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com Introduction Sanitation is a basic human right as well as an individual’s obligation to other members of the society. Among the 8 Millennium Development Goals proposed by the UN, at least 4 are concerned with sanitation, which is one of the keys to human wellness and development and in a broader sense a component of citizen’s right to life. Further, sanitation per se is the combined outcome of a set of practices such as safe disposal of human excreta, liquid and solid municipal waste management, safe handling of drinking water, home sanitation and food hygiene, personal hygiene and community environmental sanitation. Contrary to the earlier philosophy and practice of recycling, with the steady growth of urban population and changing lifestyles, the profile of solid waste has been constantly evolving and its volume on a fast-track of growth, placing newer and rising demands on the local governments, in respect of handling and management. Now proper disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) is huge problem for the local governments of metropolises and large and small towns around the world in that they have been upgrading and implementing newer MSW management practices by adopting or implementing new technologies and practices developed by a large number of universities in the west. According to Hill (1998) anything that is useless or unwanted is waste, i.e., anything that is out of place. Once discarded either it is no problem or a nuisance. He also examined the causes, sources and rates of environmental pollution. In the US paper, tops the list wastes at 40.4% (71.6 million tons) while food scraps is only 7.4% (13.2 million tons) - a shade higher than glass 7.0% (US EPA, 2007). Indian context India, until independence, did not have any public policy regarding sanitation in the country addressing the needs of the entire population. Scavenging (in towns and cities) and defecation in the open (in rural sectors) has been the accepted lore. Other types of MSW (chiefly originating from homes, institutions or enterprises) or rural domestic or agricultural waste were non-issues as recycling of one form or other was part of the way of life. Industrial and hospital wastes ‘never’ mattered much due to the relatively lower volumes or lack of concern of consequences or both. In the post independent India, galloping population, rise of industrial economy, steady and growing migration of individuals and families from villages to larger cities and towns for newer opportunities etc., placed a huge demand on the local governments to raise the standard of public services like, sanitation, water supply, housing, transport and MSW management. However, the Indian situation transformed considerably with the declaration of the Millennium Development Goals by the UN. Several programs with time lines and financial assistance, ensuring improved levels of sanitation across the urban and rural sectors of the country, were launched by the government of India. Kerala and Sanitation In the days prior to independence, both the rural and urban scenario in the state of Travancore wasn’t alarming, as the practice of scavenging and domestic waste collection and disposal was put in place in larger towns. But in rural sector the ‘concern’ was about conserving domestic and agricultural waste for later use as green manure. But in the decade 60’s, Kerala became a model state in the country by implementing a ban on scavenging. But despite the steady growth of population, fast changing life styles and consequent newer generic content and organic growth of waste, solid waste management in many cities, small towns and villages across the state, was devoid of any new policy guidelines with doses of modern management practices or technology inputs. As a result, accumulated and putrefying piles of garbage in the open and in public land and street-dead-ends remained as a daily unsightly sight. Tables 1 and 2 are pictures of current status of sanitation in the state, while Table 3 depicts an average profile of waste in Kerala. Interestingly majority component of MSW is of home-origin, and is dominated by bio-degradables. Though sanitation efforts have not reached the entire society, steady progress made in the past decades is certainly commendable. Then again, the Peoples Plan Program launched in Kerala a decade ago and implemented by the LGs, proved itself as an effective fuel of transformation of rural
