Business and Society issues in the Environment

The environment is changing rapidly due to human activities. Such human activities include poor waste management and wastage of resources leading depletion, ecosystems and habitat destruction, pollution, and wildlife extinction.  Problems cited by Leonard (2011) include global warming, extended cooling periods, and changes in weather patterns. In this case, the lack of control in such human activities will result in an adverse trend that will be challenging to correct in the future. In the light above, this paper explores the hazardous waste disposal that affects businesses and society.

The hazardous materials that affect the environment can be classified into four main categories, including biological, physical, chemical, and radiological items. All these categories have the likelihood to cause risks to human beings, animals, and the environment (plants and water bodies). In many ways, human activities related to business practices remain the significant contributors of hazardous materials in the environment. As companies engage in production, they also produce waste materials that risk the ecosystem. In his work, Gay (2015) cited a direct industrial greenhouse gas emission that comes from factories is the largest source of hazardous wastes.

Although factories are continuously urged to release low levels of treated waste, recycle and collaborate with municipalities towards waste management, most of the factories nowadays are releasing vast amounts of untreated waste into water bodies. Such kind of waste disposal results in unwanted interaction in the environment. In 2016, for instance, Vietnam authorities accused a Taiwanese owned steel plant of mass fish deaths, arguing that the steel plant released toxic wastes in water bodies (Guardian Associated Press, 2016).


According to the study by Yilmaz, Kara & Yetis (2017), businesses adopt various methods of disposing of hazardous wastes. Such strategic approaches include land disposal, deep-well injection, waste recycling, and incineration methods. The choice of the disposal method depends on the amount of risk that the waste poses, the financial implications, among other considerations. In many factories/businesses, recycling offers the best alternative even though it results in substantial financial impact.

A landfill remains one of the oldest and common types of waste management (Yilmaz, Kara & Yetis, 2017). Its advantages include convenience, cost-effectiveness, and relatively safer. Where some businesses choose to use the landfill method to dispose of risky waste materials, they may face challenges and especially if such substances lead to the neighborhood groundwater. In many countries, groundwater is a significant source of drinking water.  In this case, the waste may easily get to the human systems that cause various ailments that are difficult to treat or even manage.

The best way of waste disposal after the above elaboration remains the destruction and change of the waters into non-hazardous forms. The reduction of waste severity is made through process modifications, while some factories prefer low-level radioactive waste management strategy that tends to utilize high-temperature plasma torches. Such a procedure is capable of converting the low-level radioactive wastes into environmentally friendly waste that cannot harm human beings (Nagasaki & Nakayama, 2015). Despite being a safe method, the process can be expensive to some businesses making it technically impossible. Such companies tend to search for an alternative.

The incineration method offers a good strategy in circumstances that requires a conversion of waste materials into less harmful ones. Chang & Pires (2015) describe incineration as the combustion of waste products through the use of high temperatures. This strategy is preferred towards the reduction of waste volumes. The strategy also eliminates germs, among other chemicals. Factories burn waste materials and turn them into carbon dioxide and water, among other non-biodegrade substances.  One of the significant challenges of this alternative is its high start-up cost. Pharino (2017) adds that the ash that remains after the waste is burnt can also be hazardous. Another issue cited by Chang & Pires (2015) is the fact that burning produces harmful gases to the environment, for example, mercury and dioxins that are highly toxic.

Bioremediation refers to an introduction of microorganisms in waste to consume and breakdown the environmental pollutants. For companies or municipalities that produce biological wastes, bioremediation is recommended. As Vardoulakis & Wilknson (2016) argue, the process converts the wastes into less harmful substances as well as promoting natural dilapidation processes. Nowadays, organizations producing agricultural wastes are opting for phytoremediation, which is a bioremediation process. In this case, individuals are encouraged to plant trees that break down herbicides (Vardoulakis & Wilknson, 2016).

With the above analysis, it is evident that hazardous waste disposal is presenting a significant challenge to the environment. The three main strategies that factories are adopting towards solving waste management challenges include bioremediation, incineration, and landfills. In many countries, businesses are encouraged to adopt waste disposal strategies that minimize environmental risk. There is an emerging trend where companies are hiring specialized companies to handle their waste as they concentrate on their core business. Such companies decontaminate the wastes before they are released.


Associated Press.  (2016). Vietnam blames toxic waste water from steel plant for mass fish deaths. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

Chang, N.-B., & Pires, A. (2015). Sustainable solid waste management: A systems engineering approach. Hoboken, New Jersey IEEE Wiley.

Gay, K. (2016). Buried: Too much garbage. New York, NY : Enslow Publishing.

Leonard, L. (2011). Community campaigns for sustainable living. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.

Nagasaki, S., & In Nakayama, S. (2015). Radioactive waste engineering and management. Tokyo: Springer.

Pharino, C. (2017). Challenges for Sustainable Solid Waste Management: Lessons from Thailand. Singapore: Springer.

Vardoulakis, S., Dear, K., & Wilkinson, P. (2016). Challenges and Opportunities for Urban Environmental Health and Sustainability: the HEALTHY-POLIS initiative. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 151-4. Doi:10.1186/s12940-016-0096-1