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SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT

M.Sc Environmental Design


Muhammad Abid

January 25, 2014


ALLAMA IQBAL OPEN UNIVERSITY ISLAMABAD

Solid Waste Management - History

Waste treatment and disposal has been motivated by concern for Public Health. Migration of People started due to Industrial Revolution between 1750 and 1850. Massive expansion of the population living in towns and cities, created high volume of domestic, commercial and industrial waste i.e. broken glass, rusty metal, food residue and human waste, which was dangerous to human health. Waste attracted flies, rats and other vermin, which in turn posed potential threats through the transfer of disease. This led to an increasing awareness of the link between public health and the environment.

Solid Waste Management - History

SWM is potential threat to human health, legislation was introduced on a local and national basis in many countries. Waste treatment and disposal has been motivated by concern for public health. Introduction of Acts (UK 1875/1936) - Removal and Disposal of Waste and into Water In USA Acts were introduced in 1795, 1856 Purpose built municipal waste Incinerators were introduced in the UK in the late 1870s and by 1912 there were over 300 waste incinerators in the UK, of which 76 had some form of power generation

Solid Waste Management - History

Incineration plants reached the end of their operational lifetime, they tended to become scrapped in favor of landfill. Environmental implications of merely dumping the waste in open sites and later with increase waste began to be buried. Burying the waste had the health advantages of reducing odours, and discouraging rats and other vermin. Series of incidents in the late 1960s and 1970s highlighted waste as a potential major source of environmental pollution.

Solid Waste Management - Pakistan

In Pakistan SWM, need increased for using disposable items i.e. plastic bags etc., which cause drainage problems. In Karachi - 50% of the citys daily generation of 7,000 tons of rubbish - Collected by the Municipal service, while the rest remains at collection points and on Dump sites Urban environment in Pakistan continues to deteriorate, there is growing recognition of the need for a Sanitation policy with sound operational strategies.

Solid Waste Management - Pakistan

Informal Recycling of Domestic Waste Two Categories: Waste picking in streets, communal bins, transfer points and disposal sites. Waste separation at the household stage and selling onto itinerant waste buyers. Above waste passes through a # of dealers in trading and recycling, before it reaches the recycling industry. The SWM system starts from the Households and ends with the disposal or reuse of the materials

Solid Waste Management - Pakistan


Informal Sector There are independent operators dealing in waste collection, purchase, separation, restoration, and resale and recycling Kabaris are large-scale waste dealers who operate from shops and warehouses. There are approximately 1,000 in Karachi and most specialize in just one type of waste, which they buy at auctions or from middle dealers and resell to recycling plants, or recycle themselves. Waste Busters collect rubbish from households and charge about PKR 200 a month Few Local NGOs Crush vegetables to produce liquid concentrate for pesticides, fertilizer and Bin designs

Solid Waste Management - Pakistan

Recycling Waste Materials


Common Reuse and Recycling Glass bottles Washed and used again Livestock feed Various types of packing Recycled in re-rolling mills Cardboard etc. Re-melt in moulds for various industries Uses/recycling depends upon type: toys, shoe soles, shopping bags, sandals etc. Buckets and other household containers Sold again at reduced prices

Waste Material Broken glass Bottles Bread Newspapers Ferrous metal Paper Aluminium Plastics Plastic bags Magazines, books

Cleaner Production Opportunity for the Industrial Sector of Pakistan


Industrial Sector in Pakistan accounts for 18% of GDP Environmental Degradation due to the uncontrolled and inefficient use of natural resources, low industrial productivity, excessive generation of hazardous waste and the uncontrolled release of solid wastes, air pollutants and untreated wastewater into the natural environment has become a major problem in Pakistan. The major Polluting Industries are tanneries, textile, petroleum, pesticides, fertilizer etc. Majority of the multinational companies in Pakistan are also now going for certification due to their corporate policy.

Cleaner Production Opportunity for the Industrial Sector of Pakistan

Till now 20 to 25 companies have achieved ISO 14000 certification, mostly multinationals, whereas remaining are exportbased industries. Most of the Local Companies are still reluctant towards due to wrong perception that environmental solutions cannot be economically viable. Lack of expertise available locally, there is a critical need for capacity building program for pollution control, promotion of environmentally sustainable development and creation of awareness

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries


Cleaner production (CP) is a strategy for enhancing productivity and environmental performance for socio-economic development. Application of Appropriate Techniques, Technologies and Management Systems to produce environmentally compatible goods and services. Improvements in productivity and environmental performance achieved through CP bring bottom line savings, profit/efficiency. In-house improvements and CP technologies will not only result in the improvement of economic and environmental performance of the unit, but will also reduce the cost of end-of-pipe treatment.

