Assessment of Municipal Solid Waste management in Puducherry (Pondicherry), India

Assessment of Municipal Solid Waste management in Puducherry (Pondicherry), India

Resources, Conservation and Recycling 54 (2010) 512–520 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal home...

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Resources, Conservation and Recycling 54 (2010) 512–520

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal homepage:

Assessment of Municipal Solid Waste management in Puducherry (Pondicherry), India Swati Pattnaik, M. Vikram Reddy ∗ Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University, Kalapet, Puducherry 605014, India

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history: Received 29 January 2009 Received in revised form 26 September 2009 Accepted 13 October 2009 Keywords: Waste generation Characterization Segregation Collection Transportation Composting and vermi-composting Disposal

a b s t r a c t Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management is one of the most vital issues in the contemporary urban environments particularly in developing countries. Various aspects of MSW management in Puducherry, a small erstwhile French colony in Pondicherry Union Territory were assessed in order to improve the management practices. Its per capita generation rate and quantity in the city showed gradually increasing trend with passage of years. It was 265 tonnes/day (t/d) during 2003, which increased to 370 t/d in 2008, with a waste generation factor of 0.59 kg/capita/day. The sources of MSW classified into different categories and sub-categories showed domestic waste including kitchen waste, market waste, garden and agricultural waste, hospital waste, road and construction waste, sweeping and sanitary waste. Samples of MSW collected randomly from the main dumping yard at Karuvadikuppam in Puducherry, were categorized into biodegradable waste comprising 65% and non-biodegradable waste comprising 35%. MSW is dominated by yard waste (38.4%) followed by paper (30%) and plastics (10.4%) and the remaining 21.2% comprised of other waste. The municipalities in Puducherry adopted different methods such as doorto-door collection with segregation of garbage at source for effective MSW management. Composting of the organic waste included both aerobic composting and vermi-composting, and non-biodegradable waste was picked up and recycled for the final disposal of MSW. Awareness programs educating people regarding the problems as well as significance of MSW disposal were practiced through NGOs. However, it was found that there are some shortcomings in the existing MSW management practices, which need rectification. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction One of the important contemporary environmental problems in urban areas is huge generation of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (Buenrostro and Bocco, 2003; Pokhrel and Viraraghavan, 2005), which refers to the used and leftover materials comprising of household garbage including kitchen waste, street sweepings, sanitation residues, construction and demolition debris, commercial and industrial refuse and also biomedical solid waste (CPCB, 2000). Management of MSW is an important facet of environmental hygiene and encompassed planning, organization, administration, financial and legal aspects of various activities associated with generation, collection, transportation, storage, processing and disposal, i.e., management of the MSW in an environmentally compatible manner adopting principles of economy, aesthetics, energy and conservation (Tchobanoglous et al., 1993). Inappropriate and unscientific management of MSW aggravated different types of environmental pollution such as air, water including groundwater,

∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 413 2654 485; fax: +91 413 2655 987. E-mail address: [email protected] (M.V. Reddy). 0921-3449/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2009.10.008

and soil pollution, affecting public health with the waste forming the breeding ground for various disease-carrying vectors such as flies, mosquitoes, rats, and others (Kumar et al., 2009). Cities in developing countries hardly spend more than 0.5% of their per capita gross national productivity (GNP) on urban waste services, which covers only about one-third of overall cost (World Bank, 1999). Therefore, proper planning for primary and secondary collection and disposal of MSW has become crucial for ensuring a clean, healthy and pathogen-free urban environment. Generation of MSW refers to the quantity (weight or volume) of materials and products before recycling (including composting), landfilling, of waste. The quantity of generated solid waste mainly depends on population and people’s living standards (Grossmann et al., 1974; Wertz, 1976), income level (Medina, 1997), economic growth, consumption pattern and institutional framework. Generation of MSW is identified as an inevitable consequence of production and consumption activities related to the level of income and urbanization (Wang and Nie, 2001). The quantity and characteristics of MSW are two major factors, which are considered as the basis for the design of efficient, cost effective and environmentally compatible waste management system. Municipalities are moving towards integrated systems involving a number

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Fig. 1. Flow chart showing Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management in Puducherry.

