Waste management by waste reduction


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Waste management by waste reduction

  1. 1. Title: Waste management by waste reduction at source.Introduction:Just in the last few years, the amount of waste generated in cities, where data is available for scrutinyhas shown that there has been a sizable rise in solid waste – 40,000 tonnes of solid waste in urban areasper year. This phenomenon can be said to have arisen due to change in lifestyle of the people living incities and change in consumption pattern. More and more people are on the move from villages to citiesto look for work. Even as cities spill over and split their sides, burgeoning in numbers of people living intheir area, the local Municipal Corporation has had to buck up its boots to meet the growing heap ofwaste.The main source of Municipal waste can be catagorised as follows: * House hold waste * Commercials: * Street sweeping * Hotels and restaurants * Clinics and dispensaries * Construction and demolition * Horticulture * SludgeComposition of Municipal Solid Waste in IndiaBy definition of the Ministry of Environment - "municipal solid waste" includes commercial andresidential wastes generated in a municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excludingindustrial hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes” -(http://www.moef.nic.in/legis/hsm/mswmhr.html )In India the biodegradable portion dominates the bulk of Municipal Solid Waste. Generally thebiodegradable portion is mainly due to food and yard waste
  2. 2. Source: National Solid waste association of IndiaWith rising urbanization and change in lifestyle and food habits, the amount of municipal solid waste hasbeen increasing rapidly and its composition changing. There are different categories of waste generated,each take their own time to degenerate (as illustrated in the table below).
  3. 3. Source: National Solid waste association of IndiaFrom the above data it is evident that it is the biodegradable part of waste which has increasedthe most. Let us take a look at a city like Chennai with 2002 census as 50,00,000Total MSW generation (MT/day) Garbage 3200 of which Quantity of domestic MSW (MT/day)is 2516 where biodegradable content consists of 49%,Paper (%) 6.45Rags 4.50Plastic (%) 2.50Leathers and rubbers 1.45Glass inerts (%) 37.50Metal (%) 0.04Others (%)1.40(Source: National Solid waste association of India)In 2000 Central Pollution Control Board concluded that with a population of 41.34 ( Census
  4. 4. 2001) the waste generation in Chennai at that time was (kg/c/day) 47 where waste generated was2594 (MT/day) when total waste generated in the country was 100,000 MT (years 2000) – Source: (http://www.cpcb.nic.in/wast/municipalwast/Waste_generation_Composition.pdf )Taking Chennai as an example, it is clear that most of the garbage is generated from homes andtherefore it is also probable that the waste generated while being biodegradable, may be due tolife style changes and food habit changes.Therefore, the ideal mix and match of waste reduction would be to control/reduce waste atsource, which in this case means the home.The problem on hand seems easy, but it is not so. Consumption patterns in urban homes withworking adults relying heavily on packed and ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, causeswaste in terms of paper and packaging material. In homes, where this is somewhat regulated,waste still forms part of garbage, because people waste cooked food and they throw peals andseeds in vegetables, fruits, because they are not any more aware of what can be done with these.Neither is the tradition of old recipes alive in homes any more. So for both lack of time andknowledge, throwing things seems to be the pattern in homes now.If this is to be taken as a challenge, then it is necessary to find ways to reduce waste at source.What they do abroad:The European Unions approach to waste management is based on three principles:Waste prevention: This is a key factor in any waste management strategy. If we can reduce theamount of waste generated in the first place and reduce its hazardousness by reducing thepresence of dangerous substances in products, then disposing of it will automatically becomesimpler. Waste prevention is closely linked with improving manufacturing methods andinfluencing consumers to demand greener products and less packaging.Recycling and reuse: If waste cannot be prevented, as many of the materials as possible shouldbe recovered, preferably by recycling. The European Commission has defined several specificwaste streams for priority attention, the aim being to reduce their overall environmental impact.This includes packaging waste, end-of-life vehicles, batteries, electrical and electronic waste. EUdirectives now require Member States to introduce legislation on waste collection, reuse,recycling and disposal of these waste streams. Several EU countries are already managing torecycle over 50% of packaging waste.Improving final disposal and monitoring: Where possible, waste that cannot be recycled orreused should be safely incinerated, with landfill only used as a last resort. Both these methodsneed close monitoring because of their potential for causing severe environmental damage. TheEU has recently approved a directive setting strict guidelines for landfill management. It banscertain types of waste, such as used tyres, and sets targets for reducing quantities ofbiodegradable rubbish. Another recent directive lays down tough limits on emission levels from
