CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!!

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Observations on different aspects of management of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in India

Compiled from contributions to discussions in Groups concerned with Waste Management on LinkedIn

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CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!!

  1. 1. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in India Compiled from contributions to discussions in Groups concerned with Waste Management on LinkedIn By Ramesh Satyam Freelance Consultant October 2013
  2. 2. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India Table of Contents Chapter 21, Agenda 21 .......................................................................................................... 3 Is there an enabling environment for segregation to happen? ................................................ 3 Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) .......................................... 4 Integrated Waste Management ............................................................................................. 5 Reordering the Informal Sector .............................................................................................. 6 Separation, Sorting and Segregation - SSS .............................................................................. 6 The benefits of setting up a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) ................................................ 7 Back to School ....................................................................................................................... 8 Emission standards and compliance ....................................................................................... 9 The limitations of technologies in vogue ................................................................................ 9 Avoid the need to carry around low value material over long distances, recover resources from waste closer to source ................................................................................................. 10 The situation at Bengaluru ................................................................................................... 10 The changing scenario in Mumbai ........................................................................................ 12 A different approach to manage the situation in Kerala ....................................................... 13 2
  3. 3. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India Chapter 21, Agenda 21 More than 20 years have gone by since action plans with different time frames for developed and developing nations were prescribed through Chapter 21 of Agenda 21 to improve the situation regarding management of solid wastes at Rio Di Janeiro in a UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Why has the envisaged progress lagged behind schedule? What is being done to realize saturation and extension of waste management services by local governments worldwide to be better late than never in reducing impact of disasters and climate change? Bright Ideas & Best Practices have been there all along but the pace at which they are adopted is perhaps too slow. As the problem of management of wastes keeps growing, what should local governments do to realize saturation and extension? Is there an enabling environment for segregation to happen? Very little segregation happens at source unless the waste contains something of value that the generators can, without much effort, encash through disposal for reuse or recycle. This something could be old newspapers, magazines and books, empty milk sachets, PET & Glass bottles, waste metal etc., When the quantity of a reusable or recyclable is very little and the economic benefit from it's disposal is not adequate to meet the cost and effort of segregation and environmentally friendly disposal, the generator either dumps it in a waste bin along with other wastes for collection by conservancy workers doing door to door collection or by a truck that is contracted or owned by the municipality for solid waste collection and transport. 3
  4. 4. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India If there are no bins or collection service in an area such as new places where the city is expanding, seeing un-segregated wastes dumped or set on fire in the open on vacant and unused land, alongside the streets and at the street corner is a common phenomena. Rag pickers and conservancy workers do not harvest all that can be reused or recycled from the mixed wastes and prioritize the extraction of items that fetch them a higher monetary value on disposal to a scrap dealer. This is mostly because of a limitation in the volume that they can carry in person. Waste is often perceived by the generator as something that is unwanted and of no use like the dead. The tradition of dealing with the dead as done in different religions is to quickly get rid of the corpse before it begins to rot through means of disposal such as cremation, burial or leave it to birds of prey on top of a tower like the Parsis do. Waste generators are polluters who have to facilitate and pay for the environmentally safe disposal of the waste they generate and not rewarded with incentives for segregating. Instead of an incentive for segregating, there ought to be a disincentive or a higher price for managing mixed waste by service provider. Giving incentives for segregation can be used to promote, trigger or motivate and as a gimmick but is not a sustainable activity. Generators receiving incentives for segregation often tend to feel that the incentive is too small and they deserve a bigger reward for the good work they are doing and are likely to abandon