Growth in instances of detection of toxic chemicals in polar ice caps, drinking water supplies, and groundwater sources have shifted the focus of the public and environmental regulatory authorities around the globe on the health and environmental risks from inappropriate disposal methods of hazardous waste into the environment. Accumulation of large quantities of hazardous wastes around the globe is attributed to the rise in hospital waste generation and rapid urbanization in developing countries. Major industries responsible for the production of hazardous wastes globally include pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, fertilizers, paints & dyes, pesticides, petroleum, asbestos, and inorganic chemicals. Most common toxic materials found in hazardous wastes are cyanides, heavy metals, complex aromatic compounds, pesticides, and others with high toxicity, flammability, reactivity, and corrosiveness. Discharge of hazardous waste in open without treatment results in acidic and alkaline chemical seepage into potable water aquifers and fertile soils. This degrades the quality of the soil and makes fresh water aquifers unusable.
Treatment of hazardous wastes can be carried out by converting the harmful waste material into low toxic substrates, which can be further treated through physical, biological, chemical, and thermal processes. This is followed by the dispersal or disposal of the produced residue under manageable and controlled conditions. Technologies used for the treatment of hazardous wastes include filtration, neutralization, chemical precipitation, oxidation & reduction, biological treatment, thermal treatment, and chemical fixation and solidification. The type of technology to be used for treating a particular type of hazardous waste depends on the nature of waste stream, process effectiveness, economics, job flexibility, public exposure, and health & safety practices. The type of hazardous waste is also segregated according to ignitibility, corrosiveness, reactivity, and toxicity of the waste material. Filtration technology for the treatment of hazardous waste comprises the usage of porous medium subjected to a specific pressure gradient to filter out particulates from the waste material. Reverse osmosis and urethane filtration methods can also be employed. Common filtration materials used for hazardous waste treatment include activated carbon, vacuum filter, semi-permeable membranes, and porous cartridge. Neutralization technology is based on the chemical reaction between acidic and basic chemicals present in hazardous wastes. This method uses acids and alkalies for waste treatment by means of chemical reactions. It is used for the treatment of wastes, which consist of metallic impurities. A batch or continuous reaction reactor can be used for the neutralization method. Reduction method for hazardous waste treatment employs strong oxidation or reducing agents to precipitate the complex metallic impurities, which cannot be treated with the neutralization technology. A redox reaction system is needed with hydrogen peroxide and ozone/UV light system to treat hazardous waste through reduction technology. The biological treatment of hazardous waste is carried out through aerobic and anaerobic methods. Aerobic or anaerobic digester plant is required in the biological method.
Hazardous waste treatment helps lower harmful chemical and biological pollutants from entering into the environment. Additionally, hazardous waste treatment also helps in reducing environmental pollution and also helps in reducing land utilization for dumping of wastes. It also enables to prevent the spreading of diseases. This, in turn, is expected to drive the hazardous waste treatment market. Growth in urban population, increase in industrial waste production, inadequate waste collection measures, and stringent waste management policies are some of the drivers of the hazardous waste treatment market. North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific are the prominent regions of the global hazardous waste treatment market. Asia Pacific is a rapidly growing region of the hazardous waste treatment market owing to the rise in urban population, increase in environmental pollution, rapid industrialization rate, and implementation of stringent rules for disposal of hazardous waste in the environment in China and India. Currently, North America is the major region of the hazardous waste treatment due to the strict policy implementation, superiority in waste segregation, robust waste collection network, and technological superiority in hazardous waste treatment.
Key players operating in the Hazardous waste treatment market are Daniels Sharpsmart Inc., Clean Harbors Inc., Republic Services Inc., Suez Environment SA., and Stericycle Inc.
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