Solid Waste Management in India | Waste Management Methods

Due to urbanization and industrialization in India, threats for environmental degradation has increased. Environmental degradation results in frequent floods, change in duration of summer and winter, melting of ice from glaciers, etc. Also there is an increase in pollution due to deforestation and increase in industrial activities. Developing and under
developing countries are facing crucial problems due to generation of solid waste and due to improper dumping of solid waste on a landfill area, it has been creating problems such as drinking unhygienic water, domestic and agricultural use and increase in health problems like typhoid, jaundice, gastro intestinal problems, bronchitis and many more. Aquatic and
lithospheric systems are also affected to a great extent. This article gives an idea about the importance of solid waste collection, characterization and treatment.

Disposal of Solid Waste (climatecentral.org)
Disposal of Solid Waste (climatecentral.org)

Solid waste is the unwanted garbage that is generated due to agricultural, industrial, medical, house-hold and other such activities. Currently, India is facing a crucial issue of solid waste management and the generation rate is increasing day by day and there are very few cost effective methods for treating the solid waste.

Classification of Solid Wastes –

TypeSource
1. Solid Waste (Dry Waste)Source
Physical Waste Human beings
Chemical Waste Chemical industries
Biological Waste Biomedical Waste (Hazardous Waste) Dead plants, Leaves, Animal excreta
2. Liquid Waste (Wet Waste) Oil, Grease, Waste water
Liquid Waste
Liquid Waste

Necessity of Solid Waste Management

  1. Increases in breeding of insects.
  2. Increases water, air and ground pollution.
  3. Increases human health issues.
  4. Leads to ozone layer depletion.
  5. Leads to uncertain changes in the climatic conditions.
  6. Degrades the quality of soil.
  7. Increases deforestation.
  8. Affects aquatic life

Solid Waste Treatment Methods

Thermal Treatment

Thermal Treatment
Thermal Treatment

Thermal treatments are classified as incineration, pyrolysis and gasification and open burning. In incineration process, waste materials are converted into fly ash and gases. In pyrolisis and gasification method, waste is exposed to high temperatures and low amounts of oxygen. In open burning, the waste is burnt in an open space which causes air pollution.

Dumps and landfills

Dumps and landfills
Dumps and landfills

Dumps and landfills are further classified as sanitary landfill, controlled dumps and bioreactor. In sanitary landfill, the waste is dumped in an open space away from the populated areas where the effects of wind and rain are minimized whereas in the controlled dumps, they act as planned landfills which are similar to sanitary landfills which have no cell planning. In bioreactor landfills, micro organisms are used to treat the waste in the landfill to minimize the volume of waste.

Biological Waste Treatment

Biological waste treatment is classified as composting and anaerobic digestion. Composting is the process of decomposing solid organic waste by using natural or artificial methods in the presence of oxygen. vermicomposting is the natural process which decomposes the solid organic waste with the help of earthworms whereas in mechanical composting, mechanical compost plant is used to grind the organic solid waste and then the waste is decomposed. In anaerobic digestion, the waste is decomposed in the absence of oxygen. Various other techniques are vessel composting, windrow composting and static pile composting.

Integrated Solid Waste Management

Integrated Solid Waste Management
Integrated Solid Waste Management

The main area of focus of this system is 3 R’s i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle. The first step of ISWM is collection and sorting of waste to reduce the further process. If the waste is not properly segregated and treated, then next step adopted for treating solid waste is composting and then the other measures are adopted accordingly. It focuses on prevention of waste generation. It is well planned process which also includes financial planning, transportation planning, construction planning and planning of designing stages. It can help in improving the air and water quality. Due to increasing population and technological developments, municipal corporation has to face many challenges such as segregation of waste, disposal of electronic waste which cannot be recycled easily, and collection and transportation of waste. ISWM provides solution to all the rising problems caused by improper solid waste management. Therefore it is necessary to adopt this system to reduce the environmental degradation in future.

Conclusion

Solid waste management is necessary to maintain the ecological and environmental balance and to maintain the quality of life. The most widely used method for treating solid waste is biological method but it is ideal to adopt ISWM process.