Environmental management can refer to a number of different things and situations. For instance, it could refer to reducing greenhouse gas pollution on a global level, thereby reducing the severity of global warming. Although mostly when we talk about it it relates very closely to how proper and improper waste management can affect the environment, both locally and globally.

So what is waste management exactly?

Waste management is basically controlling, “managing”, the waste we produce. Waste is produced by just about every action and interaction we make; proper management of that waste can be beneficial to both the environment and to our economy. This is because waste, whether produced by individuals or by big business, can upset a delicate environmental balance and even our health.

For an example of this, you can look at the wide-spread proliferation of plastic. We talk about this regularly on our blog, where we cover the fallout of the improper waste management of plastics. We see plastic everywhere, from inside of our oceans, to inside the food chain. The fact that it is inside of our food is very worrying, because many of the components of plastic are damaging to the health of us and other living things.

We can see similar widespread environmental harm in cases of oil spills, CFCs and HCFCs damaging the Ozone layer, and many more as well. There are also a number of things which can be massively harmful on your own local environment.

Some examples of this include a look at how poorly constructed and maintained sewage systems can harm public health, or how improperly cleaned and contained building sites can be harmful to the respiratory system. There have been numerous problems caused by buildings with asbestos components, which when broken can become highly dangerous fibres which can easily spread in the environment.

So how can we avoid these situations?

An important thing to bear in mind is that all of these bad situations are fundamentally avoidable. Sometimes containing all waste and making sure that it has no environmental impact is exorbitantly expensive, while at other times it can actually be profitable to keep and recycle the various waste products produced, and yet often we don’t do it. Avoiding the situations thus becomes an exercise in examining the various waste creating activities of human society; to see which tasks are necessary and which aren’t; what technology can be used to to control waste; and what role third party services can play in the management of waste.