Table: 1 Progression of household sanitary latrines, Kerala (after Clean Kerala Mission, 2007). Category Rural households Urban hose holds % @1991 44.0 73.0 % @1995 73.4 90.0 % @2001 81.3 92.0 % @2005 94.9 98.3.0
Table:2 School sanitation status, Kerala (Clean Kerala Mission, 2007) Category No. of LP No. of UP No. of High Total schools schools schools Govt. 2665 960 986 4511 schools Schools with 1785 (69.59%) 759 790 334 toilet (79.06%) (80.12%) (73.90%) Table:3 Solid waste types, percentages and compositions, Kerala (Clean Kerala Mission, 2007) Type % content Category Wt.% Household 49.0 Biodegradable 71.0-83.0 Hotels/institution 17.0 Paper etc 3.5-5.0 s Shops and 16.0 Plastic/rubber 5.0-9.0 markets Street sweepings 9.0 Hazardous etc 4.9-11.5 Construction 6.0 Slaughter house 3.0
canvas including access to better sanitation. A new impetus for urban sanitation programs in the country dawned with the recent launching of JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) in Kerala and the mandate for implementation going to LGs like five municipal corporations (MC), fifty three municipalities (M) and nine hundred and ninety nine village panchayats (VP). Interestingly, 226 VPs have won Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) and yet another 543 VPs and 7 DPs (District panchayats) are marching ahead to achieve the NGP. In fact, since November 2007, the Malinya Mukta Keralam program is in place and the sanitation programs are under various stages of implementation in the state. Social canvass For Kerala, in the 70’s the fuel of growth, in the sectors of social life and development, was the higher literacy and remittances by a huge chunk of expatriate wage earners working in the west Asia or Gulf states. Currently this growth is turbocharged with the new employment opportunities at home by the steadily growing Indian economy and newer opportunities thrown open globally. With the result, Keralites have been slowly transforming their attitudes quietly by diffusing themselves into a western life styles – a throw away style – generating and adding more bulk and variety to waste than ever, warranting huge attitudinal changes and new technology injections in the areas of sanitation, including MSW management. The Clean Kerala Mission or Malinya Muktha Keralam inaugurated last year by the President of India envisages a renaissance of sense of public cleanliness in the state. Moreover, MSW management in Kerala warrants special focus because of a), large per capita production b), lack of segregation at source (but for the MCs of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, Quilandy municipality and Chunakkara VP), c), decline in backyard composting, d), rising e-waste and plastic, and e), limited potential for storage of waste Kerala: Physical setting While designing sanitation programs for Kerala, one need to take into account the unique physical setting of Kerala, viz., topography, climate and natural drainage system. Chief physiographic divisions of Kerala, a crude replica of Indian tri-colour flying on its short edge, are the highland (>75.0 m), midland (7.5-75.0 m) and coastal land (<7.5 m). The state lying on the SW tip of Indian peninsula is a land area characterized by a narrow plan view, a westerly declining gradient, relatively large number of small and medium (41 heading west and 3 to east) rivers (Rao, 1967), and a tropical humid climate with nearly six months of summer and an equal number of rainy days caused by monsoon circulation. Added to these are factors of population density (side of support square = 32.0 m), and level of quality of life, especially while designing process and mechanism to ensure full sanitation. Flow of Solid waste Until as recently as 2000, the capital region of Thiruvananthapuram corporation (Tc) with a large population (~700,000), was producing a large volume of garbage that was collected on a 24x6 basis and was carted or trucked to a dump site near Vallakkadavu. In the past, as the waste had a large chunk of degradable component with household and hotel garbage and other organic refuses but only small volumes of waste paper, glass bottles etc., naturally putrefied waste had a captive market in a diligent fraction of the farming community, who systematically purchased the latter as “compost” – applied as soil conditioner in the coconut farms in parts the district. Generally, waste of domestic, market and commercial origins used to be discretely dumped in the street side to be gathered later by a two-some-team (a sweeper and one cart-man) to load in a truck (or larger cart) headed to dump sites (like in the compounds of Connemera market, Palayam or Manacad market,
