Tag Archives: waste management

Open Burning of Household Waste – What can be done?

There is a real problem, out here!! Perhaps, its effect is accentuated by certain weather patterns. It is December, 2018 in Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

I used to be enamored by the view I would have from our 13th floor flat balcony. The breezed would also be amazing for months at a stretch…

And then, this period of lull came, when I felt it difficult to breathe in fresh air, as it smelled heavily of smoke and plastic. To worsen the impact, was the continuous blanket of haze, which engulfed all that was beautiful giving an ominous, dull feel.

I felt as if this is the end of all that was good…I would keep the doors and windows of our house shut, and worry for my kids’ and husband’s health. I would also worry what would my aged mother breathe in, if I call her to my place?

However, today is new day…the weather has improved…It seems to be a fresh day, with the beautiful colors of nature, again showing from my house’s balcony.

IMG20181223114053So what was that phase, of 15 to 20 days? It was like a bad dream…

Ok, I still did not mention where from the smoke and plastic smell came? There is a widespread practice of open burning of household waste in areas in and around of Trivandrum. This is especially true for stand alone houses.

So, house after house, had a burning pile of waste , which of course, included plastic and all components of domestic waste. The fumes, would make air heavy with smoke and plastic smell. And with no breeze in the atmosphere to disperse the fumes, the resulting haze pervaded like ‘doom.’

My question here is – are we human beings, with our good minds, just around here, to be a part of the problem, rather than solution?

Do we find it ok to pollute the air to the extent, it feels terrible to breathe it in?

If it is our pollution, who will do the clean up…? Nature?

If we do not get our act straight, then we will have to keep our windows and doors shut and cover our noses with masks, till Mother Nature sends some breeze to clear our pollution…

IMG20181216181202How can we get  our act straight?

  1. Tell the Municipal governing body or Village Panchayat to get waste collected from door-to-door on a daily basis.
  2. Again, tell these bodies to incentivize waste generators to separate plastics as well as recyclables at the source level, and finally to arrange for its regular collection and scientific disposal.
  3. Further, there is a need to educate one and ll to generate less waste, especially that from single-use plastics and products.

It is high time this is done…! While this is being done, lets do our bit and reduce our contribution of waste, especially the non-biodegradable waste.

Thanks for reading.!

 

 

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Can India go the Europe way in waste management?

  • Less than 1 per cent of Swedish household waste was sent to landfill last year or any year since 2011.
  • 5 Cool Waste Management Ideas From The World That India Can Adopt
    • Meet Mr Trash Wheel From USA
    • Make Way For BigBelly And SmartBelly Bins From Australia
    • Germany Is Showing The World How To Deal With The Plastic Menace
    • Brazil Shows How To Redecorate Your House By Reusing Plastic Bottles
    • Columbia Is Giving Rewards To People For Giving Back Their Plastic Waste
  • Germany recycles more than any other country Germany has the best recycling rate in the world. Austria comes in second, followed by South Korea and Wales. All four countries manage to recycle between 52% and 56% of their municipal waste. Switzerland, in fifth place, recycles almost half of its municipal waste.
  • Plastic Ban: What India Can Learn From Other Countries Currently, India generates around 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually, where Delhi alone accounts for 9,600 metric tonnes per day. Currently, cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Karwar, Tirumala, Vasco, Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab and now Madhya Pradesh to name a few have the ban on the plastic bags in place. But, its enforcement and effective implementation is an issue.
    • France passed a ‘Plastic Ban’ law in 2016 to fight the growing problem of plastic pollution in the world which states all plastic plates, cups, and utensils will be banned by 2020. France is the first country to ban all the daily-usable products that are made of plastic. The law also follows a total ban on plastic shopping bags. The law aims at cutting the usage of plastic bags in the country by half by 2025.
    • Rwanda, a developing country in Africa is plastic bag free since 2008.
    • Sweden is following the policy of ‘No Plastic Ban, Instead More Plastic Recycling.’ There is one simple reason behind this – Sweden has world’s best recycling system. Mostly all the trash in Sweden’s system gets burned in incinerators.
    • Ireland passed a plastic bag tax in 2002. Within weeks of its implementation, there was a reduction of 94 percent in plastic bag use. And, now plastic bags are widely unacceptable there.
    • China instated a law in 2008 to deal with its growing plastic woes. China made it illegal for stores (small or big vendors) to give out plastic bags for free. End result, after two years of the law implementation, usage of plastic bags dropped by a whopping 50%.

My endeavor to spread eco-awareness through notice board in our locality!

Through display of creative posters contributed by children in our locality, on the notice board , I tried to touch on several relevant environmental issues –

  1. Air pollution (measured in terms of Air Quality Index sourced from Safar-AIR mobile app)
  2. Deforestation
  3. Water scarcity
  4. Need to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3Rs)
  5. Waste mismanagement and need to segregate
  6. Solar energy as a viable, sustainable alternative to conventional energy sources

Hope it serves the purpose!

Thanks for going through the post!

Exhibition on Zero waste by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM, or commonly called BMC), 9-11 September, 2017

Yesterday, I visited the BMC organised exhibition on management of solid waste. The venue, of the exhibition which is on today also, is Samaj Kalyan Kendra, Dahisar East, Mumbai. Through photos and remarks, I wish to give you  a peep into the event. Going by the number of visitors, it could be made out that the ordinary citizen of India is waking up to the need of efficient solid waste management…at last!