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries


Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries Cleaner Production technologies already used in the country Scrubbers Dust Filters Economizer Vacuum Cleaners High Pressure Cleaning Devices Condenser Grease Trap Incinerators

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries



Waste The definition of waste can be very subjective; what represents waste to one person may represent a valuable resource to another Definition of 'Waste'
Production or consumption residues not otherwise specified below. Off-specification products. Products whose date for appropriate use has expired. Materials spilled, lost or having undergone other mishap, including any materials, equipment etc. contaminated as a result of the mishap. Materials contaminated or soiled as a result of planned actions (e.g. residues from cleaning operations, packing materials, containers etc.). Unusable parts (e.g. reject batteries, exhausted catalysts etc.). Substances which no longer perform satisfactorily (e.g. contaminated acids, contaminated solvents, exhausted tempering salts etc.). Residues of industrial processes (e.g. slags, still bottoms etc.). Residues from pollution abatement processes (e.g. scrubber sludges, baghouse dusts, spent filters etc.). Machining or finishing residues (e.g. lathe turnings, mill scales etc.). Residues from raw materials extraction and processing (e.g. mining residues, oil field slops etc.). Adulterated materials (e.g. oils contaminated with PCBs etc.). Any materials, substances or products whose use has been banned by law. Products for which the holder has no further use (e.g. agricultural, household, office, commercial and shop discards etc.).

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries

Types of Waste Controlled Waste Household Waste Industrial Waste Commercial Waste Clinical Waste Special Waste Un-Controlled Waste Inert Waste Hazardous Waste Municipal Solid Waste

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries

Waste Classification Systems


Origin, e.g., clinical wastes, household or urban solid wastes, industrial wastes, Code Description nuclear wastes, agriculture; HI Explosive Oxidizing Form, e.g., liquid, solid, gaseous, slurries, H2 H3A Highly flammable <21C flashpoint powders; H3B Flammable 21-55 C flash point H4 Irritant Properties, e.g., toxic, reactive, acidic, H5 Harmful alkaline, inert, volatile, carcinogenic; H6 Toxic Carcinogenic Legal definition, e.g., special, controlled, H7 H8 Corrosive H9 Infectious household, industrial, commercial.

Properties of Waste
Series of descriptors for different types of wastes:

HI0 H11 Hl2 Hl3 Hl4 PI P2 P3 P4 P5

Teratogenic (causes birth defects) Mutagenic Reacts to emit dangerous gas Reacts to form HI-HI2 substances Ecotoxic (toxic to the environmt Odorous Sharp Gas-containerised Gas-pressurised Dust/powder

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries


Subdivisions of General HHs, Commercial and Industrial Waste Category: General household, commercial and industrial waste Separate components of general waste Vegetable matter Animal matter Animal or vegetable oil, fat, wax, grease Sewage Subdivisions of the Organic Chemical Wastes Category: Paints, resins and adhesives Inks and dyestuffs Cosmetics, Surfactants and Chelating Agents Monomers and Precursors, Tarry wastes Pharmaceuticals , Pesticides Organic Chemical Process Wastes, Additional Codes

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries

Typical Composition and Properties of Sewage Sludge


Property Typical value Calorific value MJ/kg (dry, ash free) Ash content 21.3

37%
Composition of combustible fraction (dry, ash free) Carbon 53.0% Hydrogen 7.7% Oxygen 33.5% Nitrogen 5.0% Sulphur 0.8% Organic composition (dry, ash free) Crude protein 30.0 Crude fat 13.0

Crude fiber
33.0 Non-fibrous carbohydrate 24.0

Cleaner Production Opportunities for Industries

Physical form of the Waste


Physical form of the waste i.e solid, liquid or sludge etc: F1 Solid - composite of materials F2 Solid - mixed materials F3 Solid - bulky F4 Liquid - containerized F5 Liquid - bulk F6 Sludge/slurry - in a solid container F7 Sludge/slurry - bulk For Textiles F8 Clean textiles F9 Dry textiles For Metals FI0 Metal rod F11 Metal swarf For Plastic F 13 Plastic bottles F14 Plastic film