the good work unless they are given an assurance that the incentive will be increased soon. Lack of service and infrastructure for segregated collection and recycling in a particular area leaves generators with no choice of means of disposal. What would generators who segregate wastes do if the waste collector empties their segregated wastes into a single bin? Will the generator continue to segregate wastes in spite of knowing that the wastes will get mixed while being collected? Segregation and streamlining into different waste streams rarely happens in India. It is usually a single stream of mixed wastes that reach treatment, processing and disposal (TPD) facilities where resource recovery is far from optimal because of inadequate infrastructure, higher costs in recovery of compost, recyclables etc. from mixed wastes, and then huge quantities are generated each day and arrive at a inadequately prepared TPD facility where landfill is what is done with most of the waste materials that arrive there. And if the landfills get filled much earlier than planned , the return to sending materials to dumps and open fires for the time being, till we have something else to amend the situation again is the ad hoc measure at most recently implemented and under implementation projects in municipal waste management. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) PPP Agreements that have been signed for about a decade by ULBs and private companies with the hope that private investments and management will ameliorate the situation regarding management of waste materials have mostly been pompous, progressed very slowly and exposed those working in them to work in a disaster for a limitless period with very little external assistance coming in to accelerate remediation and establishment of appropriate infrastructure for waste processing to reduce 4
  5. 5. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India landfill. MSW Management & Handling Rules 2000 fosters the development of PPP for creation of appropriate infrastructure and operating it. Perhaps decentralized projects of smaller capacities like say 100 TPD with ability to convert over 90% into useful resources should be encouraged to reduce transportation costs as well as prevent the waste from being carried to a centralized facility where thousands of tons land everyday with very little recovered as resource from it and the waste is either rotting and leaching or on fire becoming a public health hazard. It is essential for urban local bodies (ULB) to have better clarity on price for service delivery and investments required in infrastructure to ensure quality service otherwise private service providers to whom the function of local body is outsourced will quote ridiculous prices to be the least to bag the work in a tender but would greatly compromise when it comes to service delivery at the expense of the environment. In a society where many polluters manage to get away without paying and producers have no extended responsibility, it is the ULB that ends up mostly footing whatever expense that is incurred on SWM all by itself with little recovery of cost from generators. Our ULBs get revenues from Property Tax, Municipal Trading Licenses, and grants from State & Central governments etc., a part of which is spent on SWM. Usually only about 10% of the money spent by ULB on SWM is spent on treatment processing and disposal and a similar amount is spent on collection and transportation. Primary collection is nowadays often outsourced to NGO's, waste collectors etc., and they charge a small service fee from households like Rs 50 or less per household. Given this scenario, saturation and extension of SWM services is expected to be planned and implemented by waste managers through PPP. PPP is desirable as it could enable ULBs to focus on the core areas of regulation and enforcement and not be bogged down with operational issues that can be outsourced to the private sector. Integrated Waste Management Integrated Waste Management is often a misnomer. As far as a ULB is concerned it could mean integrating the different aspects carried out by different players like its own staff and workers, private organizations, NGOs, rag pickers etc. to keep the surroundings clean, safe and tidy. From the perspective of a TPD facility either managed by the ULB itself or set up and operated for it by a private organization it could mean having facilities to recover resources such as reusables, recyclables, compost, energy etc., and a scientific landfill to deposit the residual waste after reduction through resource recovery. Presently most ULBs by themselves hold the responsibility of activities ranging from primary collection to final disposal and manage to effectively collect only about half of what is generated with the rest often set on fire in the open or dumped in vacant lands putting public health at great risk. This is why PPP is seen as a possible solution to address problems concerned with waste management. 5
