Literature Review Of Indian Lea R Industry
Puvanakrishnan and Dhar (1988) reported that environmental pollution has been a major annoyance to industrial development. According to them chemicals and chemical-based industries are the main targets of the environmentalists for their struggle against pollution reduction. Leather industry has also been considered as the most pollution generating industry and pollution is significantly high in the pre-tanning operations as compared to the post-tanning operations.
Parikh, Sharma, Gosh and Panda (1995) also mention several other environmental effects in their report on the Indian leather industry these effects include the smell of rotting flesh near the tanneries, the odor of sulfide emissions from the dehairing and the ammonia emissions and flue gas emissions from the unhairing and fleshings. In addition, this situation is associated with deleterious health effects such as headache, stomachache, dizziness, night blindness, leprosy, dermatitis and other skin disorders.
The characteristics of tannery effluent vary considerably from tannery to tannery and depend upon the factors like the size of the tannery, chemicals used for tanning process, amount of water used and type of final product produced by a tannery. In 1998, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries conducted a survey in Pakistan and determined the quality characteristics range of effluent (BOD5:840-18,620 mg/L; COD: 1320-54,000 mg/L; Suspended Solids: 220-1610 mg/L; Total K Nitrogen: 236-358 mg/L; Sulphates: 800-6480 mg/L; Chromium: 41-133 mg/L) from tanning processing of raw skins to finished leather (Iqbal, Haque and Berns, 1998).
According to Ramasami et al. (1999); Ramasami (2001) an average consumption of 45-50m3 of the waste liquor and 80 kg of solid wastes per ton of raw hide are discharged by the leather industry. The salt used for preserving the skin/hide discharge huge amount of pollution load in terms of total dissolved solids and chlorides. Other major polluting chemicals used in tanning industry are lime, sodium sulphide, ammonium salts, sulphuric acid, chromium salts and vegetable tanning materials. In terms of biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total dissolved solids (TDS), almost 70% of the pollution originates from pretanning operations.
Ates, Orhon and Tunay (1997) ; Cooman, Gajardo, Nicto, Bornhardt and Vidal (2003) characterized tanning wastewater and it contains large quantities of organic and inorganic compounds, including toxic substances such as sulphides and chromium salts that turn tannery effluents into noxious wastewaters. They demonstrated that different tanning processes like soaking, beam-house ,tanning and finishing have high values of COD (2840-27600 mg/L), chlorides (1813-16500 mg/L), sulphate (230-35200 mg/L) and total solids (8600-87100 mg/L).
The major heavy metal used extensively as a tanning agent is chromium (Bosnic, Buljan and Daniels, 2000). The metal still remains an irreplaceable tanning agent. As a matter of common practice, most of the chromium salts that are not chemically fixed during leather processing are discharged as liquid effluents (Luck and Wehling, 1984). It is known that chromium discharged from tannery effluents into the surface waters far exceeds the worldwide accepted regulatory limit of 0.5–15 mg/L (Buljan, 1996). In most developing countries voluminous tannery effluents are directly discharged to the nearby open lands where they adversely affect the quality of both soil and ground water, rendering them unsuitable for viable human use (Farooque, Teekarman and Ahmed, 1984).
Chromium containing effluents find their way in the environment at disposal sites where Chromium undergoes oxidation reactions and forms Cr (VI). As Cr (VI) is readily soluble in water, it leaches down in the soil profile and could contaminate groundwater (Sumathi, Mahimairaja and Naidu, 2005). Furthermore, the discharge of such colored wastewater into the environment is not only aesthetically displeasing, but also impedes light penetration, damages the quality of the receiving streams and toxic to food chain organisms and to aquatic life (Talarposhti, Donnelly and Andersonm , 2001).
Singh and Rajamani (2003) reported that in developing countries, 80% of the tanning industry is comprised of small and medium enterprise (SMEs) processing raw to semi finished leather. Due to strict environmental legislation in Europe and other developed countries the leather sectors have vanished.