F12 Metal wire F15 Plastic - rigid

Cleaner Production Opportunities

Waste Containers and Collection System


Type of container used to store the waste generated from households, commercial and industrial premises depends on i.e. frequency, efficiency of collection, amount of waste, type of housing, density of collected wastes, collection vehicle type, vehicle usage and manpower and economics relating to container and the collection system. The correct size of waste container is important, since it has been shown that the use of non-standard containers is the greatest cause of litter. Household waste containers include traditional metal or plastic dustbins, wheeled bins and plastic sacks. The capacity of the household waste storage container depends on how many collections are made per week. With a general increase in the amount of waste generated, there has been a response to use bigger or more containers, which also has the potential to reduce manning costs by less frequent waste collections. Another factor dictating size of container and frequency of collection is climate; in cooler areas such as Northern Europe, where odour from the degradation of the waste occurs more slowly, the frequency of collection may be once or twice per week. Consequently the container must be able to store a full week's volume of waste.

Cleaner Production Opportunities

Waste is dumped un-segregated and collected by three methods:


Hauled Container System, Stationary Container System and Bull Carts, The containers are mostly transported from one place to another with help of a truck or tractor, which is overflowing and not covered properly. The waste spills out of the container and a lot of it falls in the streets before reaching the landfill site. Similarly, in certain areas bull and donkey carts are used to collect the MSW. The cart goes from street to street picking up the waste and is again not a proper system for waste collection. A fact sheet on Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) has been developed by WWF-P with a viewpoint to facilitate the readers on efficient practices of SWM. The government has initiated a plan to privatize the MSWM in the country. This could be done using the present network of recyclers and scavengers to collect and process garbage. It would be in their interest to make arrangements with individual households and industries to segregate different recyclable at the source. This interest of the private collector in segregated garbage could be translated in payment in terms of free garbage collection or cash payment for the segregated material.

Cleaner Production Opportunities

Land-Fills
Landfilling is the technical term used to Fill large holes in the ground with waste. This process is also known as land-raising. Landfill sites produce landfill gas (55% methane and 45% carbon dioxide) which can be partly captured for energy production.

Impacts
Friends of the Earth opposes landfill for the 80% of municipal solid waste that can be recycled or composted for the following reasons: It wastes valuable resources. It exacerbates climate change because when materials are buried, more fossil fuel energy is used to replace the products through mining, manufacturing, and transportation around the world. It produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. It creates water pollution through leaching. It can lead to the contamination of land. It gives rise to various nuisances including increased traffic, noise, odours, smoke, dust, litter and pests.

Cleaner Production Opportunities

Major Advantages with Landfilling of wastes are the low costs of landfill compared to other disposal options and the fact that a wide variety of wastes are suitable for landfill. It should also be remembered that ultimately, many other waste treatment and disposal options require that the final disposal route for the residues requires landfill. Disadvantages with Landfill. Older sites, which in some cases are still in use or have long been disused, were constructed before the environmental impacts of leachate and landfill gas were realized. Landfill gas, in particular, can be hazardous, since the largest component, methane, can reach explosive concentrations. All Landfill sites are required to be monitored for landfill gas, and the gas from operational sites must be controlled via proper venting. Landfill methane gas is also a 'greenhouse gas', leading to the problems of global warming but with about 30 times the effect of carbon dioxide. Selection of a site for a waste landfill depends on a wide range of criteria, including the proximity of the site to the source of waste generation, suitability of access roads, the impact on the local environment of site operations, and the geological and

Cleaner Production Opportunities

Main aim of the landfill site assessment investigation is the identification of the possible pathways and receptors of landfill gas and leachate in the surrounding environment and the environmental impact of site operations Site assessment involves appraisal of geological and hydrogeological conditions at the site. This may include the use of existing surveys, aerial photography, boreholes, geophysical investigations, geological mapping and sampling etc. The information allows an assessment of soil and bedrock grain sizes, mineralogy and permeabilitys, and ground water levels. In addition, the previous use of the site, meteorological data, transport infra-structure and planning use designations, and the planning strategy of the area would also be assessed. For large landfill sites an environmental assessment is also required to determine the impact on the environment. Environmental assessment involves a description and assessment of the direct and indirect effects of the project on human beings, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climate and landscape, material assets and the cultural heritage

Cleaner Production Opportunities


Considerations for Landfills A waste landfill is a major design and engineering project and there are a number of points to be considered as part of the process. Final Landform Profile Site capacity Settlement Waste density Materials requirements Drainage Operational Practice The typical modern landfill site consists of a secure, fenced, landscaped site with access routes for waste transport vehicles. The sequence of operations for an incoming waste vehicle may include the weighing of the lorry on a weighbridge document inspection and waste inspection. Once cleaned, the lorry would move to the waste disposal area where the waste is tipped, the wheels of the lorry are cleaned and the lorry is weighed out if the site to determine the weight of waste deposited.