  6. 6. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India Reordering the Informal Sector The so called informal sector has the petty scrap dealer who engages rag pickers for resource recovery from waste, mostly reusables and recyclables. The rag pickers usually receive less than 1/2 the price realizable on sale by scrap dealer for the reusables/recyclables they make available to the scrap dealer for disposal. Rag pickers are usually indebted to the scrap dealer and could be punished severely if caught selling their find elsewhere. The residual waste after resource recovery is usually heaped and set on fire in the open or dumped in unauthorized places by rag pickers and scrap dealers. Poverty, depression, repression, suppression and oppression have dehumanized rag pickers and almost all of them take drugs and alcohol to put up with their daily chores. A good number of rag pickers aren't in the right state of mind to be able to relate with other groups in society. Conservancy workers who are also mostly from the underclass do not like to be identified with rag pickers and usually keep a distance from them. Another dehumanizing occupation in India is manual scavenging that still continues in some places in spite of a legal ban on this occupation. Glorifying the role of rag picker in SWM while they are on the fringe of society closer to other creatures like stray dogs and crows than with fellow humans is deplorable. Priority must be given to their rehabilitation and reengagement in a more dignified form of work that necessarily need not be in the realm of SWM. Separation, Sorting and Segregation - SSS Unpacking and separating packaging material that may be non-biodegradable (except for some types of paper packaging) unlike the contents that can be converted into compost has a cost and effort. The reluctance in unpacking and separating packaging material can hinder resource recovery from expired products and they find their way directly into landfills. SSS has to be dealt with on a case to case basis. Time and Work study in doing SSS for each type of waste needs to be done as some shopping malls have thousands of items. Appropriate technology and process line to improve productivity has to be worked out otherwise it will become a very labor intensive affair. A simple example that can be considered is an empty water or soft drink bottle. The cap and the ring around the neck of the bottle, the bulb and the label are made using different kind of polymers. The three need to be separated and sorted for value addition as only a lower value would be realized from its disposal if this is not done. 6
  7. 7. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India We will have to calculate the revenue that will be realized from sale of recovered resources like compost, recyclables etc., and deduct the costs of storage, collection, transportation, SSS, landfill etc., and if revenue is lower than costs, make up for the difference in cost to at least break even through charging a fee from the generator of waste to make the business sustainable. Labor working with scrap dealers is usually familiar with the value addition part through SSS. In a situation when it is difficult to do value addition through SSS for various reasons it may be better to dispose recyclables like empty water/soft drink bottles as it is to a scrap dealer who will arrange for SSS and make the waste available in form desirable by recycler for recycling. The benefits of setting up a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) All types of plastic wastes cannot be taken up for recycling. Plastic wastes have to be segregated at source or sorted from mixed plastic wastes and washed or cleaned to minimize or remove contaminants before recycling. The waste management options are reuse, recycle and waste to energy/fuel for reduction and disposal of non-recyclable plastic materials such as packaging materials made from a mix of polymers, paper, metals, paints, pigments etc., Most recycling processes including that of paper could be called down-cycling but still they reduce consumption of virgin raw materials drawn from nature, provide recycled materials for consumption and options other than reduce and reuse for disposal enabling resource recovery while reducing landfill. As only a part of recycling and resource recovery potential of human made materials such as paper, plastic, metal, glass, rubber etc., is realized from informal sector businesses involving scrap dealers, conservancy workers, rag pickers and generators with priority given to salvage of materials of greater value with the rest being discarded or left uncollected, it is desirable that a MRF is created to absorb and replace the existing informal network for optimal recovery of human made materials from waste streams and prevent indiscriminate disposal of rejects after resource recovery. To ensure that the creation of a MRF is not perceived as a threat to the livelihoods of those involved in the informal sector it would be desirable to rehabilitate as many as possible from the informal sector for work at the MRF. In scenarios where waste is not segregated at source and bio-degradable wastes(garbage) such as food and horticultural wastes get mixed with rubbish (recyclables, inerts etc.,) and a single stream heads towards a dumping site or a treatment, processing and disposal(landfill) facility, a MRF has to be created closer to the final point of disposal. Labor working in collection and transportation salvage recyclables at the time of collection and during journey to landfill often encash on recyclables by selling them to scrap dealers who have their informal shops on the way to the landfill. The MRF should be able to competitively purchase such recyclables from them and wean them away from selling it to scrap dealers. 7