of management techniques to maximize the recovery of resources from the waste. Socio-economic factors that have been said to influence MSW generation are persons per dwelling, their cultural patterns, education and attitudes (Al-Momani, 1994; Grossmann et al., 1974). There has been a significant increase in the generation of MSW in India over the past few decades with every day generation of about 0.1 million tonnes, which is approximately 36.5 million tonnes annually. The amount of MSW generated per capita is estimated to increase at a rate of 1.0–1.33% annually (Shekdar, 1999). Moreover, the MSW disposal issues have become challenging as more land is required for its disposal (Kumar et al., 2009). According to the Energy Research Institute (TERI) (New Delhi) the annual generation of MSW would be >260 million tonnes by 2050, which needs an additional area of 1400 km2 for its disposal, most of it in urban areas. It is essential to know the composition and characterization of MSW for implementing proper waste disposal and management plans and practices for recovery of resource and energy potentials

before deciding on the appropriate method of its disposal (Nilanthi et al., 2007; Yousuf and Rahman, 2007). Appropriate selection of waste processing technologies can be selected based on composition and characterization of MSW. The characteristics of MSW collected from any area depend on various factors such as consumer patterns, food habits, cultural traditions of inhabitants, lifestyles, climate, economic status, etc. Composition of urban waste is changing with increasing use of packaging material and plastics (CPCB, 2003). India, the world’s second highest populated country is considered as one of the fastest urbanizing countries with the annual growth rate of 3.09% of urban population. The proportion of population living in urban areas has increased from 17.35% in 1951 to 26.15% in 1991. Urban development in India has drawn a serious attention towards the areas of MSW management. The 23 metro cities in India generated about 30,000 tonnes of solid wastes per day while about 50,000 tonnes are generated daily from the Class I cities (i.e., with >1 lakh population) (CPCB, 1999; Kumar et al.,


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2009). The per capita solid waste generation rate increased with the size of the city and varied between 0.3 and 0.6 kg/day with record up to 0.5 kg/capita/day in metropolitan areas. The estimated annual increase in per capita waste quantity is about 1.33% per year. Indian municipalities therefore faced the challenge of reinforcing their available infrastructure for efficient management of MSW. Urban population growth and economic development are considered vital for MSW generation, as these factors not only accelerate consumption rates but also increase its generation (Alamgir et al., 2005). The growth of MSW generation has outpaced the growth of population in recent years, because of changes in the living standard of the people with increasing income levels, changing lifestyles, food habits and consumption patterns with mind-set of ‘use and throw’ of products. Solid waste management is one among the basic essential services provided by municipal authorities to keep urban centers clean, and there is a need to develop appropriate MSW management system in order to prevent future environmental health problems. The Union Territory of Pondicherry is predominantly urban covering a total area of 492 km2 comprising Puducherry (293 km2 ), Karikal (160 km2 ), Mahe (9 km2 ), and Yanam (30 km2 ) ( As of 2001 census, Pondicherry had a population of 973,829, out of which Puducherry comprising of 735,004 ( depts/ecostat/census/RESULTS.HTM). Puducherry city (Latitude 11◦ 56 N and Longitude 79◦ 53 E) located on the east coast of Indian peninsula about 160 km south of Chennai), was erstwhile French colony in India, having connections with France even now. It is the capital city of the Union Territory of Pondicherry encompassing a total area of 290 km2 and includes two municipalities—Puducherry and Oulgaret and five commune panchayats—Ariankuppam, Bahoour, Mannadipat, Nettapakkam and Villianur. Urban activities in the Puducherry include commercial and industrial development as well as rapidly expanding residential areas. Improved living standards of people in Puducherry due to its socio-economic development have lead to generation of enormous quantity of solid wastes. Puducherry is facing a crisis in MSW management with no suitable permanent site for either its dumping or an integrated scheme for its sustainable management (Dutta, 2008). However, information on the status of Municipal Solid Waste management of Puducherry is too little (Kumar et al., 2009). The existing practices and sources of segregation, primary and secondary collection including composition/characterization, disposal practices in Puducherry are schematically summarized in Fig. 1. The present paper attempted to provide an assessment of different aspects of MSW management practices in Puducherry. The main objectives of the study are as follows: • Assessment of waste generated. • Assessment of existing status of collection, transportation and segregation of waste. • Assessment of waste characteristics and disposal activities. • Assessment of present awareness programs. • Assessment and suggestions for suitable guidelines to enable the municipal authorities to formulate proper action plan for better MSW management. 2. Methods of MSW collection and analysis The methods followed for the waste collection are sourcespecific approach in which the individual components of the waste stream are sampled, sorted and weighed. This method is useful for defining a local waste stream (Purdy and Sabugal, 1999). The primary collection of MSW is the community bin collection sys-

