Know about the Waste Management Alternatives

In our daily life, we can see several type of wastes around us like urban waste, industrial waste, biomass waste and biomedical waste. We will discuss about some of the alternatives for the waste management.

What is the issue?

The high volumes of waste generated calls for a sustainable method of waste management.

What is the concern?

  • Industrialisation is very important for developing countries like India that has a huge population.
  • Rapid acceleration in urbanisation and per capita income lead to high rate of municipal solid waste generation.
  • As more people shift to urban areas and as incomes uplift, consumption levels also increase and so are the rates of waste generation.
  • These days E-waste and plastic waste are also contributing to total waste in a big amount.
  • This could get to be a potential hazard to human health and environment if left unaddressed.
  • This will be ultimately a reason for groundwater contamination due to percolation, and increase in air pollution due to the release of harmful gases.

How can we manage waste in a better way?

  • Classification – Wastes are broadly classified into Urban waste, Industrial waste, Biomass waste and Biomedical waste.
  • Urban waste includes Municipal solid waste, Sewage and Faecal Sludge.
  • Industrial waste could be segregated as Hazardous and Non Hazardous.
  • Waste to energy technologies – The problems caused by solid and liquid wastes can be significantly mitigated through the adoption of environment friendly waste to energy technologies.
  • This will allow treatment and processing of wastes before disposal.
  • Though the cost involved is higher than other renewable resources, it is still an attractive option, as it serves a dual purpose of waste disposal and energy production.

Benefits of W-E conversion

  • If we apply right technology with optimal processes and if all components of waste are used to derive value, waste to energy can be a profitable business as well.
  • The Indian Government also provide various incentives to encourage waste to energy conversion sector and make it profitable.
  • The process of waste conversion will also give co-products which invite opportunities for the enterprises to enhance their profit.

Available Technologies for W-E Conversion

  • Thermo Chemical Conversion – This process entails high temperature driven decomposition of organic matter to produce either heat energy or fuel oil or gas.
  • Thermal Conversion – The process involves thermal degradation of waste under high temperature. In this method complete oxidation of waste occurs at high temperature.
  • Biochemical Conversion – This is actually based on enzymatic decomposition of organic matter by microbial action to produce methane gas, alcohol etc.
  • Electrochemical Conversion – It refers mainly to microbial fuel cells. The immobilised microbial cells are catalytically exploited, for the accelerated transfer of electrons from organic wastes, to generate electricity and bio hydrogen gas.

What are the constraints?

  • Most of the proven and commercial technologies in respect to urban wastes needed to be imported.
  • Waste to Energy is considered as a new concept in the country.
  • If we talk about the costs of the projects especially based on biomethanation technology is very high.
  • In view of low level of compliance of Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000 by the Urban local Bodies, segregated municipal solid waste is generally not available at the plant site and make them unavailable for waste to energy plants.
  • Dearth of financial resources with urban bodies is another crucial constraint.
  • Lack of conclusive policy guidelines from the state governments concerning allotment of land, supply of garbage and power purchase / evacuation facilities.

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