Manacad or in the southern edge of Chalai market, or Vallakadavu) .In 1985 government ordered closure of the dump
Table 4: Structure of MSW-T, 2001 (after Panicker, 2001) Type Paper Dry leaves Green leaves Rotten vegetable Cotton+clothes Coir stuff Husk, shell Wood Meatstall waste Total Chala, gm; % 76.0 ; 0.70 116.0;1.1 445.0; 4.3 9700.0;92.8 27.0; 0.3 33.0; 0.3 n.d 30.0; 0.3 Nil 10427.0; 99.8 Manakad, gm; % 400.0; 10.8 2100.0; 56.8 Nil Nil 32.0; 0.9 Nil 560.0; 15.2 Nil 200.0; 5.4 3292.0; 89.1 Palayam; gm; % 300.0; 5.00 3700.0; 61.4 Nil 87.0; 1.4 17.0; 0.3 Nil 1300.0; 21.6 Nil 350.0; 5.8 5754.0; 95.5 Average: gm; % 258.6; 5.5 1972.0;39.76 148.3; 1.4 3262.3; 31.4 25.3; 0.5 11.0; 0.1 620.0; 12.26 10.0; 0.1 183.33; 3.73 6490.89; 94.78
site at Vallakkadavu, following a request by the AAI for in order to avoid flight delays, damages and losses warranted by the rising bird hits on aircraft engines while flying low during landing or takeoff. However, with the introduction and proliferation of plastic (chiefly as packaging fabric and carry bags), to a certain extent rubber (in the form of footwear) etc. the profile of the city waste transformed quickly to the dislike of the farmers –the one time captive clientele. With the change of profile of the city waste, consequent rejection by farming community and jump in the volumes and quantities of waste, the need for newer interventions like a centralized and scientific waste processing program, became acutely inescapable and compelling. As a result, an aerobic composting technology or ‘Excel Technology’ based waste processing plant was commissioned in July, 2000 in the Chovallur ward of Vilappilasala Grama Panchayath. Prasad (2007) used the GIS tool kit to isolate suitable landfill sites adjacent to the VPP, using several criteria. Ambat (2002) examined the societal attitude towards solid waste management especially in respect of Thiruvananthapuram. Maya et al, (2000) reported on the quanta and structure of MSW in the districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam. The MSW of Thiruvananthapuram corporation area was inquired into by Sreebha et al. (2005) while Krishnakumar et al (2005) attempted a portrayal of MSW of the state. Vilappilsala Processing Plant (VPP) The VPP built on a BOT basis at Chovallur ward of Vilappil VP, is one of the early initiatives in Kerala in area of MSW management by aerobic composting process. As originally conceived, the citizen takes unsegregated household waste to a street side dump site to be trucked away to one of the transfer stations (viz., Palayam, Chala or Manacad, en route to the VPP) without a real time transport to the processing plant due to reasons like truck repairs or breakdowns, want of a full load of waste or special holidays and Sundays, resulting in a degree of putrefaction of waste. When such waste reaches the windrows of VPP for composting, it releases a leachate (especially in the wet seasons due to an over dose of rain water spray) that escapes into a tributary of Karaman Ar. and foul smelling gases, resulted in stiff objections and resistance by local residents in the neighborhood of the VPP and occasionally en route to the plant. Setting The VPP erected in the Chovallur ward (ref. SOI topo-sheet 58H/11),of Vilappil Grama Panchayath (VGP) and in a left-bank sub-basin of Karamana Ar. in the Trivandrum Dist., is approximatrely 15.0 km to the NE of Trivandrum city and has the distinction of being the home of first domestic solid waste treatment plant in the state. This tract has typical midland (7.5-75.0 m amsl.) configuration of Kerala, viz., set of NW-SE trending narrow-valley-wide-ridge mosaic and lower relative relief. Narrow valley floor has a relatively thick fill of alluvium, drained by a lower order stream (say 4th of order or lower), while the ridges have steeper northerly slopes than south facing ones and are of short to medium length and tend to have a thick cover of laterite with occasional outcrops of the crystalline basement rocks on the ridge-tops or on slopes. This tract enjoys a tropical to sub-tropical climate with temperatures in the range of 22 – 30 deg.C., and an average annual rain fall of 250 cm.