ABOARD USS WASP, At Sea (NNS) -- How do ships that are deployed or underway dispose of their trash? It's not as easy as dragging a can to the curb.
For Fireman Segun Iluyomade, who is part of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) auxiliary division, working in environmental for a little over two years has taught him the importance of properly processing and dumping trash that is brought in from different work centers.
Proper dumping of trash is vital and, if it is not done correctly, can become unsanitary, unhealthy and life-threatening for marine mammals and fish.
"My job is very challenging and, believe it or not, it has given me a wide range of knowledge," Iluyomade said. "It is a job that many people on board don't like and make light of. Not only do I gain knowledge on how vital it is to do the job properly, I also gain knowledge on how to fix some of the equipment if it happens to break down.
"Generally, most of our trash comes from the mess decks, usually 100 to 150 bags of food waste and other things a day, and that is a lot," said Iluyomade, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native. "Being allowed to dump some trash, such as paper and metal, over the side has eliminated some of the backup that we have had. That allows us to take trash that has to be taken from food service."
Wasp's environmental includes five temporary duty personnel from the ship, including both Sailors and Marines.
"The different work centers that provide our personnel give us high quality people," said Senior Chief Engineman (SW/AW) Raymond Brown of Providence, R.I. "They don't give us people they want to get rid of."
When temporary assigned duty Sailors and Marines report to environmental, they attend a training course before working with the machines and the trash. They learn to use the machines and how to properly discard the trash that comes in.
"The job may not be the best job on board," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Eric Moore of Macon, Ga., who is TAD to environmental. "But somebody's got to do it."
Several machines help environmental to run smoothly and get rid of trash that is on board. The compressed melting unit melts plastics into discs that are placed in a tri-wall until the next underway replenishment transfers the discs to another ship for disposal on shore. The pulper grinds the food and paper waste and discharges it overboard.
"We [even] have a metal shredder that shreds metal and glass," said Iluyomade.
Every job on board is important and plays a vital role in the ship's mission. Preventing health hazards and unsanitary spaces is environmental's part, and they are going to do the job until the end.
"Being the one to work in environmental has made me more responsible," Iluyomade said. "I am not only responsible to my division, but to the whole ship."
Iluyomade never thought he would be dealing with trash, but now that he has been exposed to the job, he has learned to enjoy it.
"Others may complain about how dirty or nasty the job may be. I consider it a wonderful job because, to the best of my ability, it is done accurately and in a professional manner," Iluyomade said. "Though some look down on the job and don't want to do it, it is good to know that others appreciate what I am doing and the service I provide."
For more news on the USS Wasp (LHD 1), go to www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd1, or visit them on the Web at www.spear.navy.mil/ships/lhd1.