tem, which comprised of its collection from different sources like residential areas and commercial areas and deposition in community bins located at street corners of the two municipalities. The waste generated in residences and commercial establishments was accumulated in plastic containers and disposed into the community bins that are of different makes such as RCC bins and metallic containers, which was followed by the secondary collection of its transportation to dumping sites by tractors and trucks (NEERI Report, 2005; Kumar et al., 2009). The dumping yard is waterlogged during heavy downpour period during south-west and north-east monsoon, which makes the MSW transportation difficult moving in the slush. The un-segregated and both infectious and non-infectious biomedical waste is also dumped in the dumping yard along with MSW. The efficiency of waste collection ranged from 50% to 90%, with some amount spillage during primary and secondary collection. The present system even does not function effectively, and the garbage piles up at various places including in the main market, because the tractors and trucks carrying the waste are unable to dispose the waste quickly. During the present study, six samples of waste each of about 10 kg were collected randomly from the dumping yard at Karuvadikuppam, the main MSW dumping yards of Puducherry (Fig. 3). Wastes were primarily categorized into biodegradable and nonbiodegradable components and further into various sub-categories. Each of the samples of waste of later category were segregated and categorized manually into various waste types like paper, plastic, metals and polythene bags, etc., put into plastic sacks and weighed to determine its fraction in the total MSW sample (Kumar et al., 2009); The weight of the container was subtracted to obtain the net component weight. The percentage of weight for each sub-category was calculated using the simple formula. PSW =

NWS × 100 TWS

where PSW is the percentage of the sub-category of waste, NWS is the net weight of the sub-category of waste in kg, and TWS is the total sample weight of the sample in kg. The compound samples of biodegradable waste were air dried and processed for physico-chemical analyses. The EC and pH of samples were determined by conductivity meter and pH meter, respectively. The OC of the samples was measured by Walkey–Black method; the total nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) contents of the samples were estimated by the Kjeldahl method, calorimetric and flame photometric method, respectively. The calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) contents of the samples were also determined following methodology of Jackson (1982). Heavy metals like lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu) and manganese (Mn) were also analyzed with the help of AAS. 3. Results and discussion 3.1. MSW sources The sources of MSW comprised of daily waste produced by households, market waste, business establishments and various government and educational institutions, while the others consisted of hazardous and non-hazardous waste from industrial areas and biomedical waste from hospitals. The sources were broadly classified into residential waste and non-residential waste (Fig. 1), the former including kitchen and household waste consisting mainly of vegetables and fruit peelings, soiled paper scarps, glass, bottles, tin canes and plastics and the latter including market waste, garden and agricultural waste, hospital waste, road and construction waste, sweeping and sanitary waste, which comprised, respectively, 40%, 10%, 8%, 2%, 30% and 10% (PPCC, 2007) (Fig. 4a). The non-residential waste also comprised of institutional

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increased with time. Moreover, the general trend of MSW generation in Thailand is increasing each year (Chiemchaisri et al., 2007). The increase in waste generation is strongly correlated with the increase in population growth (Alamgir et al., 2005; Kumar et al., 2009). Our findings further showed that in Pondicherry, population increase from 2000 to 2003 was 5.8% whereas waste generation increased by 103.8%. Generation of waste increased 39.6% with the population growth of 9.9% from 2003 to 2008. Population is expected to increase by 5.8% whereas increase in waste generation would be expected by 28.9% by 2011. It is predicted that waste generation would further increase by 55.34% with 15.16% increase in population growth from 2011 to 2020 (Fig. 2b). 4. Collection and segregation of MSW 4.1. Segregation of waste

Fig. 2. (a) Projection of waste generation by 2020 in Puducherry. (b) Projection of waste generation according to population growth in Puducherry.