- a combined contribution by the SW and NE monsoons. Land-use-wise coconut trees are planted commonly along the toe of the slopes and/or floor of the valleys, while rubber plantations sprawl across the slopes as well as the ridge tops. The Treatment Plant The treatment-plant, housed in a large polygonal shed with a roof of very gentle slope (like an open-uprightumbrella) and attached factory sheds at lower elevations to the south, built on the landscaped south facing slope of a 4th order sub-basin, went on stream in August, 2000. Total floor area is ~1.25 lakh ft2, with a waste processing capacity of 300 t.p.d. The main shed shelters the machinery and waste windrows enabling aerobic composting. But the relatively large freeboard, about 8.0 m between the concrete floor and guttered roof, allows free draft of “essential” air and rain-water-spray over the windrows causing a spurt in yield of
leachate which overflows gutters and collection sumps to the open air, apparently to join the waters of the adjacent stream channel. Process of Treatment MSW reaching the plant (in ‘Expel’-fly-proofed covered trucks and retrofitted leachate sumps), only after nightfall (as a courtesy to the citizenry) is arranged in windrows and treated with a inoculum -a bacterial mixat the rate of 1.0 kg/ton to hasten the aerobic decomposition of degradable waste. Water, at times, is sprayed over the windrows to keep optimal moisture level. Leachate coming off the windrows drains into collection sumps. Waste is turned over by a bulldozer once a week to accelerate the process of aerobic bacterial action. In about 5 weeks, the degradable components entirely break down. By a two stage screening in 35 mm and 16 mm trommels and handpicking of non-degradable in the +35 mm and +16 mm rejects and an air classification, MSW is transformed into a composted manure in two grades, viz., a pure finer grade -1 and coarser grade -II with inorganic, non- degradable and gritty matter and is transferred to the packing section for delivery. The rejects are diverted to landfills. Chemical profile In order to determine the exact nature of MSW, universally, the chemical attributes of MSW are determined by a two step procedure - a proximate analysis (to determine the content of moistutre, volatile matter, fixed carbon and non-combustible matter) and an ultimate analysis (to estimate C, H, O, N, S and ash). In this report, chemical profile of raw waste and the marketed-manure are reported. Open-air-ashed samples of 300 gm. each of the degradable waste (Wd) were created at the sampling sites (i.e.,storage-transfer-centers), and sub-samples of 5.0 gm each of ash, were delivered to the Laboratories of the Geological Survey of India, Trivandrum for estimating the abundance of elements, like Fe, Cu, Pb, Zn, Mn, Cd and Cr (Table 4 ).
Table 5. Chemical element content of Trivandrum city waste, in ppm Site Ash,gm,,% Fe Cu Pb Zn Mn Cr Chalai 29 (0.096) 4450 47 28 76 118 21 Manakad 72 (0.24) 7870 202 53 471 225 53 Palayam 57 (0.19) 6105 31 19 109 558 36 Leachate n.d 558 427 126 542 625 28 Manure 100 (0.33) 8060 257 123 352 502 85 Cd 1.4 1.6 1.2 3.83 1.56
Among the trace elements listed in Table 4 above, Fe, dominates all samples of the mother waste, followed by Mn (largely similar to Fe chemically). Cu, Pb, Zn and Cd, though present are of very low concentrations. As there are no known natural sources of heavy elelments like Cu, Pb, Zn and Cd in the rocks and hence soils of Thiruvananthapuram Dist., these entered the waste stream from anthropogenic sources. Stout (1961) reports an average content of 100 ppm of Fe in plants. Pb, Zn, Cr and Cd are relatively very low where as Mn largely similar to Fe is second abundant element. Large Fe content is not unusual as MSW-T is dominated by degradable constituents. Elemental data reveals that with the exception Fe in leachate, due to MSW processing, chemical elements in the manure and leachate are amplified. Though the response of crops and soil to such levels of metal element content against long term use of the manure needs careful assessment, the casting of fertilizer over wide areas is a potential damper. Nonetheless, no data is available as to the annual yield of leachate from the VPP. Logically, to avoid build up of these elements in the soil or surface water systems (and in the aquifer) in areas adjacent to the VPP, pre-treatment of leachate, prior to release is recommended. Using a simple linearity algorithm, along with the elemental abundance data in table 4, an estimate of the annual turn over of chemical elements (say about 9.0 metric tons) through the MSW-T has been arrived at (Table 6).