GIS is well suited to handling diverse spatial environmental data and for use in modeling through its ability to model and specifically address spatial environmental and social entities in the analysis and decision-making process (Goodchild, 1993; Nyerges, 1993). The use of GIS in environmental research has become a major area of interest for a number of disciplines such that GIS has now achieved mainstream information technology status and is increasingly incorporated into environmental analysis, planning and decision-making (Haklay, Feitelson, and Doytsher, 1998; Berry, 1996). Berry (1996) also suggests that GIS has become a fundamental part of environmental modeling through the ability to map environmental variables and to perform complex analysis on the physical and human processes impinging on the natural environment.
Goodchild (2000) and Kraak (2001) and defined the scope of mapping with GIS in different disciplines like geography, computer science, spatial planning and census administration. GIS is generally used to collect, handle, store and visualize spatial data. With the help of GIS it is possible to build digital maps and to analyse spatial data. Overall, in research and in other tasks GIS facilitates spatial thinking throughout the entire process. These methods are important in helping researchers and decision makers to understand the spatial relationships among environmental feature.
According to Forrester, Potts, Rosen and Cinderby (2003) Participatory GIS is a most useful approach for extracting lay (indigenous) knowledge, perceptions of environmental problems and hazards, and presenting and communicating it to environmental scientists. The clarity and conciseness of 'citizen maps' allows decision makers to take into account citizen inputs which used to be ignored.
GIS is mostly used as a quantitative research method. It has relied heavily on hard, formal information because it has usually been more readily available. GIS is at its best when dealing with quantitative data that is considered unambiguous, measurable and precise. The growing need for integrating qualitative data into GIS has raised questions concerning the usability of GIS in mapping soft knowledge (Kwan, 2000, 2004; Pavlovskaya, 2006).
Current GIS applications in environmental engineering are mostly for information management of public utilities (e.g. water distribution network, sanitary and storm sewerage), watershed and hydrological modeling, non-point pollutants loading assessment, and biosolids (Kshirsagar, 1999; Van, 1999; Shamsi, 2002; Zhou, 2004).
Gemitzi, Tsihrintzisb, Christouc and Petalasb (2007) used GIS in the field of wastewater management. For this purpose, several geological variables, and required wastewater effluent characteristics were analyzed with the GIS, in order to accept or reject a particular area for construction of wastewater stabilization ponds.
Participatory GIS is a means for the inclusion of subjective non-expert data into both qualitative and quantitative expert planning processes and models. This enhances effective communication and understanding, facilitates greater stakeholder involvement in decision making, and assists in monitoring the impacts of management policies. The techniques include the incorporation within a GIS of individuals’ or groups’ mental maps of the local environment and data about how they interact with that environment (Abbot et al., 1998).
Deshingkar and Cinderby (1998) described that Participatory GIS approach can help to promote bottom-up policy development by incorporating local concerns and knowledge, all stored within a single database in a similar way to conventional spatial databases. Field experience suggests that the greater shared understanding of the various stakeholders’ perceptual information achieved by this process can be useful in highlighting and resolving conflicts and that the combination of existing environmental information with that obtained from the users of the local resources allows greater insight into the limitations and possibilities for development.
Participatory GIS is being practiced using a diverse range of approaches in many countries and a wide variety of projects and situations (Chapin, Lamb and Threlkeld, 2005). Ainslie and Cinderby (1997) used participatory GIS approach for rural livelihood and natural resource management in semi-arid South Africa and Namibia which illustrates the participatory GIS approach for local planning. Corbley (1999) described an example where participatory GIS has successfully been employed in the Republic of Congo in order to plan the sustainable development of villages. The project involved anthropologists, biologists, GIS and remote sensing experts along with the local inhabitants producing plans for sustainable resource utilization.
Jordan and Shrestha (1999) suggested that the following five points need to be adhered to when developing a participatory GIS (i) GIS should be used if there is a need and only if it adds to the PGIS (ii) Collection and dissemination of information that are an integral part of participatory process should be a priority rather than technical issues related to use of GIS in the process (iii) Decision–making process in the community should be the focus of PGIS activities (iv) Ownership of information, how it is stored and who has access to the information are also important issues to keep in mind when engaging in a PGIS activity (v) Infrastructural and institutional support to obtain participatory information, input it into a GIS, analyse it, and return it to the participants in a way they can use it, should it be in place.