Cleaner Production Opportunities

Types of Waste Land Filled Inert wastes Bio-reactive wastes Hazardous/industrial or special waste Factors Influencing Waste Degradation in Landfills Site characteristics Waste characteristic Moisture content of the waste Temperature Acidity

Major Stages of Waste Degradation in Landfills

Landfill Design Types


Attenuate and disperse landfills Containment landfills Schematic diagram of water balance for an attenuate and disperse landfill site.

Landfill Gas

Gases arising from Bio-degradation landfills consist of hydrogen and carbon dioxide in the early stages, followed mainly by methane and carbon dioxide in the later stages. What is known as 'landfill gas' is a product mainly of the methanogen stage of degradation of biodegradable wastes. Landfill gas is produced from household and commercial wastes, which contain a significant proportion of biodegradable materials however, certain industrial and commercial wastes, which have been estimated to contain 62% and 66% biodegradable components. The major constituents of landfill gas, methane and carbon dioxide are odorless, and it is the minor components such as hydrogen sulphide, organic esters and the organosulphur compounds, which give landfill gas a malodorous smell. Landfill gas contains components, which are flammable, and when mixed with air can reach explosive concentrations in confined spaces. Some of the trace components of landfill gas have a toxic effect and may be hazardous if high enough concentrations are reached; for example, hydrogen sulphide Aromatic hydrocarbons are in low concentration but may potentially have an adverse effect on the workforce of the landfill site.

Landfill Gas

The major components of landfill gas, methane and carbon dioxide, are 'greenhouse gases'. The greenhouse effect is produced by certain gases in the atmosphere, which allow transmission of short wave radiation from the sun but are opaque to long wave radiation reflected from the earth's surface, thereby causing warming of the earth's atmosphere. A molecule of methane has approximately 30 times the greenhouse effect of a molecule of carbon dioxide. The quantities of gas produced from waste depend on the biodegradable fraction of the waste, the presence of microorganisms, and suitable aerobic and anaerobic conditions

Landfill Gas Migration

Gases generated in the landfill will move throughout the mass of waste in addition to movement or migration out of the site. The mechanism of gas movement is via gaseous diffusion and advection or pressure gradient. That is, the gas moves from high to low gas concentration regions or from high to low gas pressure regions. Movement of gas within the mass of waste is governed by the permeability of the waste, overlying daily or intermittent cover, and the degree of compaction of the waste. Lateral movement of the gases is caused by overlying low permeability layers such as the daily cover and surface and sub-surface accumulations of water. Vertical movement of gas may occur through natural settlement of the waste, between bales of waste if a baling system is used to compact and bale the waste, or through layers of low permeability inert wastes such as construction waste rubble. Where landfill gas extraction is practiced to recover the gas for energy use, the gas is collected in gas wells, and

Possible Landfill Gas Migration Pathways for a Closed Site

Management and Monitoring of Landfill Gas

With the recognition of formation of landfill gas and its associated hazards, and the potential to utilize the energy content of the gas, the modern landfill site is designed to trap the gases for flaring or use in energy recovery systems. However, the priority is for control of the gases to protect the environment and prevent unacceptable risk to human health rather than utilization, and therefore where energy recovery is practiced, there would also be a control system alongside. Three types of system used to control landfill gas migration: Passive venting; Physical barriers; Pumping extraction systems.

Management and Monitoring of Landfill Gas

Passive Venting Systems are only recommended for old sites in the late stages of gas generation where gas generation rates are low, or where inert wastes are landfilled and similarly low, or where negligible rates of gas generation are found. The passive venting pit consists of a highly permeable vent of gravel material encased in a geotextile fabric to prevent ingress of fine material and reduction of permeability. Construction of the passive venting system may be as emplacement of the waste proceeds or afterwards by drilling or excavation into the mass of waste. Typically the vents are placed at intervals of between 20 and 50 m.

