The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) notified the draft Hazardous Waste Substances (Classification, Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2011 on August 1 and invited suggestions, comments and objections from organisations or individuals within two months.
Many of the wastes from industry are classified as hazardous as per the Hazardous Wastes (MH&TM) Rules, 2008 enacted under Environment (Protection) Act 1986.In India, there are 36,000 hazardous waste generating industries, which generate 62,33,000 tonnes of hazardous wastes per annum. Fifty 50 per cent of this waste generated is recyclable, about 7 per cent is incinerable and 43.78 per cent is land disposable (Source: CPCB report, 2009).
One of the most common and scientific methods of disposal is landfill, or the placing of hazardous waste on or beneath the surface of ground to isolate the waste and leachates from the environment by putting in place an impermeable liner system and leachate collection and removal system.
A model of such a system is the Integrated Common Hazardous Waste Management Facilty at village Pali, Faridabad, developed by the Haryana Environmental Management Society, a representative organisation of many industries of Haryana, under the guidance of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board. It uses Canadian technology that combines secured landfill facility, solidification/stabilisation and incineration to treat hazardous wastes generated by various industrial units.
Landfill: The secured landfill at Pali is located in an abandoned stone-mine, with a 1,00,000 cu. m capacity, where about 1,40,000 tonnes of waste can be disposed of. Solidification Stabilisation Plant: The basic objective of the treatment is to reduce the pollutants' leaching potential by fixing them chemically or mechanically in such a form that contaminants/pollutants become less soluble. The process is used for hazardous wastes when the concentration of toxic constituent in respect of heavy metals, pH, and sulphur is above the prescribed limit for direct disposal.
Incineration facility: Incineration is a controlled combustion of waste at very high temperature followed by the cleaning and cooling of flue gases. The facility at Pali has a twin chamber, equipped with gas cleaning system. The capacity is about 2.5 million K.Cal. per hour.
Model plant: The ICHWMF has received about 8,500 tonnes of hazardous waste from 200-300 industrial units in Haryana. Of this, 4,500 tonnes have been placed in the landfill cell and the rest incinerated or used as alternative fuel.
This is a unique initiative wherein the generators of hazardous waste of Haryana came forward and formed a society, HEMS, to undertake treatment, storage and disposal of waste as per provisions of HW (MH&TM) 2008 Rules. However, this facility receives waste from only 200-300 industries of the 1,648 hazardous industries. The Pali plant is a model that other small industry groups could successfully emulate to ensure safe disposal of toxic wastes.
(The author is a former Chief Executive, Haryana Environmental Management Society.)