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Waste is being generated by the humankind from the beginning itself like that of the animals they hunted for, bones, wood from trees etc..Its just that as the time passed, the composition and the amount of waste generated has shown a drastic change. The progress of civilization resulted in the generation of more complex nature of waste. The increasing industrialisation and consumerism from the 19th century resulted in pollution of earth by the burgeoning generation of non-biodegradable waste. The increasing population, then increasing demands, then increasing industrialisation is the cycle which is continuously adding to the non-biodegradable waste in the environment.
Classification of waste:
According to the source of generation, the solid waste can classified as:
Household waste or the municipal waste
Industrial waste or the hazardous waste
Biomedical waste or the infectious waste
Municipal waste- The municipal waste includes the household waste, construction debris and waste from the streets. The municipal solid waste generated has grown from 6million tonnes (in 1947) to 48 million tonnes (in 1997)! Shockingly, more than 1/4th of this waste is not collected at all and more than half of the cities in India do not have the adequate capacity to transport it and also many available landfills are not managed well and are also not inclined to safeguard the soil and groundwater from contamination. Also, some of the household waste can be hazardous like old batteries, paint tins, old medicines, etc.
A table showing the time taken by the waste to decompose:
Type of waste
Time taken to decompose (approx.)
Organic waste (Fruits, vegetables, etc.)
Metals (aluminium, tin, etc.)
Not yet determined!
Industrial waste- The industrial waste can be said to be hazardous since it can very often contain toxic substances. Such waste can be highly inflammable or explosive and can also react on exposure to certain things. Around 7 million tonnes of hazardous waste is generated in India mainly in the cities; Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The waste generated by industries is primarily metals, chemicals, paper, pesticides, dyes, etc.
Hospital waste- It refers to the waste generated during the diagnosis, treatment of human-beings or animals or that generated during the research activities undertaken in the field. This type of waste can be highly infectious and can result in serious damages to mankind if not managed properly in a scientific manner.
Such waste can be soiled waste, anatomical waste, sharps, chemical waste, discarded medicines, etc.
The government has enforced Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules,1998 for making the medical institutions to handle the waste properly.
Regarding the project:
Though the educational institutes do not burden the environment with waste as compared to the waste generated by other organisations, still they generate a significant amount of waste which can become difficult to manage without any expertise in the field. In fact, such waste can become even harmful if not handled properly. So, attention needs to be paid towards this and therefore we are undertaking this research project to find out the system of managing solid waste in SVC, to find the loopholes, problems or inefficiencies in the processes (if any) and to try to provide remedial solutions to such bottlenecks.
One of the main idea which seems apparent and emphasises the importance of this project is that the educational institutes seem to be generating waste primarily which is biodegradable in nature. Biodegradable waste is the waste which is of plant or animal or natural origin and can be broken down into simple compounds by microorganisms. It can be decomposed by the microorganisms ultimately. So it gets back into nature unlike the non-biodegradable waste which stays in the environment for an indefinite period of time (like plastic).
Campus administrator’s interview
We will be relying primarily on secondary source of data for this project since this source is likely to provide us a very precise and accurate information saving our time and cost of collecting primary first-hand information. We will also be observing the practices in the campus for some first-hand information and patterns on waste generation and we will also interview a sample of students from the campus to gather primary data.
Our source of secondary information is Mr. AT Sutar, Campus Administrator of SVC.
So we will collect information from Mr. AT Sutar through a personal interview and then collect data and analyse it to reach a specific conclusion about the state of waste management in the campus.
Some of the questions posed to Mr. AT Sutar in the interview were:
Q- What is the area of land occupied by the campus?
Q- What kind of waste is generated in the campus?
Q- How does the waste generated from different colleges differ in composition and volume?
Q- What is the procedure of collection of waste?
Q- How is the waste stored before it goes for its final treatment?
Q- How is the waste disposed off ultimately?
Q- Is there any waste which you think can be controlled?
Q- Is there any problem presently being faced in waste management?
Some important questions that we asked to the students were:
Q- What is the waste that you throw in the college dustbins?
Q- Is the waste generated by you constant or varies over time periods?
Q- Are there any specific factors which you think results in unnecessary increase in waste generation in SVC?
Q- What would be your views if the colleges take a decision to ban or restrict the use of non-biodegradable substances like polybags and thermocol in the campus (SVC)?
