ON URBAN WASTE MANAGEMENMT & RELATED ISSUES: A VISION STATEMENT

NOTE FOR CONSIDERATION AND DISCUSSION COBANK TOWER, TRIVANDRUM

PREPARED BY GOSAN GEOLOGY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION TRVANDRUM OCT. 24, 02. thrivikramji@yahoo.com

INTRODUCTION IN ANY ATTEMPT TO DEVELOP A BLUE PRINT FOR IMRPOVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND ENVIRONMENT OF THE CITY OF TRIVANDRUM THE QUESTION OF URBAN WASTE MANAGEMENT MUST BE GIVEN THE SAME STATUS AS TRANSPORT, WATER SUPPLY, HOUSING, RECREATION AND HELTHCARE. THE WASTE MANAGEMENT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED WITH EXTREME CARE AND SITING OF THE DISPOSAL FACILITIES CALLS FOR CAREFUL SCRUTINY OF THE GEOLOGICALAND HYDROGEOLOGICAL SETTINGS. NATURE OF URBAN WASTE THE CITY WASTE IS DOMINANTLY COMPOSED OF BIODEGRADABLE MATERIAL (SAY 94%) ORIGINATING FROM DOMESTIC AND COMMERCIAL SOURCES. PLASTICS, GLASS, TIN CANS ETC. CONSTITUTE THE REMAINDER. SORTING AT THE SOURCE MUST BE THE SECOND STEP IN THE MANAGEMENT PLAN. THE FIRST STEP UNDOUBTEDLY IS THE REDUCTION OF THE QUANTITY. THIS CAN BE ACHIEVED ONLY BY EDUCATING THE CITIZENS AND OTHERS WHO LINK THEMSELVES WITH THE WASTE FROM THE POINT OF RIGIN TO FINAL DISPOSAL. FURTHER THE WASTE IS A POINT SOURCE OF CONTAMINANT CHEMICAL ELEMENTS WHICH ARE SILENTLY AND SLOWLY RELEASED TO THE SUBSOIL, SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE WATER. EXCEEDENCE OF CERTAIN BACKGROUND LEVELS OF THESE ELEMENTS WILL LEAD TO THE “DEATH” OF THE ALREADY “STRESSED” ECOSYSTEM OF THE AQUATIC ENVIRONEMNTS (EXAMPLE STREAMS AND KAYALS). PROPOSAL WE IN GOSAN BELIVE THAT THE LEAST HARMFUL METHOD OF DISPOSAL OF CITY WASTE IS HIGH TEMPERATURE INCINERATION; WHERE BY MOST OF THE BULK IS BURNED OFF LEAVING BEHIND A RELATIVELY TINY FRACTION OF ASH WHICH CAN BE SAFELY KEPT AWAY. SECONDLY, HEAT COMING OFF AS A BYPRODUCT FROM THE INCINERATORS CAN BE UTILISED FOR GENERATING ELECRICITY IN A CAPTIVE POWER PLANT. ALTERNATIVELY, THE CLASSIFIED BIODEGRADABLE WASTE (SANS GLASS, TIN CANS RUBBER AND PLASTIC) CAN BE SAFELY DISPOSED OF IN A SANITARY LANDFILL.

THE ABANDONED ROCK AND SUCH OTHER QUARRIES ARE THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR DEVELOPING SANITARY LANDFILL. NEARLY ALL SUCH QUARRIES, IN THE MONSOON SEASON GETS FILLED WITH RAIN (AND GROUND) WATER AND POSE A THREAT LOCALLY. MANY SUCH SITES HAVE STOLEN SEVERAL PRECIOUS LIVES BY ACCIDENTAL FALL AND DEATH BY DROWNING. IF SUCH QUARRY FLOORS ARE GIVEN AN IMPERVIOUS SEAL BY A COAT OF BITUMEN THE LEACHATE ACCUMULATING INSIDE THE LANDFILL CAN BE INSULATED FROM THE LOCAL GROUND WATER REGIME AND CAN BE PUMPED OUT AS AND WHEN NECESSARY. ULTIMATELY THE SITES OF SANITARY LANDDFILLS CAN BE EASILY CONVERETED INTO RECREATIONAL SITES LIKE PLAY GROUNDS AND PARKS. GOSAN CAN ASSIST THE AUTHORITIES IN MAKING AN INVENTORY OF SUCH QUARRIES (WHICH QUALIFY AS POTENTIAL SITES FOR SITING SANITARY LANDFILLS) TRANSPORT OF CITY WASTE INSTEAD OF THE CURRENT PRACTICE OF USING COVERED TRUCKS, COMPACTOR TRUCKS SHOULD BE USED IN A PHASED MANNER TO SAVE FUNDS AND IMPROVING EFFICIENCY ON MANY FRONTS LIKE FUEL, WEAR AND TEAR OF THE FLEET AS WELL AS THE SIZE OF WORKFORCE NEEDED. THE WASTE REMOVAL FROM STREET CORNERS MUST BE CARRIED OUT ONLY DURING THE THIRD SHIFT – BETWEEN 10PM AND 6 AM. THIS WILL ELIMINATE ROADBLOCKS AND TRAFFIC HOLD UPS DURING THE SCHOOL RUSH HOUR. FURTHER, CHANCES FOR BAD EXPOSURE OF THE WORK FORCE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC GETS REDUCED. CONTRARY TO THE CURRENT PRACTICE, THE COLLECTION AND LOADING CREW SHOULD BE PROVIDED WITH APPROPRIATE ATTIRE AND OTHER PARAPHERNALIA LIKE GLOVES AND SHOES TO DO AWAY WITH DIRECT SKIN CONTACT WITH THE GARBAGE AND WASTE.

LASTLY, THE PUBLIC IN AND AROUND THE POTENTIAL LANDFILL SITES MUST BE EDUCATED ON ALL ASPECTS OF THE SANITARY LANDFILLS LIKE THEIR CONSTRUCTION, NATURE OF THE MATERIAL GOING INTO AND COMING OFF AS LECHATE. A WHOLE LOT OF TRANSPARENCY NEEDS TO BE BUILT INTO THE VARIOUS STAGES OF THIS OPERATION. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

THE POINTS RAISED IN THE FOREGOING IS THE OUT COME OF A COLECTIVE EFFORT BY THE MEMBERS OF THE GOSAN.

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