Gobin, Campling, Deckers and Feyen (2000) evaluated that participatory methods are designed to empower local people in the development process through the incorporation of local knowledge and perspectives, priorities, and skills. They are widely being used to bridge science and policy, and to strengthen the resource management capabilities of rural communities, especially in developing countries currently seeking sustainable development strategies.
According to Harris, Craig and Weiner (2002); Kyem (2002) that by participating in the process of GIS application, stakeholders can significantly contribute to the success of resource management efforts. The dilemma of model building and the incorporation of local stakeholders are addressed by various scholars in environmental management (Bousquet, Barreteau, Aquino, Etienne, Boissau, Aubert, Le Page, Babin and Castella 2002; Talen, 2000; Harris and Weiner, 1998). In participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS), for example, GIS is used to express the spatial representation of the local stakeholder groups (Pain and Francis, 2003; Haklay, 2003; Gonzalex, 2002).
McCall and Minnang (2005) used participatory GIS and participatory mapping for community-based natural resource management in Tinto, Cameroon. According to them participatory mapping processes contributed positively, exposing local stakeholders to geospatial analysis and promoted empowerment by supporting community members’ participation in decision making and actions and by enabling land use planning decisions further than community forestry.
Rambaldi, Kwalu, Mbile, McCall and Weiner (2006) studied that participatory GIS is an emergent practice developing out of participatory approaches to generating, planning and management of spatial information through interactive participation of stakeholders about specific landscapes to facilitate broadly-based decision making processes that support effective communication and community encouragement.
Minang and Mccall (2006) used participatory GIS approach for carbon forestry planning as an objective in a community forest management plan in general. They used Global Positioning System (GPS) for training local communities and field mapping of forests.
Wang, Zhenrong, Cindebry and Forrester (2008) highlighted an application of a Participatory GIS in a Participatory land use planning process in Shanxi province in China. The methodology was designed to integrate a wider Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach with Participatory GIS to fully realize the benefits of participatory planning. The application of Participatory GIS improved the inclusion of villager’s knowledge into the process and enhanced the communication and shared understanding between rural communities, local decision maker’s government agencies.
Quan, Oudwater, Pender and Martin (2001); Talen (2000) described that with participatory approaches, participatory GIS has two fundamental functions: the first is as a spatial tool which is used to combine both official expert and local stakeholders’ spatial knowledge into a mapping process for the exploration of issues; the second is as a communication medium for spatial learning, discussion, information exchange, support and decision making.
GIS empowerment for communities has been attempted in some participatory GIS applications However, a large number of PGIS applications suffer from the following two problems due to their overriding desire to promote local participation. Firstly, GIS soft-and hardware are often unavailable for local people and community organization. If GIS are made available (either through internet services or the provision of resources) they are typically reliant for their utilization on external government institutions, donor projects or research institutes involved in short-term programs (Elwood, 2002). The application of participatory GIS demonstrated that knowledge obtained from local people using participatory orthophoto mapping can be effectively systematized, analyzed and displayed through GIS (Anuchiracheeva, Demaine, Shivakoti and Ruddle, 2003). Participatory GIS is being practiced using a diverse range of approaches in many countries and a wide variety of projects and situations (Chapin, Lamb and Threlkeld, 2005). Hassan (2005) evaluated the application of GIS with local community participation in deep tube well planning for arsenic mitigation in Bangladesh. He collected the relevant data for study was from the field survey using PRA approach to obtain social and resource information; while a GIS was used to organize, analyse, and display the information. The study revealed the suitability of public participatory GIS in spatial planning for arsenic mitigation with local community mapping overlay and community perspectives on deep tube well planning.
Hu and Zhou (2005) used integrated GIS approach for processing on-site wastewater treatment facilities information. This approach includes three main components a mobile GIS unit for field data collection, WWW interface for electronic submission of on-site system information from each facility to a centralized on-site wastewater treatment facilities database in a state department and the third component is a web-based GIS for the display and management of on-site wastewater treatment facilities, along with other spatial information such as the land use, soil type, streams, and topography. They described that through GIS spatial analysis and environmental modeling, the environmental impact of the surface discharge can be easily studied and assessed.