  8. 8. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India Use of appropriate technology such as conveyors, devices for separation based on size and properties of material that have to be sorted would increase investments in MRF and reduce labor required for sorting and material handling. The recovered materials have to be further streamed for recycling and incineration/thermal destruction/pyrolysis/gasification for heat/fuel recovery or energy generation. The critical path has to be conceived for minimizing distance over which the materials are carried and reducing material handling costs of low value material otherwise the economics of the business can get unwieldy. Back to School Many schools nowadays have environmental sciences as part of curriculum which wasn't so during the days I was in school. For awareness and sensitization of students and staff, a slide show on waste management which covers topics such as segregation, hierarchy of waste management options, different activities in a SWM process etc., can support a participative discussion on the subject. Some things that I noticed during visit to schools to promote segregation and recycling: 1) In schools where there are no separate dining halls and students have their lunch in the classrooms, food waste is dumped in bin in the class room and this gets mixed with other dry wastes in the bin. 2) Mixed wastes are dumped in open area near the school or in the backyard and set on fire once in a while. To cooperate with conservancy workers responsible for keeping school premises clean and tidy, students and staff should facilitate segregation of wastes in separate bins and avoid littering. If there is no external agency to collect wastes from the premises, the conservancy workers can heap bio-degradable such as food and garden wastes and perhaps paper not suitable for recycling at a place within or near the premises and protected from stray animals for conversion into compost. 8
  9. 9. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India Examination answer sheets and old newspapers, magazines, books etc., are usually weighed and sold for recycling. If there is a hostel, there are usually large quantities of waste left behind when students leave on vacation and a good part can be recovered for reuse and recycling. Dry waste such as paper waste should not be left in the open and stored in a covered area or packed in waterproof bags otherwise they will lose value before they are taken for recycling. In a developing country, the per capita generation of waste is low when compared with developed countries and a school with about 1000 students would generate about a ton or two a month of waste and about 5 tons for a month or two like during end of academic year. This is a small quantity which is easy to manage and school authorities should enforce good practices within their premises. Emission standards and compliance In the EU and US, emission standards were made more stringent some time ago. It sounded good, raising the bar of emission standards for upcoming RDF units to protect public health from bioaerosols, endotoxins, dioxins and furans. The question is, how far have we succeeded in ensuring compliance in India with the earlier or currently prevalent local emission standards? Nearly a quarter of the MSW generated in a city like Hyderabad is burnt in the open either at or closer to source, perhaps because it will not be removed, collected and transported in time. The remaining i.e. about 3500 Metric Tons is collected, transported and deposited in a dump site that's on fire for long that's yet to be put out. Conservatively, about 5000 MT of MSW is burnt in the open in and around the city everyday and add to this the emissions from vehicles, industries etc., It makes me wonder as to how over 6 million people still survive and thrive in this place? The limitations of technologies in vogue The overs from trommels and sieves used in compost extraction process from mixed wastes are often branded as RDF and this finds few or no takers. Other than size based separation through mechanical process, other automated separation processes for recovery of specific materials either for reuse, recycling or raw material for RDF are missing and in their absence a labor intensive manual process for resource recovery i.e. recyclables and RDF other than compost alone has to be in place initially on windrow platforms and compost plants which itself is a civilized alternative to picking from dump sites on fire. Recovery of recyclables and RDF and their segregated storage can be done on windrow platforms and in compost plants by pickers from conveyors, overs, and unders and from spreading of material in heaps on the platform. Pickers and sorters can in this way recover a lot more resources from mixed wastes than they can from wastes dumped directly on land without processing as well as help in reduction of waste that goes to landfill. The only thing achieved with considerable success in Integrated Waste Management Projects is weighing and recording of weight of MSW(Municipal Solid Waste) on a electronic weighbridge and 9
  10. 10. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India taking digital images of truck numbers, loaded/empty pictures of the trucks bringing in MSW and settlement of payments to concessionaire by ULB on the basis of weight of material handled. Tipping fee or gate fee for processing and disposal on site is provided by local government where the concessionaire is expected to apply scientific and environmentally safe methods in recovering resources from recycling, conversion to energy and minimize landfill. After weighing and unloading there is very limited effort towards resource recovery and the final outcome is not very different from what was happening before at a time when there were no weighbridges, that's dumping, fires, smoke, leachate mixing with groundwater etc., Aerobic composting in open windrows of mixed MSW is very expensive and exposed to the vagaries of nature. Therefore it is not done sincerely and only a token production and a small fraction of potential of recoverable resources are realized. When half the MSW generated is biodegradable, it should be easy to separate a considerable part of this from other wastes and use the separated biodegradables (shredded or pulverized if their size is big) for in-vessel composting and anaerobic digestion for realizing bio gas, heat and fertilizer as products and effective reduction of over 90 % of the waste in a environmentally safe manner. The set up and sustained operation of in-vessel composters and anaerobic digesters to consume