waste consisting of non-biodegradable recyclable items—paper, card board, metals, plastic, etc. Most of the residential waste included in the category of non-hazardous wastes that pose little threat to human health and/or the environment. The biodegradable waste needs immediate attention as emanates bad odor. The sources of biomedical waste were 6 medical colleges and about 90 hospitals and clinics in Puducherry region. The MSW generation showed relationships between waste quantity and a broad set of individual characteristics or habits of the household, which are further related to factors like income, living standards and education level (Beigl et al., 2008; Kumar et al., 2009). 3.2. MSW generation The quantity of the MSW generation in Puducherry increased with time and was estimated 130 tonnes/day (t/d) during 2000 and 265 t/d during 2003 with the population 7,21,238 and 7,63,329, respectively. It increased to 370 t/d at present along with the population 8,39,008; it is likely to increase further in the coming years because of increased population due to rapid urbanization following industrialization. Based on the present and past generation, the predictions were computed (Fig. 2). The estimated quantity of total MSW generated by the present population (in the year 2009) of Puducherry municipality is about 215 t/d and that of Oulgaret municipality is about 155 t/d at present; with the total of about 370 t/d, and waste generation factor of 0.59 kg/capita/day. The proportion of waste increased gradually as the time passed (Fig. 2a). It is supported by earlier report (Xiao et al., 2007) that discussed about the slow increased trend of organic and recycling waste from 1991 to 2003 in Beijing. Our findings are also in consistent with the findings of Yousuf and Rahman (2007) where the total waste generation included business waste, street waste and domestic waste

The Puducherry municipality has started segregation solid waste at the source in residential localities in some of its areas since 2005. As of now, source segregation is being done only in a few wards of the municipality. The source segregation was planned within 8 wards of Puducherry municipality to begin with, and in 11 wards of Oulgaret. In Puducherry, the Shuddham a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) started the solid waste management program with door-to-door collection of waste educating people for source segregation. Municipalities in Pondicherry have started implementing the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 and began to door-to-door collection in many places and it is set to embark on segregation of MSW at source. According to MSWM Rules, garbage should be stored in houses in three types of bins—the green one for biodegradable waste, the white bin for recyclable waste and the black bin for other waste. However, the households have been told to segregate the waste at source into biodegradable waste and nonbiodegradable waste. These wastes were collected twice a week. The segregated biodegradable waste transported through tractors to the composting yard near the New Lighthouse at Vambakeerapalayam. 4.2. Primary collection The average collection efficiency for MSW in Indian cities is about 72.5% and 70% of the cities lack adequate waste transport capacities (TERI, 1998; Kumar et al., 2009). NGOs like ‘Shuddham’ have been involved in making arrangements for waste collection from households leading to improvement in local street cleanliness, introducing door-to-door collection in a few areas. Puducherry municipality practiced the community bin system, with the primary collection of non-residential wastes through street sweeping as well as temporary storing in cement dustbins placed in street corners. Municipal women sanitary staff sweeps the road and collects the waste in hand carts and baskets daily and in many cases, the householders throw their waste into the roadside gutters for clearance by the municipal sweeping crew (Kumar et al., 2009). The frequency of waste collection is once a day mostly in the early morning hours. About 500 dustbins are placed at street corners in residential areas for collection of wastes. Even where storage arrangements are conveniently located, wastes tend to be strewn around the storage area, partly due to indiscipline and partly as a result of scavenging of the wastes by rag-pickers and stray dogs and crows. Due to the absence of adequate storage capacity, the waste is also dumped on the roadsides. Handcarts are used by the staff for the collection of trashes from the markets. The waste is also dumped in some of the low-lying areas, the so-called landfills of the municipalities.


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4.3. Secondary collection Transportation of MSW is commonly carried out by the vehicles like tractors and trucks. The municipalities have also acquired two power-operated vehicles to transport the waste; however, these vehicles are not closed type. The MSW, both residential and non-residential are loaded manually into the vehicles and transported to the disposal site. Plans are afoot to purchase modernized vehicles like garbage dumper-placers and compactors for transportation of garbage to the dumping yard; a new one being located on a 23-acre site at Kurumampet near the new lighthouse. On special occasions and as and when necessary, shift system is followed to clear the accumulated garbage. Puducherry municipality also involved civic workers as well as private players for collection and transportation, with the more roles of private players in primary and secondary collection (personal communication, Puducherry Municipality authorities). Private contractors are also involved in the removal of garbage in five selected wards in Nellithope constituency belonging to Oulgaret municipality. The work done by these private contractors is more effective and satisfactory than that of municipality involved in the removal of garbage.