Ahamed, Khan, Takigawa, Koike, Tasnim and Zaman (2008) utilized combined model of GIS integrating with participatory approaches i.e. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) for resource mapping in a rural poverty-prone area of Bangladesh. This model integrated GIS and participatory means to include the voices of the stakeholders in assessing available resources and their needs. They developed the resource mapping framework,with local community people and used ArcView GIS to digitize the resource maps as a Decision Support System (DSS). They also demonstrated that focus group based interaction with community people revealed stakeholders’ opinions on land and water resources management and highlighted the need of collaboration between interdisciplinary policy planners, researchers and community for sustainable resource management.
According to Jankowski (2009) GIS become an information technology enabling groups of people to participate in decisions shaping their communities and promoting sustainable use of natural resources. He studied Participatory GIS in water resource planning; one involving the use of computer generated maps representing simple information structures and the other involving the use of more sophisticated information tools. The synthesis of both studies provides the bases for discussing the prospects of PGIS to empower citizens in making decisions about their communities and resources.
Massoud, Tarhini and Nasr (2009) discussed various decentralized approaches to wastewater treatment and management. According to them there are many impediments and challenges towards wastewater management in developing countries, these can be overcome by suitable planning and policy implementation. Understanding the receiving environment is crucial for technology selection and should be accomplished by conducting a comprehensive site evaluation process. Centralized management of the decentralized wastewater treatment systems is essential to ensure they are inspected and maintained regularly and management strategies should be site specific accounting for social, cultural, environmental and economic conditions in the target area.
According to Grau (1996) choosing the ‘‘most appropriate technology’’ is not an easy task but it could reduce the risk of future problems and failures. The two key issues in choosing a treatment technology are affordability and appropriateness. Affordability relates to the economic conditions of the community while appropriateness relates to the environmental and social conditions. As such, the ‘‘Most Appropriate Technology’’ is the technology that is economically affordable, environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable.
Environmentally sound development requires appreciation of local cultures, active participation of local peoples in development projects, more equitable income distribution, and the choice of appropriate technologies. Many factors fall under the economic aspect and are used to decide on the affordability of a system. The community should be able to finance the implementation of the system, the operation and maintenance including the capital improvement needed in the future, and the necessary long-term repairs and replacements (Bradley, Daigger, Rubin and Tchobanoglous, 2002; Ho, 2003).
According to Lier, Seeman and Lettinga (1998) the criteria for sustainability in the treatment of wastewater is that (i) No dilution of high strength wastes with clean water, (ii) Maximum recovery and re-use of treated water and by-products obtained from the pollution substances,(iii) Application of efficient, robust and reliable treatment/conversion technologies, which are low cost (in construction, operation, and maintenance), which have a long life-time and are plain in operation and maintenance, (iv)Applicable at any scale, very small and very big as well, (v) Leading to a high self-sufficiency in all respects and (vi) Acceptable for the local population.
Wastewater treatment approaches vary from the conventional centralized systems to the entirely onsite decentralized and cluster systems (Fisher,1995).Various technologies to treat water/wastewater are very well documented but few studies are reported which use of low cost adsorbents to clean organic loads together with some toxic inorganic metal cations and anions from industrial wastewater/effluents. Crittenden, Vaitheeswaran, Hand, Howe, Alieta, Tate, McGuire and Davis (1993) utilized granular activated carbon to remove dissolved organic carbon to reduce disinfection by-products.
Biological treatments on COD remediation were reported by Kim, Anderson and Zemla (1990). They evaluated the synergistic relationships using series of adsorption isotherms in terms of chemical oxygen demand. Simultaneous reduction in chromium and COD of tannery effluents by actinomycetes was studied by More, Sheeja, Rao, Nair and Laxman (2001). Various physico-chemical techniques have been studied for their applicability to the treatment of tannery wastewater (Orhon, Sgzen, Cokgsr, and Ates, 1998; Amokrane, Comel and Veron, 1997). Among these are coagulation, flocculation, ozonation, reverse osmosis, ion exchange and adsorption (Arvanitoyamis, Eleftheriadis and Tsatsaroni, 1989).
