Knowledge Channel

Improper disposal of solid waste and its consequences

The incorrect disposal of solid waste can cause many inconveniences and losses. It seems obvious, but a lot of people still flush garbage down the toilet.

According to Sabesp (Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo), it is very common to find all kinds of waste in the sewage system – food scraps, disposable diapers, sanitary pads, medicine packages, pills, beauty products, panties and underwear. And it doesn't stop there: some solid waste found in sewage networks is quite unusual. Among them are balls, toys, revolver bullet casings and even dead animals – what a horror!

The consequences of improper disposal

Plastic is a worldwide problem. It is estimated that by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish. We hope this does not happen, but the fact is that the environment is in danger. When we discard items such as straws, bags and plastic packaging incorrectly, whether on the streets or in sewer networks, they end up clogging up drains and pipes, increasing the risk of flooding and polluting rivers and seas.

In addition, plastic is also responsible for the death of aquatic fauna.

Often animals ingest this material or even suffocate with the garbage that floats in the waters.
In fact, plastic is already part of the food chain and, according to the documentary Plastic Tide, those who regularly consume seafood ingest around 11,000 pieces of microplastic annually.

According to UN reports, it is estimated that about 80% of marine pollution originates on land. Heavy metals, pesticides and sewage, among other pollutants, are carried to coastlines through rivers. Regarding plastic waste, 13 million tons reach the seas every year, mostly from river waters, which carry garbage from cities and countryside to the beach.

The Plumbers Museum

To avoid problems caused by improper disposal of solid waste, such as clogging and backflow of the sewage system – especially in the rainy season – care with domestic networks must occur frequently.

That's why it's important to always make sure that the piping is in good condition and that there are no clandestine connections - but the main guideline is not to throw garbage in the toilets, sinks, drains and vacant lots.

And it is not just solid waste that are the main villains of sewage networks. It is estimated that about 190 liters of oils are improperly discarded every hour.

A project carried out by BRK Ambiental's Rio Claro unit brought together parts that were found and removed from the city's sewage networks. In Rio Claro alone, more than 115 tons of solid waste were collected – among them objects such as cassette tapes, toys, drink bottles, dentures and even a bowling ball.

In order to alert the population, the unit created the Plumbers Museum. The idea is to carry out preventive work to raise the awareness of the population and indirectly avoid cases of clogging of sewage networks.