Management and Monitoring of Landfill Gas

Physical barriers use low-permeability barriers of, for example, flexible polymeric geomembranes, bentonite cement or clay, to contain and restrict the gas migration. Whilst these barriers might form part of a leachate containment system, they are less effective in containing gas. Coefficients of permeability for gas containment are required to be lower than 10-9 m/s. Efficiencies of barriers are improved if they are combined with a means of removing the gas by either passive venting or pumped extraction. Pumping extraction systems pump the gas out of the landfill. The gas migrates to gas pits or wells within the waste, which consists of highly permeable gravel, stones or rubble with a central perforated plastic pipe. The gases pass through the highpermeability vent to a plain unperforated pipe, which draws the gases through to the pump. Leachate vapour may also be pumped out with the gas, and because this vapour has a high moisture content a leachate condensation trap is required. Figure shows a typical pumping extraction well. The gas pumped to the surface is either flared by selfsustaining combustion or the use of a support fuel, utilized in an energy recovery system, or if the gas concentrations are sufficiently low it is discharged to the atmosphere. Where flaring is used to dispose of the gas minimum flame temperatures between 850 and 1100 C are recommended to destroy any hazardous trace components.

Typical combined Leachate and Landfill Gas Collection Well

Landfill Leachate

Leachate represents the water, which passes through the waste, and water generated within the landfill site, resulting in a liquid containing suspended solids, soluble components of the waste and products from the degradation of the waste by various microorganisms. The composition of the leachate will depend on the heterogeneity and composition of the waste and whether there is any industrial/hazardous waste co-disposal, the stage of biodegradation reached by the waste, moisture content and operational procedures. The decomposition rate of the waste also depends on aspects such as pH, temperature, aerobic or anaerobic conditions, and the associated types of microorganisms. Associated with leachate is a malodorous smell, due mainly to the presence of organic acids. The characteristics of the leachate are influenced by the waste material deposited in the site. For example, inert wastes will produce a leachate with low concentrations of components, whereas a hazardous waste leachate tends to have a wide range of components with highly variable concentrations.

Landfill Capping

Final cover or capping of the landfill site is required after the final waste has been deposited. The purpose of the cap is to contain and protect the waste, prevent rainwater and surface water from percolating into the site and influencing the generation of leachate, control the release of landfill gas, and prevent ingress of air and disruption of the anaerobic biodegradation process. In addition, the final cover is landscaped and provides a soil for the establishment of the restored site plant materials. The design of the cover system of lining materials used to cap the site depends on the nature of the waste, for example, whether they are inert or biodegradable. Overlying the main body of waste may be the gas collection layer, depending on the nature of the waste. The gas collection layer is a porous material such as geotextile, geonet or coarse sand through which the gas can easily permeate to the gas collection and control system. A barrier layer is a low permeability layer such as a plastic polymer geomembrane, a geosynthetic clay liner of bentonite/geotextile fabric, or compacted natural clay. The barrier layer serves a two-fold purpose: to prevent ingress of water and the egress of landfill gas. The barrier layer may have a protective geotextile layer above and below.

Components of Landfill Capping System

Landfill Site Completion and Restoration

At the end of the life of a landfill, the landfill operator must demonstrate that the site has physically, chemically and biologically stabilized and no longer poses a risk to the public or the local environment. When a site is deemed complete, post-closure pollution controls and leachate and landfill gas control systems would no longer be required. Stabilisation is defined in terms of the quantity and composition of the leachate and landfill gas produced at the site. Assessment of completion depends on the type of landfill site. For example, sites, which have taken only inert wastes, pose a low risk to human health and the environment since, only low or zero levels of leachate and landfill gas are likely to be generated. For biodegradable wastes such as municipal solid waste, then a full assessment of the leachate composition and gas volume and the potential future generation rates, together with an assessment of the waste settlement, would be required

Energy Recovery

The development of larger and larger landfill sites throughout many countries has provided for economies of scale and the economic viability of utilization of landfill gas. The modem site is seen in this context as a 'bio-reactor', used to stabilize waste and produce landfill gas for energy recovery. Therefore, whilst landfill sites exist which are used for disposal without energy recovery, the modem purpose-built site would normally incorporate a landfill gas extraction system for the recovery of energy. Estimates of the amount of landfill gas generated throughout the lifetime of a landfill site are highly variable, with estimates of between 39 and 500 m3/tonne. Annual rates of gas production have been estimated for a typical municipal solid waste landfill at between 6 and 8 m3/tonne/year, but much higher rates of over 20 m3/tonne/year have been recorded. The energy recovery technology is based around the gas collection system and the pre-treatment and power generation technology. Gas collection is via either vertical gas wells or horizontal well collection systems, depending on the type of site, sitefilling techniques, depth of waste and leachate level. The gas is collected in a series of perforated gas pipelines connected to a central pipeline.