  5. 5. incinerators. The Union also wants to reduce emissions of dioxins and acid gases such asnitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxides (SO2), and hydrogen chlorides (HCL), which can beharmful to human health. (Source: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/index.htm)In India, some of the technologies available for MSW treatment are:o Compostingo Vermin-compostingo Refused Derived Fuel (RDF) for utilizing in power generationo Bio-methanationo Landfill as a bio-reactorA number of NGOs have been working in the area of waste management, through a process ofwaste utilization. For example: Plastic waste is now used to make bags and foot mats. Cut humanhair has been sold to wig makers. Paper is recycled. Food waste is composted. However, these allare indicative of managing waste creatively, after it is already created. The real leap frog wouldbe to actually reduce waste, at source, meaning reduce waste in the very process of crops andvegetables growth, thereby, reducing waste afterwards.Meanwhile in Karjat Janwani, an NGO in Maharashtra is working on a concept wherein the needfor dumping ground itself can be done away with. It is an administrative model supported byvalue chain analysis to convert it into a commercially sustainable venture. We are talking about a‘zero garbage ward’;wherein the ward definition chosen is that of an electoral ward - thesmallest administrative unit in the ULB (Urban local bodies).Their model works on taking award in Karjat and going from house to house to educate on segregation of waste at house level,into wet and dry waste. This waste is then picked up by rag pickers from house to house, whilewet waste is disposed by using biogas plant, composting pits at the ward level itself. This methodfrog leaps the present method used across, where waste, both dry and wet are collected at oneand the same time and then segregated. This method also supports gainful employment of ragpickers, who otherwise have no dignity for labour.(Source: Nimal katrak Dekhan: http://www.janwani.org/images/environment/zero%20garbage%20_concept%20note_janwani.pdf)At a more deeper level waste must be managed from point of production itself. Thus, to speak ofZero-waste, one cannot overlook the contribution of plantation without waste – More than 30years after it was published, farmer sage Masanobu Fukuoka’s cult book One-Straw Revolution,continues to inspire Indians who implement it in their own farms.These farmers do not plough or till the land. They do not use fertilizers but rather, turn to thewaste generated in their farm, to fertilize their fields.Picture this:https://picasaweb.google.com/rajuktitus/UntitledAlbum#5520055805115685074In his article “Waste to energy generation, the requirement of today”, EPC World, page 118-9,expert and Chairman of Organic Recycling Systems Pvt. Ltd, provides another solution by
  6. 6. advocating Reduce-Recycle-Reduce dynamics. He goes on to say that if in the case of 40,000million solid waste generated in urban areas per year, 1500 MW of power could be generatedfrom this waste with another 1000 MW of industrial waste too, it is worth using waste-to-energyprojects to handle our energy deficit in India.The advantages of waste-to-energy projects he sites as: (a) Quantity of waste is reduced by nearly 60 – 90% depending upon waste composition and technology adopted to convert waste to energy. (b) Land filling requires less land (c) If the waste is generated in urban areas and land fill is also there, cost of transportation of waste is reduced (d) There is net reduction in environmental pollutionIn the process of biomethanation, cited above, the organic waste undergoes bio-degradationproducing methane rich biogas which can be used for domestic and industrial purposes and insteam turbines to generate motive power or electricity. The sludge from anacrobic digestion, viz,the process by which organic waste is converted to biogas, has multiple uses thereafter. (a) It can be used as soil conditioner (b) Sold as manureThe advantages of this process are: (a) It produces energy/power and compost (b) Emission to atmosphere is ZERO (c) Land requirement is less (d) Produces good quality compost free of metals and pathogens (e) There is no fear of soil/groundwater/downstream pollution (f) Net reduction in environmental pollution is much higher compared to other technologies