Berry and Obropta (2005) described that in Aerobic Treatment Unit (ATU) for wastewater, solids settle and is partially digested by microorganisms. ATUs can reduce the total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand. A reduction in suspended solids improves the efficiency and life of the soil absorption field. But ATUs require electricity and have moving parts, requiring frequent inspection and high equipment replacement costs.
In trickling filters /fixed-film reactors, microorganisms typically grow on a specially designed synthetic material, such as a plastic polymer, instead of being carried with the liquid, as in a typical septic system. They are extremely effective at reducing biochemical oxygen demand (Massachusetts DEP, 1997).
Lier et al. (1998) reported that the lagoon systems is considered a low-cost technology if sufficient, non-arable land is available. Rose (1999) identified that in wetland treatment, natural forces (chemical, physical, and solar) act together to purify the wastewater, thereby achieving treatment of wastewater. Shallow ponds in a series act as stabilization lagoons, while water hyacinth or duckweed act to accumulate heavy metals, and various forms of bacteria, plankton and algae perform further purification of water. Wetland treatment technology in developing countries offers a comparative advantage over conventional, mechanized treatment systems because the level of self-sufficiency, ecological balance, and economic viability is greater.
Metcalf and Eddy (2002) also reported that the decision to use wetlands must consider the climate. There are disadvantages to the system that in some locations may make it unsustainable. Some mechanical problems may include clogging with sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, particularly with oxidation pond effluent. Biological growth (slime) in the sprinkler head, emitter orifice, or supply line cause plugging, as do heavy concentrations of algae and suspended solids. Generally these conventional treatments are unable to reduce all of the polluting parameters; COD, chlorides, sulphates and ammonia do not fall often reach the limits (Molinari, Drioli and Cassano, 1997; Molinari, Drioli, Cassano and Romano, 2001).
Many researchers have find out the effect of chemical treatment on tannery effluent. The chemical treatment is proved effective in many studies but it increased the chemical load on environment. Mostly chemical treatment is and required technical expertise. Iaconi (2003) evaluated that COD concentration in tannery wastewater treatment is reduced either by adding powder activated carbon directly into the biological reactor or by expensive tertiary treatments but these methods have some real limitations. Besides this, certain other chemical and biological treatment options are available but each has associated problems.
Song, Williams and Edyvean (2004) worked on chemical coagulation treatment system using aluminium sulphate and ferric chloride coagulants for reduce the concentration of pollutants in tannery wastewater. They studied and optimized conditions were corresponding to the best removal of organic matters, suspended solids as well as chromium. Kurt, Apaydin and Gonullu (2006) evaluated Electro-Fenton (EF) oxidation process for COD reduction of leather tanning industry wastewaters by, as one of the advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). He carried out treatment on wastewater by an electrochemical batch reactor set with two iron electrodes, connected parallel to each other.
Rao, Lade, Kadam, Ramana , Krishnamacharyulu, Deshmukh and Gyananath (2007) tested the efficiency of adsorbents like fly ash and activated carbon for removal of chromium from tannery effluent. They evaluated that the removal efficiency with fly ash as an adsorbent was comparatively better than activated carbon. Aboulhassan, Souabi and Yaacoubi (2008) evaluated the effect of alum, ferric chloride and calcium hydroxide on treatment of tannery wastewaters. They studied the influences of pH and coagulant dosages for the removal of pollutants.
Haydar and Aziz (2009) evaluated the effectiveness of chemically enhanced primary treatment (CEPT) system. They used coagulants alum, ferric chloride and ferric sulfate for enhanced pollutants removal at the primary stage of the wastewater treatment. The results of this study demonstrated that the tannery effluent had high concentrations of organic matter, solids, sulfates, sulfides and chromium. Alum was found to be the suitable coagulant for tannery wastewater for reduction turbidity, total suspended solids (TSS), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and chromium. However, COD content was high, emphasizing the need of secondary treatment for the tannery effluent. Moura, Castro and Dantas (2004) find that the usual technology for effluent treatment is physicochemical followed by units of biological treatment, usually activated sludge or aerated lagoon systems.
