Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sustainable Solid Waste Management in India

This study examined the present status of waste management in India, its effects on public health and the environment, and the prospects of introducing improved means of disposing municipal solid waste (MSW) in India. The systems and techniques discussed are Informal and Formal Recycling, Aerobic Composting and Mechanical Biological Treatment, Small Scale Biomethanation, Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), Waste-to-Energy Combustion (WTE), and Landfill Mining (or Bioremediation).
Recyclables from waste pickers reach here, for secondary separation, Musheerabad, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Photo Credits: Ranjith Annepu

The main objective of the study was to find ways in which the enormous quantity of solid wastes currently disposed off on land can be reduced by recovering materials and energy from wastes, in a cost effective and environmental friendly manner. The guiding principle of this study is that “responsible management of wastes must be based on science and best available technology and not on ideology and economics that exclude environmental costs and seem to be inexpensive now, but can be very costly in the future”. (Annexure 1)

Lack of data and inconsistency in existing data is a major hurdle while studying developing nations. This report attempted to fill this gap by tabulating the per capita waste generation rates and wastes generated in 366 Indian cities that in total represent 70% of India’s urban population (Appendix 1). This is the largest existing database for waste generation in individual cities in India. Estimations made by extrapolating this data puts the total MSW generated in urban India at 68.8 million tons per year (TPY) or 188,500 tons per day (TPD). The data collected indicate a 50% increase in MSW generated within a decade since 2001. In a “business as usual scenario”, urban India will generate 160.5 million TPY (440,000 TPD) by 2041 (Table 7); in the next decade, urban India will generate a total of 920 million tons of municipal solid waste that needs to be properly managed in order to avoid further deterioration of public health, air, water and land resources, and the quality of life in Indian cities. In a “business as usual” scenario, India will not be able to dispose these wastes properly.
The study found out that since 2008, the number of composting facilities in the 74 cities studied (Appendix 3) increased from 22 to 40. Currently, India has more than 80 composting plants (Appendix 8). During the same period, the number of sanitary landfills (SLF) has increased from 1 to 8 while the number of RDF and WTE projects has increased from 1 to 7 (Appendix 3).
The study also found that open burning of solid wastes and landfill fires emit nearly 22,000 tons per year of pollutants into the air in the city of Mumbai alone (Figure 15). These pollutants  include Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons (HC), Particulate Matter (PM), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) plus an estimated 10,000 TEQ grams of  dioxins/furans (Appendix 14). Open burning was found to be the largest polluter in Mumbai, among the activities that do not contribute any economic value to the city. Since open burning happens at ground level, the resultant emissions enter the lower level breathing zone of the atmosphere, increasing direct exposure to humans.

Read the Entire Article @ Sustainable Solid Waste Management in India Blog

1 comment:

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