Safe disposal of wastes stressed

THE HINDU, [18 June, 2002]

CHENNAI June 17. When incineration technology has gone out of favour in the West, it is suicidal to go for it in our country, enamoured by the hardsell of "sophisticated technology", Sheela Rani Chunkath, Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, said today.

Giving away awards for Best Zero Garbage Initiatives on the occasion of celebrating Global Day of Action against Waste Incineration, she said considering the hazards of incineration which let out poisonous fumes like dioxins and furans, the State Government took a conscious decision not to set up incinerators in hospitals, instead initiate steps to dispose segregated biomedical wastes through common effluent treatment facility. "Japan is called the dioxin capital of the world and Dutch physicians are worried about the prevalence of high dioxin levels in breast milk", she said, stressing the need to arrive at safe disposal of wastes and reduced waste generation by a conscious switchover to traditional alternatives.

M. B. Nirmal, Founder-President, Exnora International, said the entry of Onyx, a multi-national corporation, for garbage collection did not give any miracle cure for the waste management crisis in Chennai. "Besides being the cause for several Exnora units to wind up, Onyx only relocated garbage from one point to another", he said.

He suggested that if the Government could provide land and money, Exnora could undertake a project to compost Chennai wet waste, reducing waste disposal to 300 metric tonnes per day. The idea of a perennial landfill was the wet garbage could be emptied on one side and the composted manure could be harvested from the other, solving a major chunk of the cityís garbage problem, he said.

T.K. Ramkumar, Advisor, Exnora International, said while the city generated 3,500 mt of waste per day, only 2,500 mt were cleared and dumped in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur stations, where most of the garbage was burnt to manage the space problem.

Rajesh Rangarajan of Toxics Link said incineration technologies, given very fancy names, were being dumped on third world countries. Incineration released stack gases including PCB, dioxin, acid, fly ash and bottom ash causing health and occupational hazards, cancer, disruption of the immune, hormone and reproductive system. An alternative mindset and attitude change and zero waste alone could solve the problem, he said.

Prizes were given to the Sri Sankaramagalir Mandram, Pammal, BíMan Association Civic Exnora, Chromepet, and the Bell Foundation, Tiruvanmiyur, and to Geetha, Ambal Nagar, Porur, A. Kaliamoorthi, Anna Nagar and Shantha, CIT Nagar.

The programme was organised jointly by the TNPCB, Exnora International, Lions Club of Madras (Host) and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, an international organisation with 265 groups in 60 countries.

The alliance seeks to phase out all forms of waste incineration and promote clean production, zero waste and sustainable discard management systems.