Waste Treatment Technologies

Recycling
Recycling is the collection and separation of materials from waste and subsequent processing to produce marketable products.

Benefits
Recycling basic materials in order to make new products has several benefits: It reduces the demand for raw materials by extending their life and maximising the value extracted from them. It reduces the habitat damage, pollution and waste associated with the extraction of raw materials. It reduces transport costs and pollution from transporting raw materials and manufacturing new products. It saves energy in the production process when compared with the energy consumed in using raw materials. It reduces emissions to air and water in the production process. It reduces disposal impact (if more waste is recycled, less waste goes to landfill or incinerators).

Waste Treatment Technologies

Composting
The process of composting is one of biological decomposition under aerobic (open air) and thermophilic (at or above 70C) conditions, which breaks down organic material to leave a humus rich residue, the compost. Compost is a valuable soil conditioner for both agriculture, gardening and forestry.

Benefits
Composting is an excellent method of managing solid waste with a high organic content (i.e. biodegradable waste) such as garden waste, kitchen waste, park waste, and even scrap paper and cardboard. 60% of municipal solid waste can be composted. Composting techniques Home composting Compost can be made at home using a traditional compost heap, a purpose designed container or a wormery. Community composting

Open/Open air windrow Enclosed/Covered windrow In-vessel

Waste Treatment Technologies

Incineration Ration
Incineration is the combustion of waste at high temperatures. It uses a wide variety of combustion systems developed from boiler plant technology and also more novel techniques such as molten salt and fluidized bed incinerators. Incineration of waste has a number of advantages over landfill Incineration can usually be carried out near the point of collection. The number of landfill sites close to the point. of waste generation are becoming scarcer, resulting in transport of waste over long distances. The waste is reduced into a biologically sterile ash product, which for municipal solid waste is approximately one-tenth of its pre-burnt volume and one-third of its pre-burnt weight. Incineration produces no methane, unlike landfill. Methane is a 'greenhouse gas' and is a significant contributor to global warming. Waste incineration can be used as a low cost source of energy to produce steam for electric power generation, industrial process heating, or hot water for district heating, thereby conserving valuable primary fuel resources. The bottom ash residues can be used for materials recovery or as secondary aggregates in construction. Incineration is the best practicable environmental option for many hazardous wastes such as highly flammable, volatile, toxic and infectious waste.

Incineration - Disadvantages

It generally entails much higher costs and longer pay back periods due to the high capital investment The incinerator is designed on the basis of a certain calorific value for the waste. Removal of materials such as paper and plastics for recycling may reduce the overall calorific value of the waste and consequently may affect incinerator performance. The incineration process still produces a solid waste residue which requires management. It destroys valuable resources. It exacerbates climate change because when materials are burned, more fossil fuel energy is used to replace the products through mining, manufacturing, and transportation around the world. Energy from burning waste is not renewable. It undermines councils recycling schemes by demanding long -term waste delivery - Because it takes 15-25 years for a waste management company to make a return on their capital investment, the contract between a council and a waste management company requires the council to provide an agreed amount of waste for at least 25 years. It produces emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulates, heavy metals and dioxins, all of which are potentially dangerous to human health. It produces bottom ash, which may contain heavy metals and dioxins present in the waste burnt, such as batteries. Bottom ash represents one-third by weight of the original waste and still has to be land filled. It also produces fly ash (the fine particles and gases caught in the chimney by filter systems), which is undisputedly toxic, containing pollutants such as heavy metals and dioxins. Fly ash is classified as special waste (i.e. hazardous waste) and has to be landfilled in very careful circumstances. It creates very few jobs. The recycling industry however offers enormous potential for substantial job creation. It is a much more capital-intensive and costly approach than recycling. It creates more noise and traffic. Incinerators can also be regarded as eyesores.