Table 6 Annual turn over or chemical elements, Thiruvananthapuram MSW (in Tons) Site Fe Cu Pb Zn Mn Cr Cd Chalai 1.0981 0.0116 0.0036 0.0188 0.0291 0.0051 0.0003 Manakad 4.2973 0.1103 0.0289 0.2572 0.1229 0.0289 0.0008 Palayam 2.8299 0.0143 0.0088 0.0505 0.2586 0.0166 0.0005 Leachate 0.5841 0.4469 0.1318 0.5673 0.6542 0.0293 0.0040 Manure 8.4373 0.2692 0.1287 0.3684 0.5255 0.0889 0.0016 Grand Total Total 1.1666 4.8493 3.1812 0.0040 0.0016 9.1961
The state of Kerala under the Clean Kerala Mission is forging ahead to achieve full sanitation in both urban and rural sectors. The VPP commissioned in august 2000, though had to face a large degree of initial resistance from the citizenry in the neighbourhood of VPP, sensitizing and awareness had helped in the acceptance and need for several such processing plants in the state. As a result of setting up of the ‘Excel Technology’ based waste processing plant at Vilappilsala, the issue of wise handling of waste of Tc area culminated into an earth friendly process.
In spite of the treatment plant, several questions like collection, sorting, transport, plant-site processing of waste, land-filling, leachate containment (especially during the wet seasons) handling etc. continue to remain moot. Geochemical determinations of abundances of heavy metals, like Fe, Mn, Cu, Pb, Zn and Cd in the waste, leachate and salable manure, brought to light the fact that relatively higher loading of these in the leachate and manure call for implementation of measures to lower the levels in leachate before it is released to the environment. The amplification of heavy metals in the salable manure may not pose an immediate risk as the manure is broadcast over a wide area and hence potential of loading in the soil and consequently in water are bound to be lower. Among the metals Fe and Mn are supplied by the soil and water, where as Cu, Pb, Zn and Cd are possibly of anthropogenic introduction into the natural system. Based on the analysis of samples and determined loadings, estimate on the annual flux of such elements stands at nearly 9.0 metric tons against an annual input of 17555 tons of MSW-T. Acknowledgements
Indeed it is a pleasure for me (TKP) to accept an invitation to actively participate in the 5th Kerala Environment Congress at Thrissur. Mrs. Panicker wishes to place on record the financial assistance by the GoK without which this MSW research project would have remained an elusive dream. ----------References Ambat, B, Study of the attitude and perception of community towards SWM – a case study of Thiruvananthapuram city – Phase II, Submitted to Kerala Research Program on Local Level Development. Anonymous (2001) Clean Kerala Mission, GoK, Thiruvananthapuram. Hill, MK, 1998, Understanding environmental pollution, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 278p. Krishnakumar, A, Sobha, V, and Padmalal, D, 2005, Urban solid waste generation and management with special reference to environmental degradation: 1-21, in Sreekumar, K (ed.) Solid waste management: Challenges and Prospects: CUU, Kochi Maya, K, Padmalal, D and Ramachandran, KK, 2000, Quantification, characterization and management of municipal solid waste of central Kerala: 583-87, in Das, MR, (ed.), Proceedings of 12th Kerala Science Congress, Kumily. Panicker, AV, 2001, Geo-environmental impact of solid waste treatment plant at Vilappilsala,Thiruvananthapuram Dist., Kerala, 74p (Unpublished M.Phil thesis submitted to University of Kerala). Prasad, G, 2007, Site suitability analysis of Vilappilsala for landfilling using GIS: Project report submitted for partial fulfillment of requirements of Diploma in Geoinformatics, CED, Thiruvananthapuram, 57p. Sreebha, S, Sobha, V, and Maya, K, 2005, Municipal solid waste: composition, its physico-chemical analysis and management options for Thiruvananthapuram corporation area: 196-198, in Muthunayagam, AE, (ed.), Proceedings of 17th Kerala Science Congress, Peechi. Stout, PR, 1961, Elements in most higher plants: Proc. 9th Annual California Fertilizer Conference, 21-23. US EPA, 2007, What is in your trash? Consumer’s handbook for reducing solid waste: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/reduce ---
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