5. Characterization and disposal 5.1. Physical characteristics It was found that about 65% constitute biodegradable type and the rest 35% comprise non-biodegradable fraction (recyclable) of the total MSW (Fig. 1). The waste of Puducherry included polythene bags, metal and aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, old papers, scrap metals, food waste and garden waste. There were primarily waste paper, packaging material, cans, bottles, polythene bags, peanut shells, etc., from the shops, government offices and commercial establishments. Apart from this construction wastes like debris, rubbles, and horticulture waste (dry leaves), waste from slaughterhouses and vegetable waste from markets are also included. The biomedical waste generated was nearly 115 tonnes in solid form and 16 kl in liquid form per month. Of this, 72% waste was from medical colleges, 15% from Government General Hospital, 9% from maternity hospital and 4% from private hospitals. In fact, 75–80% of the waste generated from hospitals was general waste and the remaining was bio-hazard waste. The biomedical waste is also disposed illegally in some of the MSW dumping sites. The detailed analysis of composition of MSW of Puducherry revealed that it is dominated by yard waste (38.4%) followed by paper (30%) and plastics (10.4%), remaining 21.2% comprise of other waste (Fig. 4b). The findings are in consistence with those of Visvanathan et al. (2004) that the solid waste composition in most Asian countries is highly biodegradable, mainly composed of an organic fraction comprising mostly of food waste, and the remaining of paper, rubber/leather, wood/grass, metal, plastic/foam, glass and textiles. Xiao et al. (2007) showed that food waste comprises the highest proportion followed by plastic and paper in Beijing. Yousuf and Rahman (2007) also showed food and vegetable wastes as the dominant portion in waste mostly coming from residential and commercial areas, while the quantity of paper, plastics, rubber and wood were comparatively very low due to the daily recycling. Chanakya et al. (2007) showed fermentable fraction (fruit and vegetable waste) (72%) occupied a highest portion in waste followed by paper (11%), dust and sweepings (6.5%) and plastics and polythene (6.2%) in Bangalore. The organic (biodegradable) portion was high in waste stream of Srilanka, followed by paper, plastic, glass and metal (Nilanthi et al., 2007). Its average moisture content, pH, electric conductivity and temperature were, respectively, 45%, 6.5, 268.1 mho/cm and 31 ◦ C. Moisture content of 50–60% of

Table 1 Chemical composition (%) of MSW and market waste (MW) of Puducherry. Chemical components (%)



Organic carbon (OC) Nitrogen (N) C/N ratio Phosphorus (P) C/P ratio Potassium (K) Calcium (Ca) Magnesium (Mg)

68.42 0.34 201.2 0.19 360.1 0.12 0.43 0.09

79.64 0.45 177.0 0.25 318.5 0.18 0.62 0.17

the total weight of waste is considered ideal for the developing countries, which is contradictory to our study (Diaz et al., 1993; Yousuf, 2005). Moisture content of waste was around 55–70% in Thialand (Chiemchaisri et al., 2007). Higher moisture content indicates the possibility of the development of anaerobic conditions in the disposal site, which causes obnoxious odor and quicker rotting. 5.2. Chemical characteristics The major chemical component of the MSW of Pondicherry is the organic carbon that constituted around 68.42%. The other components present in the waste include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc. The nutrient contents were found to be higher in market waste than those of MSW (Table 1). The higher C/N ratio indicates slow process of decomposition of waste (Yousuf and Rahman, 2007). On the other hand, the heavy metals—Zinc (Zn), Cadmium (Cd) and Copper (Cu)—were found in higher concentrations in the MSW than that of market waste (MW), whereas lead (Pb) and manganese (Mn) were higher in MW compared to that of MSW (Table 2). The plastics when broken in garbage dumps release chemicals including Pb and Cd. 5.3. Disposal In many areas that fall under the Puducherry and Oulgaret municipalities, unfortunately there was no proper system to collect and dispose the MSW in a sustained manner. As a result the residents were compelled to dump garbage on the road and in low-lying vacant plots making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents. This also has led to cattle and stray dog menace, and chocked the sewerage canals causing flooding during raining. Illegal dumping has become rampant and municipality authorities are turning a blind eye. If it not tackled effectively and without any delay, it can assume dangerous proportions, and pollute the water bodies causing serious environmental problems. The MSW disposed in the open dumping yards is without any specific treatment. Every day the waste from the market areas is directly carried out into Thengathittu dumping yard and that from residential areas to Karvadikuppam yard, leading to a huge accumulation of garbage (Fig. 3). However, this dumping yard is located adjacent to the Puducherry airport and the government plans to make it operational in near future; thus, requiring to find an alternative dumping site immediately. Moreover, it has become a perennial problem to find a suitable dumping site for the administration due to non-availability of larger dumping Table 2 Heavy metals (ppm) of MSW and MW of Puducherry. Heavy metals (ppm)



Lead (Pb) Zinc (Zn) Cadmium (Cd) Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn)