Incineration - Disadvantages

The modern incinerator is an efficient combustion system with sophisticated gas clean-up which produces energy and reduces the waste to an inert residue with minimum pollution. Incineration plants may be classified on a variety of criteria, for example, their capacity, the nature of the waste to be combusted, the type of system etc. However, a broad division can be made between mass burn incineration and other types. Mass burn incineration: Large scale incineration of municipal solid waste in single-stage chamber unit in which complete combustion or oxidation occur Typical throughputs of waste are between 10 and 50 tonnes per hour. Other types of incineration: Other types of incineration involve smaller scale throughputs of between 1 and 2 tonnes per hour of wastes such as clinical waste sewage sludge and hazardous waste. Typical examples of such systems include fluidized bed, cyclonic, starved air or pyrolytic, rotary kiln, rocking kiln, cement kiln, and liquid and gaseous incinerators.

Incineration - Disadvantages

Incineration in Pakistan June 12 was the first World Incineration Day that was observed in Pakistan - whose record on environment, solid waste management, health and hygiene of its citizens, is dismal and pathetic, with the added dilemma that, since its coffers are depleted, whether to invest in such a contentious technology! Currently, the majority of hospitals in Pakistan are dumping their waste, which includes both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, in open grounds just like the municipal waste. This allows the scavengers to take advantage of anything they may deem valuable, such as syringes, blood bags, catheters, scalpels etc, which they may sell or recycle/ re-use to deleterious effect. To compound our problem, Pakistan does not have a single sanitary engineer and in general has been unable to dispose of even the municipal waste with any worthwhile success. In the light of such an alarming situation, the practice of dumping hospital waste in open fields is extremely dangerous and hazardous for the health and life of human beings and nature. Currently, the landfills in Pakistan are just open dumpsites where animals graze or scavenge for food and the poor earn their livelihood. There are 24 incinerators in Pakistan. Only six are operating and that too not according to the international standards. Resultantly, the process of incineration is not being carried out properly and the waste is not being detoxified. At the same time, poisonous fumes, like dioxins, are being emitted into the atmosphere through the chimneys of these incinerators, which only adds to the plight of people of Pakistan.

Incineration - Disadvantages

Incinerators, when operating properly burn at extremely high temperatures - in access of 1100 degrees Celsius, thereby only emitting carbon dioxide and water vapor into the atmosphere. Conversely, the incinerators in Pakistan also emit a lot of smoke a direct indicator of low temperature burning and pose a direct threat to human life. Therefore, it is essential to address the technology of incineration and the management aspect of it in Pakistan. Whereas, the very same technology has been a success and is widely used in the developed countries, where landfills are now discouraged due to the scarcity of barren lands. Pakistan's case is not all that different. We have an agro-based economy and our land is extremely precious to waste it on dumpsites, which would ultimately contaminate our other scarce commodity - water!! The chimneys of incinerators should only emit carbon dioxide and water, and planting more trees - nature's filtering agents - may solve this rise in 'green house' gases Furthermore, the heat generated from incinerators may be used to produce steam, which in turn could be used to drive turbines and generate electricity and at least supply a small community with the much-needed resource to enhance development. In a country like Pakistan where such resources are scarce, large-scale industrial incinerators could help address the use of renewable energy and help in solving the crisis besieged in the rural areas. Such endeavors have been successfully implemented throughout the developed world.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process in which organic material is broken down by the action of microorganisms. Unlike composting, the process takes place in the absence of air. The residue remaining after digestion can be used as a soil conditioner and the process generates a gas, which can be used as a fuel for domestic or industrial use. The anaerobic digestion process is very similar to anaerobic breakdown of organic waste in landfill sites but under controlled conditions. Friends of the Earth supports anaerobic digestion for sorted organic waste.

Gasification

Gasification is where carbon based wastes are heated in the presence of air or steam to produce fuel-rich gases. The technology is based on the reforming process to produce town gas from coal, and requires industrial scale facilities. From the end of 1998, the dumping of sewage sludge at sea has been prohibited. Friends of the Earth opposes gasification for the 80% of municipal solid waste that can be recycled or composted because it wastes valuable resources, contributes to climate change and provides very few jobs.

Pyrolysis

In this treatment, carbon based wastes are heated in the absence of air to produce a mixture of gaseous and liquid fuels and a solid inert residue (mainly carbon). Pyrolysis generally requires a consistent waste stream such as tyres or plastics to produce a usable fuel product. Currently, there is only one facility established in the UK taking in tyres . This has been shut because of operational problems. Friends of the Earth opposes pyrolysis for the 80% of municipal solid waste that can be recycled or composted for the same reasons that it opposes gasification.

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