For environmental protection recent trend is growing toward the use of microorganisms for the recovery of metals from waste streams, as well as employment of plants for landfill applications (Kotrba and Ruml, 2000). There are a wide variety of microorganisms, encompassing bacteria, fungi, yeast, and algae that can interact with metals and radionuclides through several mechanisms to transform them (Volesky, 1994; Kapoor and Viraraghavan, 1998).
Verma, Brar, Blais, Tyagi and Surampalli (2006) worked on wastewater biofiltration system. According to him biofiltration is a distinct process as compared to other biological treatments as the microorganisms are fixed to a support and wastewater flows through it to be treated. Ojo (2006) preferred Biological treatment over physicochemical as the former is cost effective, efficient and environmentally friendly.
According to Higa and Chinen (1998) the basis for using EM technology is that it contains various organic acids due to the presence of one of the EM species, which are the lactic acid bacteria. The bacteria secrete organic acids, enzymes, antioxidants and metallic chelates, creating an antioxidant environment, thus assisting in the enhancement of the solid-liquid separation, which is the foundation for cleaning water. Wididana (1994) investigated the effect of effective microorganisms on improving the quality of wastewater. After treatment the chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD) was decreased and suspended solids (SS).
Effective Microorganisms is also being used effectively for reuse of wastewater. In Okinawa the city library of Gushikawa uses EM very effectively in treating sewage water, which is reused for garden and toilets purpose. EM treatment significantly reduces the COD and BOD of the wastewater and wastewater is reused, resulting in saving costs and energy (Okuda and Higa, 1999).
Freitag (2000) suggested that introducing effective microorganisms (EM) into the anaerobic treatment facilities helped to reduce the unpleasant by-products of this decomposition and also reduced the production of residual sludge. These factors tend to suggest that theoretically EM assist in the treatment of wastewater by improving the quality of water discharged and reducing the volume of sewage sludge produced.
EM Research Organization (EMRO) team of Japan conducted pilot studies in Pakistan (2002) for bio remediation of oily sludge at Attock Refinery Ltd, Rawalpindi; Safe disposal of tannery sludge of Eastern Leather Company, Muridkey in collaboration with Pakistan Tanners Association, and Bio degradation of heavy metals in Himont Chemicals, Raiwind. They applied EM for effluent and sludge treatment and produced biofertilizer from tannery sludge with application of EM.
Szymanski and Patterson (2003) used effective microorganisms (EM) for on-site wastewater treatment system for reducing sludge volumes. Two areas of experimentation were undertaken, one Wastewater Treatment Plant and a second on five domestic septic tanks. Results showed a significant decrease in pH levels with increased EM dose, improved settlement of the sludge, but a significant increase in BOD5. However, there was no reduction in suspended solids content in the effluent.
Zakaria, Gairola and Shariff (2010) used effective microorganism (EM) technology to purify and revive nature. They applied EM using the formula known as effective microorganism activated solution (EMAS) in several rivers in Malaysia depending on the scale, location, physical and geographical conditions with the principal objective of enhancing and improving the water quality. Existing results of projects via EM technology in solving water quality related problems, and the nationwide campaigns in Malaysia were duly presented and results clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of this technique for restoration of water quality of degraded/polluted river basin.
Muga and Mihelcic (2008) developed the environmental, societal and economic indicators to study the sustainability of different wastewater treatment technologies. Mechanical treatment system i.e. activated sludge with secondary treatment, lagoon system (anaerobic and aerobic treatment) and land treatment systems, evaluated for treatment capacities of plants with less than 5 million gallons per day (MGD). They selected economic indicator in terms of capital, operation and management; environmental indicators in terms of removing conventional wastewater constituents and societal indicators include acceptance of the technology through public involvement and also determine that there is improvement in the community through application of specific technology by providing job opportunities, better education and or betterment of local environment.
Community participation is a social process in which groups or members of community living in a “certain geographical area” actively participate to identify needs, make decisions and set up mechanisms to achieve solutions (Bichmann, Rifkin and Shrestha, 1989). According to Polanyi (1998) the local knowledge is often considered soft. It is personal knowledge and thus subjective and based on experiences and perceptions. Sometimes, however, the local knowledge is not considered knowledge at all: it is seen as an opinion or belief without sufficient scientific or rational base local knowledge has also been described as ‘‘traditional’’ or ‘‘indigenous’’ (Fischer, 2000). Participatory Action Research is a methodological process and approach which actively incorporating people and groups affected by a problem, in such a manner that they become co-researchers through their actions in the different phases of the research carried out to solve the problem (Montero, 1980; 1984).
