Waste management is the biggest roadblock to a cleaner Chandigarh

The city, which ranked second cleanest in the country in the Swachh Sarvekshan-2016 survey, is struggling

Waste segregation and recycling

Of the 370 tonnes of waste generated in Chandigarh daily, 270 tonnes goes to a garbage processing plant run by a private company which makes refuse-derived fuel pellets. The remaining 100 tonne goes directly to the dumping site. As is the wont of dumping grounds across the country, here too those living around the site have to suffer the most. The private operator has also threatened to shut down the plant if Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) does not pay the tipping fee. The Corporation on the other hand, refuses any payment on the ground because it transports the waste to the plant. Read more

Sop on sale of compost made up of waste

NEW DELHI: Pushing its mission of converting “waste to wealth”, the government on Wednesday approved the proposal to provide financial incentive of Rs 1,500 per tonne on the sale of compost made from municipal waste. The Cabinet also made it mandatory for power discoms to buy 100% power generated from municipal waste.

These decisions aim at reducing the pile up of solid waste in cities aggravating the problem of shrinking dumping sites in and around urban areas. Read more

Mumbai gets its 1st e-waste collection centre

The centre will facilitate collection of hazardous e-waste and its disposal in an environment-friendly manner.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), along with the waste management company Eco Recycling Limited or Ecoreco, has set up an e-waste collection centre at the junction of Mithibai College in Vile Parle (W). It is the first in a series of 24 such centres across the city and was inaugurated by additional municipal commissioner Pallavi Darade on Friday. The project has been undertaken on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

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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 

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

More than 30 per cent of plastic waste in Europe landfilled


Plastics recycling has grown slightly in Europe, but more than 30 per cent of total arisings continue to be landfilled, according to “Plastics – the Facts”. The annual overview is published by the industry organisations PlasticsEurope and EPRO (European Association of Plastics Recycling & Recovery).

Last year, 69.2 per cent of waste plastics arisings were recycled or used to generate energy, according to data compiled by the consulting company Consultic. The amount of post-consumer waste plastics generated in the EU28, Norway and Switzerland stood at 25.8 million tonnes, up from 25.2 million tonnes in 2013. Of these volumes, 29.7 per cent were recycled (2013: 26 per cent), 39.9 per cent were processed for energy recovery (2013: 36 per cent) and 30.8 per cent were landfilled (2013: 38 per cent).

The highest recycling rate for waste plastics was observed in Norway, where it reached 40 per cent. Quotas exceeding 30 per cent were achieved in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and Estonia. France reached just over 22 per cent. Malta ranked last with approximately 14 per cent.

While nine countries recycle or recover 95 to 100 per cent of waste plastics arisings, the majority of the remaining countries fall far short of the goal of phasing out the landfilling of plastics in Europe. Eleven EU member states recover or recycle less than 50 per cent of their plastic wastes. The highest recovery rates were observed in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Belgium and Norway. These countries achieve recovery rates of up to 100 per cent and have introduced landfill bans.




Swachh Bharat partnership with India one of the best: Bill Gates

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Bill Gates, who is Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discussed at length implementation of the sanitation campaign in urban areas of the country.

The Microsoft founder Bill Gates referred to various approaches to promote sanitation and suggested that attention needs to be paid to fecal sludge management which gives better returns in terms of health impacts. Read more

Health impacts of solid waste

Modernization and progress has had its share of disadvantages and one of the main aspects of concern is the pollution it is causing to the earth – be it land, air, and water. With increase in the global population and the rising demand for food and other essentials, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated daily by each household. This waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centres from where it is collected by the area municipalities to be further thrown into the landfills and dumps. However, either due to resource crunch or inefficient infrastructure, not all of this waste gets collected and transported to the final dumpsites. If at this stage the management and disposal is improperly done, it can cause serious impacts on health and problems to the surrounding environment. Read more

Green Investment Bank’s “Green Funding” Projects Worth £10bn

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has announced that it has now committed £2.3bn across 58 green infrastructure projects, with a total value of more than £10bn.

The announcement was made almost three years to the day that the organisation was officially declared open and it makes the GIB the most active investor in the UK’s renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. Its most recent investment is a commitment of £47m to Northern Ireland’s largest EfW plant. Read more

The Urban Waste Management Problem That Swachh Bharat Must Solve

Our cities produce close to 2,00,000 tons of waste per day. And yet we rarely invest in waste management facilities.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi cleaning the premises of Mandir Marg Police Station during his surprise visit, in New Delhi on October 02, 2014.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi cleaning the premises of Mandir Marg Police Station during his surprise visit, in New Delhi on October 02, 2014.

The Swachh Bharat campaign is a unique experiment in sociology and human behavior. So much of India’s future is indirectly tied to this issue; tourism, make in India, FDI, development, quality of life, health care, and our global image as a mature and modern country. There is much at stake and much to gain from a clean living environment.

Unfortunately, progress has been slow, and it is likely to stay that way. Policy makers need to understand that waste management is not just about the collection, it is also an issue of treatment—what do you do with the garbage after you collect it? Read more