WTERT-India is co-founded by the National Environmental Engineering Research
Institute (NEERI) and the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University.
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Eco-technologies for Municipal Solid Waste Management in coastal areas- an action research framework

The ecologically fragile Indian coastal cities are growing more rapidly than inland areas due to rapid urbanization, industrialization, expansion of education, health and tourism services. In many coastal areas, MSW are often mixed with hazardous and toxic wastes. They are neither segregated at source nor efficiently managed, since cities and municipalities have only skeletal manpower and use inefficient technologies. As a consequence, they cannot cope with the accelerated pace of waste production and their diversity, threatening the human and environmental health. In rural areas as well as fishing settlements, there is no organized MSW collection, treatment and disposal.

Waste collection rates are often lower than 15 per cent in most of the cities in India. While only about 9% of the urban MSW are reported to be scientifically managed, more than 50 per cent of the collected waste is often disposed off through uncontrolled land filling and about 15 per cent is processed through unsafe and informal recycling. MSW management is typically considered to be the responsibility of the local government, which either struggles to provide the service by itself or contracts private sector companies to handle the waste. Though privatization appears to be an attractive option for several State Govts , the waste volumes have to be large enough for economic viability; this focuses the companies’ efforts on urban centers and typically excludes rural communities. Hence, we are urgently in need of an action research framework to efficiently use the MSW as well as to provide much needed livelihood opportunities.

Among the several promising eco-technologies that are available for sustainable management of the organic fraction of the MSW – biomethanation, vermi composting, organoponics, effective microorganism solution and biochar appear to be more appropriate. The inorganic fraction can be ideally handled by High Temperature Incineration (HTI) by the efficient air-fed gasification technology that will generate power too at competitive rates with zero pollution emission or through the emerging paradigm of “urban symbiosis” using the principles of Industrial Ecology. Carbon foot prints can also be reduced in the process as well as the use of value added compost for climate resilient natural farming using traditional seeds, re-vegetation of public/wastelands and unused institutional lands . Ideally we can integrate community based ecotourism too. To facilitate such a radical changes, we propose an innovative action research framework of community based co-management of MSW based on the principles of Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) and sustainable supply chains.

Keywords: Solid waste, management, sustainable, framework

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Reports


1. Report of the Task Force on Waste to Energy (Volume I) (In the context of Integrated MSW Management) Click Here
2. Report of the Task Force on Waste to Energy (Volume II) Click Here


3. Energy from Waste – Clean, efficient, renewable: Transitions in combustion efficiency and NOx controlClick Here