Science Behind Deonar Landfill Site Fire

Following satellite images dated January 2016 taken by NASA show the landfill site fire at Deonar, Mumbai. The landfill fire caused serious drip in air quality & smog around the city for several days.

landfill site smoke

Why Landfill Site Catches Fire?

A landfill fire occurs when waste dumped of in a landfill site ignites & fire spreads. In landfills that do not cover their waste with daily cover of soil, biological decomposition creates substantial heat & methane. This flammable combination of heat and methane gas cause materials in the landfills to spontaneously ignite.

landfill methane and fire

Landfill methane & fire

What most of us do not know is: Municipal Solid Waste disposed of in landfill generates 2 to 15 kg of “landfill gas” per metric ton of waste per year. Landfill gas generally contains 45-60% methane and 45-60% of Carbon Dioxide.[Source] Methane is 25 to 30 times more potent green house gas and contributes marginally to global worming. Methane generated from landfill sites is highly flammable. Typically the landfill site has about 100 to 300 feet height of garbage stacked over area of several hectors. Such a huge mass of garbage generates hundreds of kilograms of methane every day. Thousands of kilograms of methane remains trapped several feet below surface, waiting to ignite.

Large scale landfill fires indicate lack of following preventive measures:

  1. Scientific Waste Management: Effective segregation, material  recovery and composting of daily municipal solid waste. Government of India has established MSW Rules 2000 for effective management and handling of municipal solid waste. Machinery and Technology is now available to recycle up to 80% of municipal solid waste. This ensures that only 20% quantity of waste reaches landfill site & thereby reduce the fire risk and landfill emission by 80%.
    Municipal Solid Waste Management
  2. Cover the landfill with scientific layer of rock bed, geo-textile and soil. Drill methane capture wells in the landfill sites to collect underground methane to fire/explosion.landfill methane collection
  3. Methane Capture (and Flaring/ Waste to energy): The landfill gas must be captured using a scientifically proven methods to prevent landfill fires. Captured methane can be used for energy generation.
    Landfill gas methane capture
  4. Bio-remediation and scientific landfill site closure: Bio-remediation is the use of biological methods to degrade, disintegrate, transform and/or eliminate contaminants from municipal solid waste. Bio-remediation is a natural process that utilizes the normal life functions of bacteria, fungi & plants. Bio-remediation and scientific closure of landfill site is essential to prevent fire and emission of hazardous landfill gas.
    Landfill site closure

Every day millions of tons of solid waste is sent to landfill sites without scientific measures. In near future, lack of scientific waste management can lead to large scale fires similar to Deonar landfill site across India & globe.

About Author: Suhas Dixit is CEO & Director of Pyrocrat Systems LLP. Pyrocrat has established several waste management projects including 300TPD Municipal Solid Waste Management Facility at Navi Mumbai and Series of Waste Plastic/Tire to Diesel Projects 

Cabinet likely to approve policy for producing more compost from municipal garbage

NEW DELHI: In its bid to push production of compost from municipal solid waste, the Cabinet on Wednesday is likely to approve the proposal to provide subsidy to cities that will take up this task vigorously. As per the proposal, the fertilizer ministry will provide Rs 1,500 subsidy to city administration and municipal bodies for selling every tonne of such compost.

The proposal also includes making it mandatory for the urea marketing companies to sell compost from municipal waste. Sources said the norm is likely to mandate selling of 3-4 bags of compost for every 6-7 bags of urea. Read more

Cabinet likely to approve policy for producing more compost from municipal garbage

NEW DELHI: In its bid to push production of compost from municipal solid waste, the Cabinet on Wednesday is likely to approve the proposal to provide subsidy to cities that will take up this task vigorously. As per the proposal, the fertilizer ministry will provide Rs 1,500 subsidy to city administration and municipal bodies for selling every tonne of such compost.

The proposal also includes making it mandatory for the urea marketing companies to sell compost from municipal waste. Sources said the norm is likely to mandate selling of 3-4 bags of compost for every 6-7 bags of urea.

India produces around 62 million tonnes of urban waste annually, but most of it is not recycled. At present, annually about 1.5 lakh tones of compost from such waste is made while the potential is 50 lakh tonnes, sources said.

