GUWAHATI, Jan 20 � In a bid to ease the city's garbage disposal problem, ENVIRON, an environmental protection group, has developed some simplified sustainable solid waste management practices, both at household level and community level.
As per a study conducted by ENVIRON, once the plastic waste is segregated at source and managed accordingly, biodegradable solid waste can be easily managed through composting and vermi-composting.
ENVIRON president Dr Amarjyoti Kashyap who is doing research on solid waste management since the last 15 years has also designed a litterbin for households for source collection of plastic waste.
"The model litterbin of 10 � inch diameter and 14 � inch height is made of local bamboo, and the bin contains a bamboo net to keep the plastic compressed. Plastic waste like carry bags are very difficult to keep inside residences as it takes a large volume and space. So people prefer to throw it away. The litterbin is capable of storing a large quantity of plastic waste, i.e. nearly 1.5kg of plastics. We have named it 'money-earning litterbin' as one can earn money out of it," Dr Kashyap says.
ENVIRON is also engaged in a project with the support of NABARD for utilization of the source segregated plastic waste at household level, using those for producing different handicraft products like garland, chair-back, table-top container, table mat, etc.
"The objective is to utilize the household-generated plastic waste at source so that there will be no chance of mixing of plastic waste with biodegradable solid waste. For household biodegradable solid waste management also, we have developed a simple technology, i.e., backyard vermi-composting along with continuous collection of 'vermi-wash'," he says.
The waste biodegradable waste management is done inside a small concrete ring of 2 feet diameter and 2 feet height on a 1-foot-high platform. In this process 100 numbers. of local earthworm is collected from a banana tree and released in the kitchen waste inside the ring.
"All types of biodegradable kitchen waste were directly used for consumption of the earthworms. After four months the ring was filled with full of vermi-compost and the number of earthworm increased to several thousand. One kilogram of kitchen waste was used every day for 90 days and after 125 days 16.4 kg vermin-compost was produced in an odour-free hygienic environment," Dr Kashyap says.
In this process a simplified innovative technology is also adopted to collect the continuous flow of 'vermi-wash' which is a potent bio-pesticide. This is flown as liquid waste through a specially � designed slopping platform of vermi-bed.
As recycling of all type of plastic waste is essential for successful plastic waste management, including conversion of all types of plastics into hydrocarbon fuels through a chemical process, ENVIRON collected samples of all types of plastic waste including multilayered non-recyclable plastic generated within the city and experimentally tried to produce useable fuel by a simplified method.
"The chemical process is used to break down the long carbon chains found in plastic into the shorter chains found in gasoline and diesel-type fuels. We produced 720 ml liquid fuel from one kg of plastic, and the process is completed within two hours,� Dr Kashyap says.
As housewives are the major waste handler in a family, ENVIRON during its experimental door-to-door collection of plastic waste offered ginger and garlic (two essential spices) in return for the waste under the theme 'get your kitchen spice from your kitchen plastic waste.'
ENVIRON is currently implementing community-level biodegradable solid waste management projects in Itanagar and Hollongi (Arunachal Pradesh) and in Sualkuchi (Assam).
"The aim of constructing community-level vermi-composting units is to manage the entire biodegradable solid waste generated within the community which is showing the desired results," he says.
According to Dr Kashyap, once the concept of household backyard vermi-composting gains ground, the entire scenario concerning solid waste management in Guwahati and other urban areas would change drastically.
Household waste management involves the following steps -- source segregation, backyard composting and vermio-composting, household-level plastic craft, source collection of non-biodegradable solid waste, and recycling of non-biodegradable solid waste.
Community-based solid waste management involves the following steps � source segregation, source collection of biodegradable solid waste, community composting and vermio-composting, source collection of non-biodegradable solid waste, and recycling of non-biodegradable solid waste.