whatever biodegradable wastes that are generated is a better, secure, controlled, reliable and resource rich alternative to the dirty composting process happening in the windrows and diversion of large parts of the received MSW to dumps and landfills. Non recyclable plastics and paper, cloth, wood etc, can be subject to thermal destruction, pyrolysis or gasification for fuel production or energy generation and if investments in unit to do this will take time to be made, such RDF material can be processed or baled suitably and used by cement plants as an alternative fuel. Avoid the need to carry around low value material over long distances, recover resources from waste closer to source Reduce collection and transport (C&T) costs by recovering resources closer to source (point of generation) as this consumes most of the budget available for waste management and eats into resources that could alternately be invested for creation of appropriate infrastructure for waste minimization through resource recovery. Creation of infrastructure for recovery of resources closer to source of generation will prevent the need to carry low value material in diesel burning trucks and dumping them in a place at the outskirts with inadequate infrastructure and little ability to recover resources from material that's dumped over there. The situation at Bengaluru Brihat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) set up a pilot solid waste processing unit in Yelahanka with facilities to convert bio-degradable wastes into compost and extrusion of segregated plastics to reduce volumes of plastic waste which would otherwise be expensive to transport to a recycling unit. This unit handled less than 5 Metric Tons of mixed wastes a day and this waste is brought to that facility by Auto 10
  11. 11. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India Trolleys that do primary collection in the Yelahanka area. About 8 workers at this unit fully segregated the components that can be taken up for reuse, recycle and compost manufacture from the mixed wastes brought to this facility thus reducing the waste that has to be taken for landfill. BBMP spends about Rs.600 Crores or Rs. 6 billion on Solid Waste Management and 1 % of this i.e. about Rs. 6 Crores is spent almost evenly on Collection & Transportation and Treatment, Processing and Disposal. The officially declared quantification of wastes generated at Bengaluru is about 3500 Metric Tons. The biggest spending on Solid Waste Management is usually on Street Sweeping in Indian cities as a lot of litter lands on the street instead of bins. C & T contracts are usually for a 5 year period and are not renewed in time although ad hoc arrangements are made for continuity of service. With the change from payment on Trip basis to payment on Metric Ton basis, compaction has gained relevance with contractors deploying compactor vehicles to carry more loads per trip. Most transport vehicles such as Dumper Placers, trucks and compactors directly go after primary/secondary collection to TPD sites without consolidation of loads from smaller vehicles into larger ones happening at a transfer station. There are three overburdened TPD facilities established under PPP through a Concessionaire Agreement usually for a 20+ year period that are trying to cope with new and emerging realities by creating additional infrastructure and processes such as gasification and W2E that are operated by Srinivas Gayathri, Terra Farma and Ramky. Each operator has different terms of agreement with the BBMP for management of wastes delivered to their sites and are paid Tipping Fees at different rates on a percentage of the tonnage accepted by them for TPD with the remaining quantity assumed as having got reduced or recovered as a resource such as compost and recyclables. Two of them have received land from BBMP for setting up facility while one of them owns the land on which they have set up the facility. TPD facility at Mavallipura in 2012, Photo: Indian Express As regards hazardous industrial wastes and bio medical wastes, the principle of "the polluter pays" works to a fair extent and facilities for management of such wastes have been set up and operated by Ramky and Maridi in Bengaluru/Karnataka. 11
  12. 12. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India ITC Ltd through their WOW (Wealth Out of Waste) initiative promotes segregation of waste at source in schools, colleges, residential colonies and institutions/organizations and have over the last few years been successful to a small extent in preventing recyclables from ending up in landfills. They arrange to buy the segregated recyclable wastes from source and take it for recycling. The changing scenario in Mumbai The old fashioned way (only collection, transportation and disposal at dumps) worked well three decades ago when most of what was generated as waste was bio-degradable, but with changing consumptive patterns and rapid urbanization, the volumes, characteristics and composition of waste has undergone a sea change. Mumbai is a city created from joining together islands through landfill and reclamation. It's an intensely populated narrow and long stretch of land protruding into the Arabian Sea. Rail transfer carrying waste from Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) via Kurla to Deonar/Mankhurd has been happening for over 40 years there. It's the commercial capital of India and things new are often introduced there first before they reach elsewhere in India. There are many manufacturing industries making many kinds of products located here and perhaps this city generates the largest volumes of industrial wastes and effluents in India. This place receives heavy rainfall and the people there have demonstrated great ability to recover fast from crisis and disasters. There