By the interview with Mr. AT Sutar & the students and our observation, we found the following information about the waste generated and its management procedure in SVC:
Type of waste generated:
Being an educational institute, the main type of waste generated is stationery which includes papers, pens, pencils etc. The quantity of such waste is the highest from Symbiosis Institute of Design (which is around 7-10 times the waste generated by any other institute) due to the nature of the subjects taught.
Food waste is also generated in a significant quantity from the campus’ cafeteria, juice centre and mess.
Further, the campus’ medical centre generates bio-medical waste which requires special treatment due to its harmful nature. Since the advanced medical treatments are not performed here, the bio-medical waste’s composition is limited to sharps, bandages etc. which is relatively east to handle vis-à-vis the waste of other medical institutions like hospitals.
But the amount of sharps and related waste also increases tremendously during the health check-up of the students at the campus which requires attention.
Other waste includes plastic, thermocole, glass, tin and also the decoration material and allied waste which is observed during the institutions’ fests and extra-curricular activities and competitions.
Our interviews with the students revealed the following additional information:
While eating in the mess, students initially take a good amount of food in their plates and sometimes a lot of this goes waste when they do not like its taste or when they become full. This results in food wastage.
Students also said the reason for increase in non-biodegradable waste in campus during college fests can be due to the use of decoration materials like thermacole and upon questioning whether they would be able to substitute them with the biodegradable substances, their reply was in positive which implies that there was non-awareness among them about the issue and they can be able to reduce non-biodegradable during fests if motivated to do so.
Sources of waste generation
Other general waste
Stationery, glass, tin, thermacole etc.
Food waste like unused food, leftover food, spoilt fruits and vegetables etc.
Sharps, bandages etc.
Campus cleaning, Xerox centre waste
Type of waste generated
The waste is collected through 3 big dustbins kept at each floor of every institution in the campus.
The cleaning staff has the responsibility of segregating the waste after it is collected in the dustbins.
Then this waste is accumulated in the basement after segregation for sending it to its place of disposal or treatment.
The biodegradable waste like food waste is sent to the biogas plant and the other waste which cannot be treated by the campus is sent with the PMC waste disposal truck which takes a round in Viman Nagar daily.
The biogas plant was established in the campus in 2005 with a cost of around 10 lakhs and is currently being operated by 3 specialist employees.
The capacity of the biogas plant is much more than is being utilised and the energy generated by the plant is being utilised for boiling the water which in turn is used for cleaning the utensils of the college’s mess and cafeteria.
The pressure generated of the biogas is very less which further creates less power/electricity. This implies that the biogas plant in the campus is being underutilised.
The problems identified by us are:
Excessive wastage of food by the students.
Significant increase in the generation of non-biodegradable waste during college fests & extra-curricular activities.
Underutilisation of biogas plant’s capacity.
We also didn’t recognize any recycling activity in the campus.
The wastage of food by the students can be reduced by inducing them to take food in little amounts and to take it again if they want rather than putting it altogether in one go in their plates.
Posters can also be put up regarding this in the college’s mess so that the students are reminded of it every time they are putting food in their plates.
During the college fests, students can be encouraged to reduce the use of non-biodegradable substances as far as possible.
Other substances like polybags and thermacole can be banned in the campus and fines can be imposed on any student found using them to strictly discourage their use.
Also, the biogas plant in the campus is being underutilised to a great extent. The plant gets input (biodegradable waste) to its full capacity occasionally during the college fests when the amount of waste generated is 3-4 times the waste generated during the normal college days. So the plant has an idle capacity of about half its full capacity during the maximum period of the year.
Further, we feel that the investment made in the plant is not yielding sufficient returns as the amount of power being generated is very less apparently due to the low capacity utilisation of the plant.
So, for tackling this issue, it is required that the plant is made to operate on its full capacity. Now this cannot be done by asking students to unnecessarily generate more waste within the campus but it can be solved by tying up with PMC and getting the required biodegradable waste from the PMC garbage truck which further reduces PMC’s waste processing load too.
Once the biogas plant starts operating on its full capacity, it will result in the generation of more power which can further be used in the college and save funds on electricity bills.
Further, to encourage recycling in the campus, students can be induced to form up clubs for the purpose of taking up the recycling activity (even if it’s on a small scale) and stimulating their creativity to generate the best creations out of the waste.
Also, the three R’s ideology can be of great help in guiding the waste management in SVC.
Improvement in waste management
Amount of waste generated
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