5.587 24.812 0.489 4.385 22.912

10.976 18.235 0.324 2.576 41.265

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recycling reusable materials recovered by rag-pickers for selling. However, the waste burning by the rag-pickers is common in the dumping grounds for easy rag picking resulting smoke nuisance; it also reduced the volume of the waste (Diaz et al., 1997; Kumar et al., 2009). With the JNNURM grant, 40% of the garbage generated would be converted into compost, 20% of plastic waste would be processed into Refused Derived Fuel, and another 20% of garbage constituting inert material would be converted into bricks while the remaining is to be dumped at sanitary land fills inside the yard. The PASIC (Pondicherry Agro Services & Industries Corporation Ltd.), an autonomous public sector corporation has started to produce compost and vermi-compost with the biodegradable waste and processing of waste that can be recycled (Fig. 1). Producing value added products from waste like vermi-compost and bricks creating employment opportunities for youth would bring out a sustainable solution of MSW management Fig. 3. Municipal Solid Waste dumped at the major dumping site, Karuvadikuppam in Puducherry.

yards and opposition from local residents (Dutta, 2008). Nevertheless, the Local Administration Department of Puducherry has earmarked about 23 acres of land at Kurumbapet to dispose MSW being generated in Puducherry (Pondicherry Pollution Control Committee—PPCC, 2007) (Fig. 4). The major constraints found in waste disposal are lack of adequate space, objection from the nearby residents for dumping of waste, non-cooperation from public in inefficient or little segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste at the source. Several proposals were mooted by the Local Administration to have an integrated solid waste management program on a 22-acre land at Kurumbapet. With the recent sanction of grants from the Union Government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for implementing solid waste management program in Oulgaret and Puducherry municipalities, the dumping yard at Kurumbapet is going to be established to dispose MSW. The main disposal methods in practice are composting including vermi-composting the biodegradable waste, and

Fig. 4. (a) Source of MSW: DW—domestic wastes including kitchen waste; MW—market waste; GAW—garden and agricultural waste; HW—hospital waste; RCW—road and construction waste; SSW—sweeping and sanitary waste at Puducherry (Source: PPCC, 2007). (b) Physical characteristics of MSW at Puducherry: Pl—plastics; Ru & Le—rubber and leather; Te—textiles; Me—metals; Pa—paper; FW—food waste; Gl—glass; YW—yard waste; Wo—wood.

5.3.1. Composting Aerobic composting is a technology or quick disposal of garbage, and a desirable recycling process because of considerable portion of MSW is biodegradable material and with high moisture content. It decomposes organic waste, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, with bacteria and fungi and innumerable meso-fauna such as mites and collembola, producing a humus-like substance. With proper control of moisture, temperature and aeration, a composting plant can significantly reduce the volume of the raw organic portion of MSW. MSW Handling Rules, 2000 under Schedule 1 suggest installation and commissioning of such processing plants (Kumar et al., 2009). The compost production plant used nearly 75 tonnes of garbage generated daily in Oulgaret municipality limits and the compost generated at the end of the processing is being marketed. A total of 200 tonnes of garbage were subjected to composting process and a total of 15,000 tonnes of urban compost are planned to be obtained per annum. The compost is being sold at Rs. 1520/- (US $ 31.00) per tonnes and already 5000 tonnes has been marketed through various subsidy schemes. The PASIC has been selling the manure in Pondicherry Union Territory region. A marked reduction in the bulk mass of organic fraction of MSW was recorded due to the composting and vermi-composting; it was higher in the latter ranging from 40% to 65% compared to that of compost, which was only 20% (Pattnaik and Reddy, 2009). It clearly showed the marked stabilization of MSW due to vermi-composting (Bhatia, 2007). The decomposition rate of biodegradable portion of wastes like vegetables leftover foodstuff, and fruit peels, according to the Energy Research Institute (New Delhi), is 1–2 weeks; 10–30 days for paper, 2–5 months cotton cloth, about a year for woolen items and 10–15 years wood. Decomposition rate of nonbiodegradable portion of wastes like tin, aluminum, and other metal items is very slow and may range from 100 to 500 years and may be more than one million years for plastics. 5.3.2. Vermi-composting The Puducherry government is planning to adopt vermicomposting using the exotic African earthworm, Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinberg), as a method of management of organic portion of MSW by involving women self-help groups and NGOs, and setting up of vermi-composting units in a decentralized way instead of having a centralized yard, generating manure of potentially high economic value as it is rich of macro-nutrients such as N, P and K and plant growth hormone like substances, which can be applied in agricultural field to enhance productivity. Moreover, it is a pathogen-free product as most of the pathogenic bacteria present in MSW are killed while passing through the earthworm’s gut during the vermicomposting process. Earthworms also play a significant role in detoxifying the polluted MSW as they have the ability to accumulate heavy metals present in the waste (Pattnaik and Reddy,


