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Wealth From Waste

Wealth From Waste

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Published by: akhileshmoney on Jan 14, 2009
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07/11/2013

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WEALTH FROM WASTE
 The subject of solid waste management was never more relevant than it isnow. In fact Delhi alone produces around 8,000 tonne garbage per day, whilethe estimate for the country is 27.4 million tonne per year.Waste management is still a linear system of collection and disposal,creating health and environmental hazards. In the light of this, Alliance forWaste Management, a common platform formed by organisations working onsolid waste management issues, has been promoting the concept of ‘Integrated Zero Waste Management’.“While waste-to-energy technology is posing a serious threat to environment,the government is paying lip service to the concept of ‘Integrated ZeroWaste Management’ approach,” says Gopal Krishna of Toxic Links, a non-governmental organisation. Gopal adds that the Planning Commission’s Tenth Plan document states that India has bio-mass deficit, which essentiallymeans the soil lacks carbon content. “So why burn the waste and releasecarbon in the air, instead of adding it to the soil?” asks Krishna.“In India, the municipalities are still using the conventional method of eitherburning or burying to dispose off garbage,” elaborates Krishna, adding thatthe zero waste approach is being promoted and followed the world over.“Again the landfills are neither well managed nor lined properly to protectagainst contamination of soil and groundwater,” he points out.Adds M B Nirmal, the founder of Exnora International, which is in thebusiness of waste management, “Waste is wealth, why waste ‘waste’. Indiahas a large number of urban poor and a lot of employment can be createdthrough waste management process of composting organic waste andrecycling inorganic waste.”According to Nirmal, Around 75% of the garbage in India is organic innature. Since 75% of people are employed in the farm sector, it could beconverted into organic manure beneficial to both farmers and to promoteorganic farming in the country.”Exnora has tied up with Technomedia Solutions Pvt Ltd to come up with aDelhi plan to deal with solid waste management. “Our Delhi plan will be tostart working with resident welfare associations (RWAs). We will first conductworkshops with these residential colonies or societies and then these RWAswill come up with their own action plans. We will give our expertise andguidance to them to manage their own waste,” says Nirmal. “We believe that
 
the efforts to improve existing conditions can only be successful throughlocal participation and capacity building of...
A PROGRAMME FOR ZERO WASTE
1.The economic playing field must be rebalanced. The hierarchy of profitability must match the environmental hierarchy. This can be done byrevising waste taxes and public benefits in three ways:
introducing a disposal tax that reflects the environmental hierarchy
cutting the subsidies presently given to incineration
introducing a price guarantee scheme for recycled materials to fundthe build-up costs of four stream recycling.
2.
 The £550 million raised in waste taxes must be re-channelled to a ZeroWaste Fund. This requires:
a change in the landfill tax regulations so that the 20 per cent offsetsare paid into the publicly-run recycling fund
earmarking a further 20 per cent to support employment andenvironmental goals through recycling
amending the packaging recovery regulations so that payments bythe 'obligated parties' are channelled to recycling collectors.3.Establishing a Zero Waste Agency to administer the transitional funds and'animate' the change.
4.
Founding a new type of Green Academy, equivalent to the Germantechnical schools of the mid-nineteenth century. It would be charged withdeveloping organisational forms, knowledge and skills relevant to zerowaste, and new ways of generating 'distributed intelligence'. Its curriculaand priorities would be set by the needs thrown up by the newenvironmental systems. Hence its research, teaching and skill formationwould be linked closely to ground level projects - following the approachof the Ulm School of Design - and provide learning resources to those in oroutside employment.
5.
Appointing Zero Waste Advisers - some recruited from leading recyclingand reduction projects overseas - to advise on recycling schemes andprojects. The group would be part of an international network, promotingexchanges and part-time attachments, and linking into practitioners'associations.
6.
 The launch of a 'Closed Loop Industrialisation' Initiative, promoting thedevelopment of secondary materials industries, ecodesign and hazardreduction technologies. In addition to material productivity, it would aim
 
to promote 'de-scaling' technologies suitable for local and regionaleconomies. It would be organised in conjunction with regionaldevelopment agencies.
7.
 The extension of producer responsibility into new fields, not only electricaland electronics appliances, end-of-life vehicles and tyres, but otherdurable equipment, newspapers, and hazardous products and materials. The weight of responsibility should be placed at the point of product andprocess design, since they have the greatest capacity to developalternatives. In each case, the finance contributed by producers should bere-channelled to develop the alternatives.
8.
Devolving responsibility for waste disposal to districts, through directpayments for the costs of disposal (rather than property-based precepts)and giving districts responsibility for identifying and negotiating disposaloptions within their own boundaries or with neighbouring districts. Thiswould represent the proximity principle with teeth.
9.
Restoring public confidence in wade management and democratising riskthrough: planning reform to give financial support and access toinformation to civil groups and neighbourhoods affected by wasteproposals; a new culture of openness in regulatory bodies; anindependent waste hazards control advisory body; and an environmentalfreedom of information provision.
10.
A govemment-led commitment to the zero waste target 'within ageneration', reflected in the above measures and the adoption of tightertargets to 'reduce with the aim of eliminating' mixed waste disposal by2010. This would include a phased ban on organic waste in landfills andon landfilling or incinerating hazard-producing materials, and amoratorium of new mixed waste incinerators for five years.
HOW TO CREATE WEALTH FROM WASTE
WHEN MOHAMMED Arif Noorzai, Afghanistan’s minister for light industries,came calling a while ago, he made a rather unusual request. He insisted onvisiting Panipat in Haryana.Why Panipat? Not because it’s the site of ancient battles, but because it hasan unusual industry: scores of the city’s inhabitants make a living spinningblankets from woollen rags. Known as shoddies, these coarse, low-costblankets are made on looms set up in backyards, and everyday consumeover four containers of cut rags imported from the US and Canada.

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