Call for campaign on source reduction, reuse and composting
CHENNAI: The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests will soon issue a notification making it mandatory for all local bodies to adhere to the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, by December 2008, according to R. Sethuraman, Adviser, Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, Ministry of Urban Development.
He was inaugurating a three-day international conference on sustainable solid waste management, organised by the Centre for Environmental Studies, Department of Civil Engineering, Anna University, and the Asian Institute of Thailand here on Wednesday. Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency is supporting the conference.
Though the deadline for implementation of the rules was December 2003, hardly any urban local body had implemented it. Only Namakkal in Tamil Nadu and Suryapet in Andhra Pradesh have achieved 100 per cent collection and transportation of solid waste, he added. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is revising the rules at present, he said.
Mr. Sethuraman said that this was the status even as domestic and trade wastes were being thrown out on the streets, construction debris was left unattended and untreated bio-medical wastes dumped into the municipal waste stream without adhering to the bio-medical waste handling rules. Industrial wastes were disposed of in open areas or in municipal landfill without treatment, he added. Segregation of waste at source was lacking, he lamented.
The waste treatment processes would need to shift towards recovery of recyclables and energy generation, he said, adding that segregation at source with two bags needed to be promoted so as to enable improvement in the quality of raw waste from households.
Professor of Environmental Engineering at University of Kalmar in Sweden William Hogland said that 95 per cent of all solid waste in the world was landfilled or dumped. Incineration was the highest in Switzerland — 80 per cent, biological treatment was highest in France at 22 per cent and the United States topped the list with 75 per cent of sanitary landfilling of wastes. Japan was burning 72.8 per cent of its wastes followed by Denmark — 70 per cent.
He pointed out that a majority of landfills in Africa, Asia and South America were open dumps.
He said that the future of waste was in going for zero wastes, using resources in cleaner and economical ways, achieving eco-efficiency in production of goods with less energy and fewer natural resources. There was a need for eco-cyclic thinking and a closed loop philosophy, Prof. Hogland said.
Anna University Vice-Chancellor D. Viswanathan said a holistic approach was required for efficient waste management based on the generators taking the responsibilities for their own wastes.
Waste management programmes should include strong public education campaigns on source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting, he said.
Director of the Centre for Environmental Studies K. Thanasekaran and Assistant Professor Kurian Joseph spoke.