerous processes, water comes into contact with compounds like heavy metals, radioactive waste, and even organic muck. These are left in bodies of water like rivers and oceans. Farmers then use the same water for irrigation, lowering the vegetation’s quality. Water contamination has already rendered many groundwater supplies unfit for human and animal consumption. Facilities can recycle it for future industrial use.

Ecosystem Effects

Industrial pollution may also lead to ecosystem changes. For example, the interrelationship between air quality and ecosystems can show how air pollution can negatively impact natural ecosystems. Pollutants like sulfur can cause excessive acidity in lakes and streams and affect trees and forest soils. Mercury and other heavy metal compounds generated as exhaust from fuel combustion can accumulate in plants and animals — some of which people ingest.

Additionally, pollution significantly affects our animals and wildlife — like plastic pollution and marine animals. For example, many marine animals mistake plastic for food and ingest it, which can cause blocked digestive tracks and pierced internal organs. Additionally, some animals, like the beloved bumble bee, face extinction in certain species that are moderately vulnerable to climate change.  

Global Warming

Increased industrial pollutants can also accelerate global warming. Industries emit smoke and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Some of the repercussions of global warming include glacier melting, tsunamis, floods, and storms.

integrating pollution prevent into your industrial waste management system

How Industrial Waste Management Prevents Pollution

Integrating pollution prevention into your industrial waste management system is critical for minimizing land and air pollution and reducing the liabilities, responsibilities, and organizational challenges of waste management. Facility managers, state regulators, and members of the general public need to be aware of effective industrial waste management tactics. Implementing such tactics may improve efficiency, save costs, enhance employee safety, and positively affect the environment.

But how is industrial waste managed? Industries can use several methods, which all make use of various waste management technology accessible in waste management facilities:

  • Segregation: This process segregates or separates waste by its type for effective disposal.
  • Recycling: Recycling is the process of repurposing or reusing waste materials to minimize the quantity of waste created. There are many benefits to industrial waste recycling.
  • Land application: This process treats waste through biodegradation, such as composting, and adding it to the soil to improve the soil through more organic materials.
  • Landfilling: Landfilling is the process of burying waste that cannot be recycled or composted. This is a last resort since it adds waste to the environment. However, zero landfill is achievable.

Industrial waste management methods differ from one facility to the next. Waste characterization is essential to analyze all waste types a facility produces, their amount of production, and how they should be appropriately managed. During the characterization process, facilities work with waste management professionals such as the following:

  • An engineer with good process expertise
  • A sampling team member
  • A representative of quality assurance

These specialists and other professionals have in-depth knowledge and understanding of your facility’s inventory, processes, and goods. They can enable precise waste tracking to characterize waste effectively. After segregating the waste, you can develop an effective waste management plan and optimize it for effective pollution prevention.

Trust VLS Environmental Solutions to Help You With Your Industrial Waste Management

trust vls to help yiou with the industrial waste management

VLS Environmental Solutions offers you the peace of mind and convenience of dealing with professional waste management services. We are a full-service environmental services organization that provides creative, complete solutions for disposing non-hazardous waste. We take pride in our problem-solving abilities and commitment to long-term growth, and we are eager to assist you in meeting your specific waste management requirements.

Use our industrial waste management services and work with our qualified team members with years of experience in waste management. Contact us online to learn more or to schedule our industrial waste management services.

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