To deal with micro-plastics at the Coonoor waste management park at Ottupattarai, local expertise and equipment used traditionally in tea factories are being employed to sort out small bits of plastic waste.
Two persons, Soman and Sunil Goyal from Halacarai had suggested to the waste management centre that a high-speed sifter and a slow-moving conveyor could be used to separate the micro-plastics instead of a sorting trough. They had also donated their sifter and lent their technical support during installation and operation of the equipment.
P.J. Vasanthan, trustee of “Clean Coonoor,” which runs the waste management park with the help of the local municipality, stated that “one of the main challenges” in dry waste management is the escape of tiny bits of plastics such as sachet snips into the environment as the size of the plastics make them difficult to sort.
Clean Coonoor estimated that around 10-20 kg of such micro-plastics inadvertently find their way into the surrounding environment for every tonne of waste sorted at the facility.
“Larger articles are dealt with and sorted in the sifter which separates dirt and organic material from the waste stream as well. The smaller articles which tend to be missed are picked up on the conveyor. The system not only helps in identifying and picking up small plastics but also helps in detecting and disposing other small sized hazardous waste such as small-sized wires and circuitry, button cells and other small items,” said a press release from Clean Coonoor.
The press release added that the NGO hoped that the new equipment would prevent leeching of harmful chemicals found in e-waste and also micro-plastics slipping through the sorting process.
Samantha Iyanna, Managing Trustee of Clean Coonoor said that she believed that similar need-based, local solutions will go a long way in effective waste management at the facility.