Solid waste Management
Any waste other than human excreta, urine & waste water, is called solid waste. Solid waste in rural areas generally includes-house sweeping, kitchen waste, garden waste, cattle dung & waste from cattle sheds, agro waste, broken glass, metal, waste paper, plastic, cloths, rubber, waste from markets & shopping areas, hotels, etc. Solid waste can also be defined as the organic and inorganic waste materials produced by households, commercial & industrial establishments that have no economic value to the owner.
As per biodegradability, solid waste can be classified as:
Biodegradable: Waste that are completely decomposed by biological processes either in presence or in absence of air are called biodegradable. E.g. kitchen waste, animal dung, agricultural waste etc
Biodegradable waste can be decomposed in two ways:
- Aerobic (with oxygen), and
- Anaerobic (without oxygen)
Aerobic decomposition: Such decomposition process takes place in the presence of air. In this process aerobic bacteria act on the complex organic matter and break it down into nutrients. In this process primarily carbondioxide is produced.
Anaerobic decomposition: Such decomposition process takes place in the absence of air. In this process, anaerobic bacteria act on the complex organic matter and break it down into nutrients. In this process primarily methane and carbondioxide gases are produced.
Non-biodegradable: Waste which cannot be decomposed by biological processes is called non-biodegradable waste. These are of two types:
Recyclable: waste having economic values but destined for disposal can be recovered and reused along with their energy value. e.g. plastic, paper, old cloth etc
Non-recyclable: Waste which do not have economic value of recovery e.g. tetra packs, carbon paper, thermo coal etc.
Types of Solid Waste:
Solid waste can be classified into different types depending on their source:
- Household waste is generally classified as municipal waste
- Industrial waste as hazardous waste
- Biomedical waste or hospital waste as infectious waste
Municipal solid waste:
Consists of household waste, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets. This garbage is generated mainly from residential and commercial complexes. With rising urbanization and change in lifestyle and food habits, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing rapidly and its composition changing. In 1947 cities and towns in India generated an estimated 6 million tonnes of solid waste; in 1997 it was about 48 million tonnes. More than 25% of the municipal solid waste is not collected at all; 70% of the Indian cities lack adequate capacity to transport it and there are no sanitary landfills to dispose of the waste. The existing landfills are neither well equipped nor well managed and are not lined properly to protect against contamination of soil and ground water.
Industrial and hospital waste is considered hazardous as they may contain toxic substances. Certain types of household waste are also hazardous. Hazardous wastes could be highly toxic to humans, animals, and plants; are corrosive, highly inflammable, or explosive; and react when exposed to certain things e.g. gases. India generates around 7 million tonnes of hazardous wastes every year, most of which is concentrated in four states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Household wastes that can be categorized as hazardous waste include old batteries, shoe polish, paint tins, old medicines, and medicine bottles.
In the industrial sector, the major generators of hazardous waste are the metal, chemical, paper, pesticide, dye, refining, and rubber goods industries. Direct exposure to chemicals in hazardous waste such as mercury and cyanide can be fatal.
Hospital waste is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities in these fields or in the production or testing of biologicals. It may include wastes like sharps, soiled waste, disposables, anatomical waste, cultures, discarded medicines, chemical wastes, etc. These are in the form of disposable syringes, swabs, bandages, body fluids, human excreta, etc. This waste is highly infectious and can be a serious threat to human health if not managed in a scientific and discriminate manner. It has been roughly estimated that of the 4 kg of waste generated in a hospital at least 1 kg would be infected.
Hospital waste contaminated by chemicals used in hospitals is considered hazardous. These chemicals include formaldehyde and phenols, which are used as disinfectants, and mercury, which is used in thermometers or equipment that measure blood pressure. Most hospitals in India do not have proper disposal facilities for these hazardous wastes.
Health impacts of solid waste
Modernization and progress has had its share of disadvantages and one of the main aspects of concern is the pollution it is causing to the earth – be it land, air, and water. With increase in the global population and the rising demand for food and other essentials, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated daily by each household. This waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centers from where it is collected by the area municipalities to be further thrown into the landfills and dumps. However, either due to resource crunch or inefficient infrastructure, not all of this waste gets collected and transported to the final dumpsites. If at this stage the management and disposal is improperly done, it can cause serious impacts on health and problems to the surrounding environment.
Waste that is not properly managed, especially excreta and other liquid and solid waste from households and the community, are a serious health hazard and lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Unattended waste lying around attracts flies, rats, and other creatures that in turn spread disease. Normally it is the wet waste that decomposes and releases a bad odour. This leads to unhygienic conditions and thereby to a rise in the health problems. The plague outbreak in Surat is good example. Plastic waste is another cause for ill health. Thus excessive solid waste that is generated should be controlled by taking certain preventive measures.
In particular, organic domestic waste poses a serious threat, since they ferment, creating conditions favourable to the survival and growth of microbial pathogens. Direct handling of solid waste can result in various types of infectious and chronic diseases with the waste workers and the rag pickers being the most vulnerable.
Exposure to hazardous waste can affect human health, children being more vulnerable to these pollutants. In fact, direct exposure can lead to diseases through chemical exposure as the release of chemical waste into the environment leads to chemical poisoning. Many studies have been carried out in various parts of the world to establish a connection between health and hazardous waste.
Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016
The Environment ministry released the new Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 which will bring in a wider and more comprehensive regime for bio waste management. The new bio-medical waste management rules will change the way country used to manage this waste earlier. Under the new regime, the coverage has increased and also provides for pre-treatment of lab waste, blood samples, etc. It mandates bar code system for proper control. It has simplified categorisation and authorisation. Thus, it will make a big difference to clean India Mission.Read More..
Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
The Government has notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, in suppression of the earlier Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, said that the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from 40 microns to 50 microns. He stated that 15, 000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day, out of which 9, 000 tonnes is collected and processed, but 6, 000 tonnes of plastic waste is not being collected. Shri Javadekar also said that the rules, which were admissible upto municipal areas, have now been extended to all villages. The Minister said that notifying the new Plastic Waste Management Rules is a part of the revamping of all Waste Management Rules. This will help in achieving the vision of our Prime Minister of Swacchh Bharat and cleanliness is the essence of health and tourism, Shri Javadekar added.Read More..
Implementation Guidelines for E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016
E- Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011 were notified in 2011 and had come into force since 1st May, 2012. In order to ensure effective implementation of E-Waste Rules and to clearly delineated the role of producers in EPR, MoEF & CC, Government of India in supersession of E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 has notified the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 vide G.S.R. 338(E) dated 23.03.2016 which will be effective from 01-10-2016. These rules are applicable to every producer, consumer or bulk consumer, collection centre, dismantler and recycler of e-waste involved in the manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of electrical and electronic equipment or components specified in schedule – I of these Rules. Read More...