are around 125,000 conservancy workers formally employed by Mumbai Municipal Corporation for a 20 million plus population. The per capita generation of about half the people living there is very low as they are reeling under poverty and they have very little available for consumption. Informally over a million people must be making a livelihood out of handling waste like rag pickers, conservancy workers employed as contract workers etc. A million plus people have only waste as a resource to eke out a living like for making a shelter in a slum, compete with kites, crows, stray dogs, pigs to get their hands on wasted food to feed their hunger, use combustible wood/plastic/rags as fuel for cooking etc. During travel along the suburban routes of local trains you can sight litter along the tracks that are adjacent to the shanties of the poor and putrid stench of polluted water bodies and garbage. It's the better half comprising of the middle class and elite that generate most of the officially declared 6500 MT that the BMC is handling and they like to retain their freedom to litter within their country while they wouldn't do so during visits to other countries where they will be penalized or punished if they were caught littering. Extended producer responsibility and polluter pays principle do not work effectively over here. 2/3 rd of the conservancy workers with BMC had struck work some time ago because the local government was not sincere in implementation of salary hikes as per the Sixth Pay Commission (revision of pay of government employees recommended in 2008) along with better house rent allowance (HRA), travel allowance, basic pay, dearness allowance, working hours and grant of leave but withdrew quickly to prevent a public health hazard. Such conservancy workers are mostly from formerly untouchable, Scheduled Caste/ Tribe communities or from Backward Castes. Local bodies have been trying to gradually do away with their formal employment with benefits with local body for avoiding the need to address issues raised by their unions 12
  13. 13. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India through outsourcing of work for which they are employed to contractors who source labor at lower costs. These are social contradictions that may escalate or be resolved depending on the negotiators representing the employers and the workforce. A different approach to manage the situation in Kerala Shortcuts i.e. dumping and burning are the most prevalent mode of waste disposal not just in Thiruvananthapuram, but in Kerala and the rest of India. With lot of rainfall in Thiruvananthapuram, it's even more difficult to replicate the dirty, inefficient and expensive open windrows for composting being done at Bangalore and Hyderabad as a step forward (or backward given their inefficiency in recovering useful resources and reducing landfill) towards compliance with MSW Rules, Anaerobic Digestion and InVessel composting will be more suited for treatment of organic wastes and quite a few organizations in Kerala have successfully set up and are operating digesters in schools, colleges, hospitals etc., Small facilities that can handle quantities of 10, 100, 1000 Kgs and can treat and process segregated organic wastes closer to source in a controllable environment generating biogas or heat and fertilizer as end products for use with no residual waste for landfill will create saving on transport of very low value material over long distances and dumping it in a semi rural outskirt area mostly inhabited by impoverished communities. If organics and recyclables are recovered as resources or raw materials closer to source, the residues left will be mostly non-recyclables that could be baled and shipped if required over longer distances to industries that can safely use them as RDF. Decentralization of waste management will compel communities to manage their wastes in a responsible manner and overcome the expectation of local government to pick up whatever is unwanted and discarded by a community and dump it in the neighborhood of a community not necessarily under its jurisdiction often a so called panchayat area. The local government must support the creation of infrastructure along with other stakeholders such as generators, residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) for decentralized processing of organic wastes and baling of recyclables and RDF. The sweepers, primary collectors and waste picker groups should be trained in doing O & M of the infrastructure created. Thiruvananthapuram has a population of about a million and a municipality with 100 wards. The daily generation of MSW is less than 1000 MT and the organic fraction available for treatment and processing must be about 300-500 MT. If concerned stakeholders get together in each ward and create infrastructure such as build digesters within the ward on land of less than an acre to treat and process 1000 to 5000 Kgs of biodegradables a day and operate them properly and continuously, there would be no need to transport such material to far off places. The daily generation must be about 500 MT. The best they manage to collect per day so far must be about 300 MT (assuming 60 % efficiency). Over 100 MT per day will be disposed through arbitrary dumping, burning, and consumption by stray animals etc., Less than 50 MT of what is presently being generated as organic waste is being utilized for conversion into useful resources like biogas and fertilizer. India, well known for its skills in producing Gobar gas from cow dung, should extend it to handle a wider range of organic feedstocks like food wastes, sewage etc., and maybe call the gas GOBAR+. 13
