Timely Disposal of Biodegradable Wastes Reduces Health Hazards of Rag-pickers

The timely disposal of biodegradable wastes is significant as the Carbon Dioxide and Methane content present in such Waste decreases after lapse of time causing loss to its quality, said Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI Durgapur while deliberating in a virtual webinar titled ‘Technologies for “Solid/Liquid/ E-Waste Management and Opportunities for MSMEs’ today.

Presenting the technical details, Prof. (Dr.) Hirani showcased how the Pilot Plant of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) installed at the CSIR-CMERI Colony premises itself  since 2017 is realising the goal of ‘Zero Waste’ propagating the ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’ in true sense making the Colony a zero waste campus. He also advocated for utilization of small plants in the range of 0.5 to 5 tonnes per day (TDP) waste as the de-centralized at local levels instead of going for single centralized 250 – 1000 TDP plants. This would save the cost towards fuel and transportation as well as provide employment opportunities at local level, commented Prof. (Dr.) Hirani. As per different sources, 50 to 60 % of the wastes come from the bio-degradable wastes. However, the studies carried out by the Institute revealed that the bio-degradable wastes contribute up to 80% of the waste.  It is also the belief of Prof. (Dr.) Hirani that untimely disposal of biodegradable wastes causes more harm to the environment and creates health hazards to the rag-pickers. He, hence, called upon more involvement of public and other stakeholders in decentralisation of waste disposal.

It is to be mentioned that the scientific innovations adopted by the Institute enabled proper and smooth handling in segregation during the COVID period, breaking its chain in the campus in a mechanized way. CSIR-CMERI has installed the MSW plant in Manipur and at CRPF Group Centre, Durgapur. The products like briquettes, pallets and bricks are made as output from the wastes and utilised in a scientific manner. He also discussed in detail on the modules i.e. mechanised segregation of solid waste, biogas from organic fraction of solid waste, vermin-compost of bio-degradable wastes, Briquette making from agro/horticulture/bio-degradable wastes, Pyrolysis of plastic waste, Agglomeration of plastic waste and reprocessing, plasma gasification of plastic/sanitary wastes, utilisation of construction & demolition waste for scientific disposal of  MSW  including the concepts of Plasma Arc Treatment, Bio-methanation Plant, Zero Landfill and the like.

Among the other speakers of the webinar, included Dr. A. K. Ghosh, Chairman, Bihar State Pollution Board, Patna, Smt Pratibha Sinha, Executive Officer, Patna Municipal Corporation, Shri V. M. Jha, Head, MSME-DI, Patna besides host of entrepreneurs from micro and small enterprises & local government officials.

Dr. A. K. Ghosh, Chairman, Bihar State Pollution Board, Patna said that day to day wastes are causing several environmental issues. ‘Plastic which was called a wonder material sometime is proving now as a major cause of concern for the environment’ he added. He expressed that due to lack of public participation, lack of finance, land and improper implementation of the guidelines on the subject, the optimum results are not still being obtained since a longer period.

Smt Pratibha Sinha, Executive Officer, Patna Municipal Corporation also emphasised for adoption of smaller plants as installed at Durgapur for larger benefits and advocated for public- private participation as called by Prof. Hirani. She also supported the improvement of the tendering system for selection of best MSW management plants in smaller cities.

Shri V. M. Jha, Head, MSME-DI, Patna appreciated the idea of ‘Zero Waste to Zero Landfill’. Shri Naveen Kumar, Assistant Director, MSME-DI, Patna presented in brief the Govt. of India guidelines and procedures for effective disposal of e-wastes particularly cell phones, batteries etc.

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