Project for waste management

With the city going back to zero- waste processing mode following the winding up of the Murukumpuzha railway platform project, the State government and Suchitwa Mission are now planning to experiment with the next available option to deal with the garbage menace in the city - waste baling.

Baling is a technology used to reduce the volume of solid waste by compressing and compacting it using a power-run machine in order to facilitate storage and transportation.

Suchitwa Mission will soon float tenders to procure waste baling systems with a total capacity to bale 200 tonnes of garbage a day. The proposal has been put forth as an interim solution to deal with the piling heaps of garbage in the city until the mobile incinerator and air-fed gasification plant projects are commissioned.

“Since we cannot zero in on any consistent method to deal with the garbage disposal until these projects materialise, we have decided to make use of baling technology to compress the accumulated waste. Both organic and inorganic waste will be compressed and stored using this technology and later processed when the mobile incinerators and gasification plant is commissioned,” a government official said.

The official said un-segregated waste can be baled and stored for up to three months, by which time the waste processing units would be commissioned.

However, experts in the field of waste management have expressed surprise over the proposal to bale biodegradable waste, which they say in not a proven technology and is, in fact, unheard of. Although waste baling is widely used to compact and store non-biodegradable waste such as plastic, in the case of organic waste, baling will lead to issues such as more odour and gas formation due to anaerobic action, experts said.

“Firstly, it is difficult to bale organic waste generated in our climate as it has high moisture content. Even if you bale biodegradable waste after mixing it with inorganic waste and store it together in some place, it would lead to environmental issues. Purification of compressed organic waste would cause unbearable stench and also lead to microbial and maggot problems,’’ said R.V.G. Menon who heads the technical expert committee on municipal waste management. He added that baling was only a technology to reduce the volume of waste and not a solution to waste processing.

However, government officials are positive about the project.

“It is true that baling of organic waste could lead to some anaerobic action. However, in our case, this is only a temporary solution to deal with the garbage menace. All the baled waste will finally be processed through incineration or gasification process,’’ the official said.

He added that Suchitwa Mission would initiate the tender process for procuring baling systems within a week.