VYING WASTE WITH BIOTECHNOLOGY
How Biotechnology can win War against Waste Disposal?
Author: PALAK JAIN
As we move to the 21st century the environment suffers endless contamination of resources. It is because of the social and economical activities performed by human beings. The waste produced is undesirable to such an extent that if not oversaw properly, it can influence one's health, diminish the ozone layer, degrade the healthy atmosphere, lessen the industrial practices, and hence can make earth unsuitable for survival. 
According to the latest World Bank Report, without strict actions, global waste will grow by 70% on prevailing levels by 2050. Also in 2016, the world produced 242 million tonnes of plastic waste, or in other words 12% of all solid waste. 
Talking of India, the country generates more than 1.50 lakh metric tonne of solid waste each day. Of the total collected waste, only 20% is processed and the rest 80% is dumped at landfill sites completely exposed and untreated. Urban India produces 62 million tonnes of waste (MSW) yearly, and it has been speculated that this will strike 165 million tonnes in 2030.  
In order to improve the present-day situation, waste management is implemented. And one of the best ways to achieve this is through BIOTECHNOLOGY. Let's learn how.
Biotechnology is the application of experimental and engineering methods to alter and utilize biological elements to generate goods and services. This encompasses the use of natural agents such as organisms, tissues, cells, or secluded enzymes to modify raw elements to goods of greater importance. It majorly helps in removing waste materials or reducing environmental pollution by providing environmental-friendly alternatives. It is also used for bioremediation of polluted environment. 
Some techniques based on biotechnology in wastewater treatment are activated sludge, percolating filters, oxidation tanks, biological filters, and anaerobic treatment. Examples of solid wastes are horticultural waste, trash, litter, dead animals, industrial solid waste, digging and metal waste while instances of liquid wastes are sewage and numerous industrial effluents. 
Let's have a look at different types of wastes
Biodegradable v/s Non-biodegradable waste
|Biodegradable (organic) waste||Non-biodegradable (inorganic) waste|
|1. They can break down biologically into natural elements by the action of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.||1. They cannot break down biologically into natural components.|
|2. They exist for a short period and can be recycled.||2. They exist for a long period and cannot be recycled.|
|3. Examples are stale vegetables, paper, cardboard, agricultural wastes, etc.||3. Examples are plastic, metal, tire, digging and mineral materials.|
As we have seen that non-biodegradable solid waste which is inorganic in nature can be toxic or dangerous to man and his surroundings and one of the most suited approaches to be used to lessen its impact is through biotechnological techniques.
1. PHYTOREMEDIATION: It comprises the straight use of green plants for in-situ degeneration of pollutants in soils, residues, debris, and groundwater. Phytoremediation as a division of bioremediation uses various devices in deteriorating contaminants and they are- Phyto-stabilization, Phyto accumulation, Phyto-volatilization, Phyto-remediation, etc. Some of them that are used for phytoremediation is Brassica juncea, Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), Armoracia rustica, Alyssum, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower), etc. 
2. BIOSORPTION: Biosorption can be described as a simple metabolically inactive physicochemical procedure required in the binding of metal ions (biosorbate) to the surface (biosorbent) which is of the biological source. Biological removal incorporates the usage of microorganisms, plant-derived elements, agriculture or industrial wastes, biopolymers, and so on. 
3. FERMENTOR: A fermentor is a type of bioreactor used for industrial production in fermentation industries and is a device in which a substrate of low grade is employed by living cells or enzymes to create a product of higher grade. The active organisms particularly bacteria combines the useful elements and break down the harmful ones. They are widely chosen for food processing, fermentation, and waste treatment.  
4. BIOFILTRATION: Majorly used in the purification of wastewater it is a pollution control process using a bioreactor comprising living elements to seize and biologically degrade the contaminants. Additional uses of biofilters include processing wastewater, macrobiotic oxidation of pollutants in the air, and so on.
5. BIOLOGICAL LEACHING: Biological leaching (or biomining) is a method in excavating and biohydrometallurgy (biological means of interactions within microorganisms and minerals) that extract metals from a low-valued ore with the help of microbes like bacteria. Nickel, cobalt, copper, uranium, gold, silver are some metals that are dissolved through bioleaching. 
6. COMPOSTING: It is a process in which microbes degenerate waste at high temperatures. It includes the decomposition of organic matter into compost, which acts as great manure for plants. Composting is normally achieved at temperatures exceeding 55°C.
7. ACTIVATED SLUDGE: This is a method of treating sewage and wastewater in an aerobic atmosphere using natural agents such as bacteria and protozoa. A standard activated sludge system has four parts; an aeration tank, a clarifier, a return sludge pump, and an arrangement for carrying oxygen into the aeration tank. 
 Nichodemus, C., 2017. Biotechnological Techniques Of Waste Management And Limitations Of Bioremediation.
 World Bank. 2018. Global Waste To Grow By 70 Percent By 2050 Unless Urgent Action Is Taken: World Bank Report.
 Shrivastava, R., 2019. India's Trash Bomb: 80% Of 1.5 Lakh Metric Tonne Daily Garbage Remains Exposed, Untreated.
 RECYCLING magazine. 2020. Waste Management Crisis In India - RECYCLING Magazine.
 Nicodemus, C., 2017. Roles Of Biotechnology In Solving Environmental Problems.
 Kanamarlapudi, S., Chintalpudi, V. and Muddada, S., 2018. Application of Biosorption for Removal of Heavy Metals from Wastewater.
 Biology Discussion. n.d. Fermentor (Bioreactor): History, Design And Its Construction.
Available at: https://www.biologydiscussion.com/industrial-microbiology-2/fermentor-bioreactor-history-design-and-its-construction/55756
 Angloamerican.com. n.d. Bioleaching Definition & Process .
Available at: https://www.angloamerican.com/futuresmart/our-industry/mining-explained/mining-terms-explained-a-to-z/bioleaching-definition-and-process#:~:text=Bioleaching%20(or%20biomining)%20is%20a,such%20as%20bacteria%20or%20archaea.