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2009). The Puducherry municipality transported the green waste from the vegetable markets to process the same for composting and vermi-composting. The municipality implemented a pilot project of Asia Urbs (European partnership program between Pondicherry and two European towns) in association with a French agency for environment ‘ADEME’ of France and Italy, and it is expected to solve problem of managing the organic portion of MSW. The PASIC has started manufacturing compost and vermi-compost from biodegradable MSW generated in the Puducherry. About 15 tonnes of waste generated at the vegetable section of the grand bazaar market, is segregated daily and sent to the vermi-composting yard. The vermi-compost is used in the land-scaping, and is also marketed. 5.3.3. Recycling Mixing of waste at the source made separation of much of the waste difficult at the dumping site. Segregation of waste at source is in fact useful for recovery and recycling of reusable materials. However, there are no separate bins exclusively for the collection of recyclable waste like paper, plastic, tin, glass, etc. (Kumar et al., 2009). Recycling is the process of separating from the waste having some economic values. EPA defines recycling as a series of activities that include collecting post-consumer materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing them into raw materials, and manufacturing raw materials into new products. Almost all garbage (except hazardous materials) that is picked up separately by rag-pickers in Puducherry become a resource that is recycled. The recyclable portion of waste like plastics, glass, etc., is resorted out by rag-pickers who earn their daily livelihood selling these materials. 5.3.4. Disposal of biomedical waste While the general waste like paper is dumped along with municipal waste, the bio-hazard waste collected in yellow bags placed in every ward of the government hospitals was incinerated every day. Sharp waste like syringes and needles are separately collected and put in deep pit at a landfill at Gorimedu dumping site. It has been reported by the Director of Health of Pondicherry that 96% of the biomedical waste is disposed using incinerators while the rest gives the wastes to the municipality. There are several small clinical units and laboratories that dispose their wastes along with household wastes, which are dumped sometimes in low-lying areas as there are no appropriate landfills. Most of the hospitals have primary treatment facilities like microwaving/autoclaving, in addition to their own incinerators. Eight medical institutions/hospitals in the Pondicherry possessed incinerators. Most of the incinerators are pyrolytic with dual chambers and with light diesel oil, 100 feet chimney and venture scrubber as air pollution control system. The hospital waste needs to be carefully regulated, so that it does not become a public health problem. However, it was observed that the biomedical waste was mixed the MSW, probably because of lack awareness 6. Awareness programs Puducherry municipality is in the process of adopting various scientific methods for effective solid waste management from segregated collection of garbage at source, transportation and disposal. Plans are also afoot to conduct awareness program involving NSS volunteers, self-help group members, and residential association members to make the people understand the problem of MSW disposal and involve them in solid management programs. Attempts are being made to conduct awareness programs to disseminate information to public, provide adequate community storage facilities, use colored bins and promote waste segregation, transport of wastes in covered vehicles, process waste by adopting appropriate combination of composting, up-grade the existing dump sites and