“The Cabinet proposal is to push the production. Until we have the supply, how can we expect people to buy them? Already as per the Swacch Bharat Scheme 20% viability gap funding can be provided from the sanitation programme to convert waste into manure. This will help the municipal bodies, which are facing huge shortage of space to dump solid waste,” a government official said.

Way back in 2004, the Supreme Court had directed Centre and state governments to take necessary steps and prepare an action plan for management of municipal solid waste in Metro cities and states capitals.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Cabinet-likely-to-approve-policy-for-producing-more-compost-from-municipal-garbage/articleshow/50550283.cms

Your School Needs Effective Solid Waste Management

The fact that solid waste in schools is fast increasing cannot be overemphasized. This is attributed to increased population in schools. If you are a school manager or a city-county waste management coordinator, discover simple yet effective procedures of managing solid waste in your school.

Teachers and students can also be part of these approaches to rid their environment of undesirable waste. After all, many states require that all schools manage their solid waste efficiently. Read more

Mass movement needed to tackle garbage menace

Thiruvananthapuram: A mass movement in the lines of people’s planning programme is the need of the hour to save Kerala from the suffocating garbage crisis, suggests a paper presented at the fourth international congress on Kerala studies organized by the CPM.
The paper calls for making garbage processing a habit and says all citizens should play a part in it. Read more

Risks and hazards in waste management and recycling

risks-and-hazards-in-waste-management-and-recycling-bin-man

Waste management and recycling workers are susceptible to all kinds of risks and hazards ranging from the minor to the major. In fact, the number of fatal incidents in the waste and recycling industry is more than ten times the national average and accident rates are four times the national average.

Over the last five years there have been 37 worker fatalities in the UK in the waste management and recycling injuries. Nine of these fatalities were a result of being struck by a moving vehicle, five were a result of a machinery-related incident, and three of the cases were a result of falling from a height. Read more

An Investment Opportunity In Trash

As incredible as it might seem, processing trash may represent a future unique investment opportunity. Consider the new technologies that will operate on the micro scale, breaking the bonds of molecules through bio-mechanical means, which could be applied to recycling trash completely. It is quite possible that many of these innovations may emerge from our efforts to explore and live in space.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, we have polluted our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans with pesticide and fertilizer runoff, mining and oil wastes, petrochemical products and thousands of other dangerous products.

Pollution has reached the point where a cleanup of our environment — on a macro scale with heavy equipment — is impractical. Despite present efforts, humanity is losing the fight to manage trash. Read more

Should plastic bags be recycled or banned?

California has become an interesting test-case for both approaches to one plastic problem.

Back in 2006, California passed a law that mandated a system for recycling plastic shopping bags. Today, supermarkets and other large stores have receptacles where plastic bags can be returned for recycling.

However, a recent report from the Associated Press found that it’s difficult to measure how successful this program has been. They found that the data collected by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has not been analyzed since 2009, when about 3 percent of bags made it to recycling. The department did provide reporters with the raw data: Read more

MSW Generation in the Middle East

The high rate of population growth, urbanization and economic expansion in the Middle East is not only accelerating consumption rates but also increasing the generation rate of all  sorts of waste. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait rank in the top-ten worldwide in terms of per capita solid waste generation. The gross urban waste generation quantity from Middle East countries has crossed 150 million tons per annum.The world’s dependence on Middle East energy resources has caused the region to have some of the largest carbon footprints per capita worldwide. The region is now gearing up to meet the challenge of global warming, as with the rapid growth of the waste management sector. During the last few years, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have unveiled multi-billion dollar investment plans to Improve waste management scenario in their respective countries.  Read more

Significance of E-Waste Management

optimized-ewaste-pile
Electronic waste (or e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream, and its disposal is a major environmental concern in all parts of the world. More than 50 million tons of e-waste is generated every year with major fraction finding its way to landfills and dumpsites. E-waste comprises as much as 8% of the municipal solid waste stream in rich nations, such as those in GCC. Globally only 15 – 20 percent of e-waste is recycled while the rest is dumped into developing countries. However, in the Middle East, merely 5 percent of e-waste is sent to recycling facilities (which are located in Asia, Africa and South America) while the rest ends up in landfills. Read more