 

  • About 15 companies had put up their stalls, to showcase their latest products and technologies related to waste shredding, compacting & composting, and biogas production.
  • Following is the list of companies who participated:
    • Bhor Engineering
    • K.B. Engineering
    • Ferds Engineering
    • Asmita
    • Solwearth Ecotech
    • Sustainable Resources
    • Shree Aastha Mahila Bachat Gat
    • V Kwality Composting
    • ERS
    • Sanjeevani
    • Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
    • Panchtatva Technologists and Services
Products on display

Products on display

  • Products on Display: They were generally in the category of bio-composters, ranging from a basket by Asmita Group, priced at Rs. 350 to the tumbling ones by Mahatech Orgi Compost, priced around 12-23 k for a pair. Then, there were mechanised organic waste composters, with the price range of Rs. 0.4-0.6 Million per machine. Apart from composters, bio-gas digesters, bio-tank, and waste shredders were also on display.
  • Posters on Display:
Posters on Display

Posters on Display

Besides, useful information about composting, like in photos below, was also highlighted.

Collage 2017-09-11 13_15_35

What to compost and what not to?

 

I conclude that I appreciate this initiative, and hope that it brings positive change in the field of Solid Waste Management in Mumbai and India.

Waste Segregation – Need of the hour (World Environment Day, 2017)?

I was searching for inspiration on how I can play my part for the World Environment Day, 2017 (June 5). I could not do much; however, on my visit to Trivandrum, I discovered that the society we stayed in had robust waste segregation measures in place.

Every flat of the society was allotted two garbage bins – a green and a blue one, with lids. Rules regarding waste segregation were posted in the lobby area of each of the building of the society. Wet waste needs to be put in the green bin and the ‘other wastes’ in the blue bin. Clarification was provided regarding ways of disposal of the latter which included a wide range of household waste.

Among the rules was a critical line – the non-segregated waste will ‘NOT’ be picked up by the door-to-door waste collection personnel.

I was impressed with the efficacy of the system.

Further, I decide to see what happens to the segregated waste. I was further surprised that the society complex had an in-built waste treatment system in place. I was told that while the food waste is composted, the other waste (that which cannot be recycled) is incinerated. There was a sewage treatment plant as well, all built in the basement of the building. (See the pictures below) The use of incinerator for combustion of household waste can be debated; however, recycling is definitely a safe, sustainable option.

The bottom line is that pro-active, futuristic buildings have already starting doing their bit. Waste here is treated as a ‘resource’ as food waste generates manure for the up-keeping of the park area of the building. Further, the  recyclable waste fetches some revenue; and this way, the entire bulk of household waste is prevented from becoming an eye-sore in some part of the city, as well as a social and environmental nuisance (remember, gases from waste decomposition in landfills contribute to the dangerous ‘climate change’).

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in India has already made ‘Waste Segregation’ a theme for this year’s World Environment Day. The real difference will be when this is done in every household and every building in our country. and our world..!

…Wishing a very happy and inspiring ‘World Environment Day’ to all!

 

 

Happy World Environment Day – June 5, 2016

http://www.wed2016.com/

Happy World Environment Day , Friends!

The most visible eco-phenomenon our world is facing today is Climate Change.

Over the last one month, I have written five blogs looking at this from different angles.

There is a lot to know and lot to be done, if climate change is to be reversed or at-least slowed down.

Each one of us need to do our part, for the sake of ourselves and our children.

Do visit the my recently written blogs,

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/blog-5-climate-change-series-the-waste-connection/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/blog-4-climate-change-series-need-to-act/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/climate-change-series-paris-dealleaders-of-187-countries-stamping-on-the-need-to-take-action/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/climate-change-series-relevant-facts-leading-to-solutions/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/climate-change-myth-fast-changing-to-reality/

Thanks for reading and stay Eco-conscious!

Blog 5 – Climate Change Series – The ‘Waste’ Connection

Hello.

‘REduce, REuse, REcycle’, the 3 Rs, is the consensus mantra to reduce the effect of waste and waste management practices on Climate Change. How does Waste impact Climate Change?

“The climate benefits of waste practices result from avoided landfill emissions , reduced raw material extraction and manufacturing, recovered materials and energy replacing virgin materials and fossil-fuel energy sources, carbon bound in soil through compost application, and carbon storage due to recalcitrant materials in landfills. In particular, there is general global consensus that the climate benefits of waste avoidance and recycling far outweigh the benefits from any waste treatment technology, even where energy is recovered during the process. (UNEP)

As we know, Green House Gases (GHGs) are a major cause of Climate Change as they trap the heat radiating from the earth back to space, resulting in global warming. One such GHG is released from the breakdown of Organic waste in landfills – Methane. (GRID UNEP)

In 2016, Deonar Dumping Ground in the Indian metropolitan city of Mumbai caught fire recurrently. This is a 300 acre ground (largest in Asia) used since 1927 to dump at-least half of  garbage (untreated) of Mumbai.(NDTV) . Among other reasons for this is emission of methane, a flammable GHG.

(Pic: Courtesy, NDTV)

If less waste is generated, less spontaneous emission of methane would be there and therefore less warming due to its ‘greenhouse effect’.

Another dimension of the same is lowered GHG emissions as reduced need of production & distribution of goods due to greater application of 3Rs, result in lesser need of energy from burning of fossil fuels.  This point is well illustrated in the following diagram. (EPA)

Diagram: Life-cycle of a Product (EPA)

Further, even waste management practices like anaerobic decomposition result in GHG emissions. Traditional “waste” management represents 1 to 5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.(EPA)

Conclusion – At our level, greater  application of 3Rs is a significant way to avoid waste and reduce emissions leading to Climate change.

Thanks for Reading!