dispose the inert wastes in sanitary landfills. These awareness programs are being conducted through door-to-door campaign, rallies and films, hoardings, competition for schoolchildren, and through distribution of pamphlets. An integrated solid waste management program of Rs. 50-crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is close to be implemented by the Local Administration Department. 7. Drawbacks in present SWM management in Puducherry Some of the major deficiencies found in the management of municipal wastes in Puducherry are as follows. The MSW management system is unscientific. There is no practice of storing the waste at source in a scientifically segregated manner. Citizens are not educated properly to keep separate bins for domestic, trade, and institutional waste for storage at source and stop littering on the streets. Establishment of storage facilities like garbage bins or other facilities are insufficient and their operation is far from satisfactory. Insufficient number of these bins and their small size makes frequent lifting necessary; otherwise spillage of waste is noticed. The collection bins used in various places are not properly designed. It has been observed that community bins have hardly been installed at proper location. This has resulted in poor collection efficiency. The system of primary collection and segregation from the source of waste generation is hardly sustainable. The waste discharged here and there though collected by municipal sanitation workers through street sweeping, littering of garbage due to improper secondary collection leads to unhygienic living conditions. Lack of cooperation from the public is also noticed. Vehicles used for transportation of waste to the disposal site, however, are not designed as per requirement. Proper garages are not provided to protect the vehicles from sun and rain; and preventive maintenance system is not adopted as a result of which the life of the vehicle is reduced. Many of the vehicles used for transportation of waste have outlived their normal life. The collected waste from the municipality is either burnt or just dumped in the low-lying areas and open landfills without processing and taking any precautions. Solid waste workers handle the waste without any protective equipment and are prone to infection. Incineration has not been successful due to the low calorific value of the solid waste. 8. Suggestions for MSW management Systematic planning and implementation are needed for a satisfactory and sustainable management of MSW in Puducherry. The Reduction, Reuse and Recovery/Recycle (3Rs) strategy can be used for waste minimization. Reduction activities should be carried out at the source, which include backyard composting of yard trimmings, or reuse of products and materials that reduce the amount of waste before they enter the MSW management system. Recovery of materials, the process of removing MSW from the waste stream can be done for recycling (including composting and vermi-composting). Materials of MSW such as glass, paper, plastic, and metals can be recycled and reused commercially in various manufacturing and industrial processes, which reduce burden on natural resources (NEERI, 1995). Proper segregation of the waste shows the way to better options and opportunities for scientific disposal of waste. The waste should be segregated mainly into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components at three different stages of the collection process, i.e., at source prior to collection, by the crews of the collection vehicle and by the rag-pickers at the dumpsite (Chiemchaisri et al., 2007). Non-biodegradable and recyclables waste could be transported to recycling units, which in turn, may be of economic value to the municipality; it may generate employment and income. Door-to-door collection by containerized

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handcart/tricycle as suggested by MSW (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 should be initiated in more residential areas and supported by public awareness campaigns (Kumar et al., 2009). Separate collection of wet and dry components of waste should be encouraged. One of the immediate measures to revamp the existing collection service structure is to provide community waste bins conveniently placed for the people to deposit their domestic waste. It would ensure that people do not throw their garbage on the roads. The waste needs to be transported in covered vehicles. The biomedical waste including hazardous waste should be carried strictly in separate vehicles. Such waste consisting of human body parts, body fluids, etc., has to be incinerated, but for other categories of such waste, methods like microwaving and autoclaving may be applied. The current practices of dumping the waste in low-lying areas need to be discontinued. A proper plan should be developed for sanitary landfilling. Increases in allocation of funds for better MSWM activities in Puducherry would be appreciable. Municipalities in Puducherry have started implementing the National policy and legislation for MSW management—the ‘Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules’ issued by the Government of India in exercise of its power under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986 notified in 2000 with an implementation schedule (MoEF, 2000). As per the Rules, the garbage should be stored in houses in three bins—the green one for biodegradable waste, the white bin for recyclable waste and the black bin for other waste. However, people showed little interest in buying separate bins; thus the municipality has sought sponsorship by banks and private industries. Some of the branches of different banks such as State Bank of India, Indian Bank and Canara Bank have agreed to supply the bins. These efforts may avoid littering of streets and deliver waste in accordance with the delivery system notified by the respective civic body and that of ‘The Rules’.

9. Conclusions Many shortcomings were found in the current practices of MSW management in Puducherry. These pertain mainly to inadequate human and financial resources, and machinery to effectively carry out various activities of MSWM. A problem-solving action plan incorporating strategies and guidelines has to be defined to overcome the deficiencies in the existing MSWM systems. The government of Puducherry needs to come up with a holistic approach on waste management by collecting the segregated waste at source, characterization and processing the waste for producing value added products. Based on the data collected and the assessment carried out, it is necessary to initiate improvement measures. Its domestic households contributed to major portion of the total MSW generated, in addition to waste from commercial establishments and waste from hospitals and hotels; street sweepings and construction activities. Composition of the waste changed with increasing use of packaging material that can be recovered by rag-pickers. Composting including vermi-composting of organic portion of waste and recycling and reuse of nonbiodegradable portion of waste were the main cost effective and environment-friendly waste disposal methods that are in practices now. Awareness program and community based waste management system through participation of local people would be the useful tool in the MSW management in Puducherry. Monitoring of generation, characterization and assessment of physical and chemical characteristics of the waste is needed, as per provisions made in MSW (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, for improved and holistic MSW management by the municipality authorities.


Acknowledgement The University Grants Commission (New Delhi) funded the research in the form of a Major Research Project that included a Project Fellowship awarded to Ms. SP.

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