  14. 14. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India On finalizing on a suitable site, a digester of about 100 cubic meter capacity that can treat about a ton of MSW a day and produce about 100 cubic meters of biogas a day (that could be used for generating about 15-20 KW of electricity for about 10 hours a day) and organic fertilizer as slurry can be set up and made fully operational within a month at an investment of about Rs. 1.5 million and an operating expense of Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 15,000/- a month that can be partly and perhaps fully recovered in ideal conditions through use/sale of biogas, electricity and/or fertilizer. Beginning with the set up of a 100 cubic meter capacity digester that would give minimum ability to handle about a ton a day per ward it would mean an investment of Rs. 15 Crores @ Rs.15 Lakhs per Ward. Additional capacity if required can be built subsequently. Since different agencies of government promote and can benefit from use of biogas technologies, different government departments like municipality, sewerage board, new and renewable energy should work and support in the better management of the organic fraction of MSW. Such systems are already up and running well in quite a few places locally in Kerala and they have been built by local companies and some of them have received commendation/ award for their work. Similarly, states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have organizations that have done commendable work in conversion of organic wastes other than cow dung into biogas and fertilizer. The department of New and Renewable Energy in Andhra Pradesh alone has a target of 15000 Digesters that it supports in construction through subsidy every year, but this is in rural areas with mostly cow dung as feedstock and the thing that is fixed up is the digester called Deenabandhu of less than 2 cubic metre capacity with the biogas directly used without cleaning of H2S and water vapor to run a stove for cooking twice a day. Other than the fixed dome Deenabandhu, the floating dome KVIC is pretty popular and working models are there are many trained technicians undertaking works to construct digesters of medium and large sizes for organizations like diary, government departments, schools, colleges, hospitals etc., Then we have organizations like BARC, TERI, IIT Delhi and many such organizations that have demonstrative and commercial units up and running using their technologies, some patented. Concerning economics of construction and optimization of benefits, Shenzhen Puxin of China has made it easier to construct digesters using steel mould to cast the digester in place of drawings and measurements. Using a reusable single mould (comprising of many pieces) over a thousand digesters can be constructed and it takes less than a week or fortnight to set up a system of 10 or 100 Cubic Meter with much lesser labor and material. Other items like gasholders, mincing pumps, disintegrators, fittings, pipings, desulfurizer, pressure pumps, stoves, rice cookers, burners, lamps, gensets are available at ex China prices off the shelf, that look better than the price you could get similar products locally. Puxin systems are working successfully in over 60 countries and they have good production capacity. Although India and China were neck to neck concerning installation of biogas units, China surpassed us multifold in terms of installed capacities and biogas production through use of wider range of feedstock and production of equipment in a modular and industrial scale. For nations in Africa and India where investment in purchase of steel mould looks unviable when fewer number of units are required by a particular user, there are solutions like plug and play ready to install digesters made of red mud plastics from other Chinese manufacturers like Shenzhen Sunrise Econergy that enables affordability of technology. 14
  15. 15. CROW - Create Resource Outta Waste!!! Observations on different aspects of management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in India If the generator refuses to segregate waste, the primary collector accepts it in a mixed form, removes and keeps aside whatever is felt of value either while loading or while unloading near the dumper bin. Other than a fee of less than Rs. 100 and usually as low as Rs. 20 that a primary collector earns from each of the about 150 houses he or she collects waste from and deposits in a bin for secondary collection. Usually members of his/her family sort and recover reusable and recyclables that are an important supplement to their family earning from primary collection. It is easy for them to segregate organic wastes that are fit to be treated in a digester and they can be trained in operating the digesters and in management and productive use of resources recovered i.e. biogas and fertilizer. It is easy for sweepers to separately collect fallen leaves and other quickly biodegradable waste and have them deposited in the feed tank of a digester for processing instead of burning them. Large kitchens, restaurants, hotels can generate enough fuel for cooking using the processing and food waste and sewage they generate instead of having someone to carry the food waste far away to feed animals or thrown in the public bin. Facilities do not exist in most places and the facilities in the largest of cities are environmental disasters from which attempts for recovery are very slow. Pilgrimage and Tourism are important sources of income to the economy of Kerala, and a sum of Rs. 15 Crores is a small investment that would generate employment, business to local industry and improve public health conditions and sanitation. The high literacy in the State and lead in the country as far as devolution of powers to local government is concerned; Kerala is best placed to conduct such an experiment in decentralized management of waste. 15

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