Greenwood and Levin (1998) described action research as social research carried out by a team encompassing professional action researchers and members of organizations or community seeking to improve their situation. Together, the professional researcher and the stakeholders define the problem to be examined, co generate relevant knowledge about them, learn and execute social research techniques, take action and interpret the results of actions based on what they have learned. The research aims to increase the ability of the concerned community or organization members to control their own destinies more effectively and to keep improving their capacity to do so. Whyte (1991) has described Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach to empower people through the process of developing and using their own knowledge to increase the relevance of the research process.
Brien (1997) simply considered action research as "learning by doing" where people or group of people identifies a problem, do something to resolve problem and sees how their efforts were successful. Action research refers to the combination of three elements, research, action and participation. According to Greenwood and Levin (1998); Hagey (1997) the core characteristics of action research and participatory action research including that it addresses real-life problems, which originate within the communities and the research goal is to fundamentally improve the lives of those involved through structural change. It is inquiry where participants and researchers co generate knowledge through collaborative communicative processes in which contribution of participants are taken seriously and it treats the diversity of experience and capacities of local group as an opportunity for the enrichment of the research action process.
Participatory action research (PAR) process is a mean of addressing the gap between researchers and the anticipated beneficiaries of research (McTaggart, 1991; Whyte, 1991). PAR refers to a process whereby the researchers and stakeholders collaborate in the design and carry out of all stages (e.g. specification of questions, data collection, data analysis, giving out and utilization) of the research process. Ultimate goal of PAR's is to take action to solve the problem that is at the basis of the research (Graves, 1991; McTaggart, 1991; Whitney-Thomas, 1997).
Dick, DiGregorio and McCarthy (2004) find that collective action can be understood as an event, an institution or a process. Poteete and Ostrom (2004) suggest that collective action can take the form of resource mobilization, activity coordination, information sharing or the development of institutions. Poteete and Ostrom (2004); Agrawal (2001) identify a range of factors that facilitate collective action. These include: characteristics of the collective action or group, institutional arrangements and the actions of external actors such as national governments.
Matta and Alavalapati (2006) argue that the central prerequisite for successful collective action is the active and effective participation of local people. In addition, they suggest that a collective group rarely evolves in a voluntary manner without prior knowledge of what might be gained by membership. Nor will participation be sustained without perceived successes of the collective action itself.
Berger and Ensor (2009) suggest that local social networks can offer marginalised groups an opportunity to develop adaptive strategies. When considering social networks social also mention which Putnam (1995); Adger (2003) defines as “relations of trust, reciprocity, and exchange; the evolution of common rules; and the role of networks that promote cooperation for mutual benefit. Uphoff (2000) suggests that collective action should be understood as one of the flows associated with social capital.
Adger (2003) argues that within the idea of social capital social relationships are either bonding or networking. Bonding capital refers to relationships of kinship and friendship whereas networking capital pertains to relationships beyond the immediate group and can involve actors at different levels in the community. Ensor and Berger (2009) suggest that social networks are the “glue between many elements of adaptation”. And they also argue that social networking is a key component of collective action, which enhances adaptive capacity.
According to Blackwell and Colmenar (2000) community organizing is a community building process in which people in a community engage themselves to focus on reinvesting in the community, building and sustaining social capital, promoting community participation, and strengthening families and neighborhoods.
Worboys (2003) and Hancock (2007) identify that the development of relationships within the collectives and across the community to other collectives both strengthened the continuing functioning and formation of new collectives. The enhancement of social networks in the community enabled the collectives to include more participants and help a larger number of people.
Fliert, Dilts and Pontius (2002); Campilan (2002) suggest that to design policies that are effective and sustainable, it is important to understand the process of social learning and to ensure a participatory process involving all stakeholders and providing them with ‘ownership’ of the problems and solutions. This will greatly enhance the sustainability of a collective activity.