Aagla-Wegla E-waste Drive: Utilizing The E-waste for A Better Future

The world of electronics has progressed to a great extent since its inception in the early 20th century. This transformation has given rise to the digital technology, which eventually has made us dependent on different electronic  products. You’ll be often wondering that how does this contribute to the waste factors. Well almost every individual has now acquired devices like mobile, laptop, music player, etc. These things become outdated very early because today an individual has a lot varieties to purchase as per the needs.  Therefore, these unused and outdated electronic products are referred as Electronic waste/E-waste.

With the advancement in technology, a city like Pune is now a major landmark of IT industry and automobile manufacturers. It is the need of the hour for every Punekar to be aware of what these technological trails leave behind. After a detail study of reusable and recyclable electronic products, Janwani has started the E-waste collection drive since 2013. These drives are now conducted as part of the zero-garbage campaign named ‘Aagla Wegla’ in association with Cummins India Ltd.

What is an E-waste drive?

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Aagla-Wegla’s E-waste drive poster

The collection of unused and outdated electronic products and handing it over to the formal sector of E-waste dismantler and recyclers is called an E-waste drive. Punekars, never give away your E-waste to the scrap dealers or any other informal sectors. It is because, Government of India has introduced a License of E-waste management through which only a skilled and knowledgeable organization or an individual can collect, dismantle and recycle the E-waste.

How it is conducted?

The team of Aagla-Wegla, Cummins India Ltd and PMC officials conduct a meeting with the Chairman/Head of the housing society, School and commercial sectors to organize an E-waste drive. After their approval, a door to door campaign along with pamphlet distribution of E-waste awareness is initiated prior to the E-waste collection.

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Photo Caption: Member of Team Aagla-Wegla Conducting door to door E-waste awareness campaign at Dhayari in Pune.

The Aagla-Wegla E-waste drive is also supported by Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) and it is conducted with respect to three categories:

1. Housing societies

2. School

3. Commercial Sectors (Shops and Offices)

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Photo Caption: E-waste awareness at commercial electronic shops on JM Road in Pune.

So, if you feel that your society, office or home consists of E-waste, then do contact us to organize an E-waste drive. Residents, students and or professionals are expected to participate in this drive. They are encouraged to hand over dysfunctional electronic items to the team members of Aagla Wegla present at the respective society, schools, or commercial offices or complex.

 The Utilization of E-waste

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E-waste donation by residents of Kharadi in Pune.

 Everyone has got one common question about how and where do we utilize this E-waste?? Here is the answer, after the collection, the reusable materials are sent to Cummins and the recyclable materials are send to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board(MPCB). On the other hand, Cummins also refurbishes the reusable materials and donates it to the needy ones. Since the inception of Aagla-Wegla’s E-waste drive, there is a total collection of more than 15 tonnes. Whereas the collection of 2016 itself is 10 tonnes and counting.

Advantage of giving away your E-waste to Aagla-Wegla

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Collection E-waste in Dhanori by Members of team Aagla-Wegla and Cummins India Ltd.

Aagla-Wegla hands over the collected E-waste to the licensed dismantler and recycler through which an E-waste donor is indirectly bringing a social change. Most of the E-waste has a high economic value and if properly dismantled it can replace the raw materials for new production. Platinum is the most common element found in every electronic product. It can be extracted very well only if the E-waste is dismantled in a proper manner. Similarly, E-waste also consists of hazardous metals, radioactive elements and chemicals that are extremely dangerous to the living species. Giving away your E-waste to Aagla-Wegla assures that your donation is in safe hands which will be further utilized for the productive purposes.

-Filed and Photos by Omkar Nikam

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How Waste Pollutes Rivers…

Over the past few years, India has seen its rivers deteriorate. Many of them have lost their natural flow and ecosystem. Urbanization has lead to heavy water pollution leaving the rivers in a severely bad position. We can take a look at the degree of damage done to the rivers by closely observing Mula-Mutha rivers from Pune.

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Accumulation of mixed waste at Mutha river located in the central part of Pune city.

Photo Source: https://jeevitnadi.wordpress.com/tag/mula-mutha/

Did you know the following facts about our rivers?

The dissolved oxygen (DO) levels of the rivers Mula-Mutha have been lowered to as much as 0.4 mg/l. (According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), DO for a healthy river is 2 mg/l) This means that the rivers are drying up!

Pollution of these rivers is so severe that Mutha has earned second position in Methane generating potential in the state!The diversity of native fish species, in both Mula and Mutha rivers, has gone down significantly due to pollution and loss of habitat.

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The consistent dumping of waste in Mutha river is degrading the environment and making water undrinkable for living species.

This is the current situation of our rivers! There are various factors which are responsible for it, such as, the untreated sewage and industrial waste getting into the water, dumping construction debris in the riverbed, dumping garbage in the rivers etc. As every individual factor needs separate attention, let’s focus on one aspect- dumping solid waste in the rivers. 

Rivers- The Dumping Ground

A sight of the river full of plastic bags, bottles, cans and other trash is very common if you travel along the river in the city. The stretch of Mula river, till it meets Pavana river, has been polluted mostly by domestic waste, i.e sewage, garbage dumped in the river and construction waste in some parts. The growth of algae blooms and water hyacinth support this fact.

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A resident dumping waste in the river system in Pune city.

Residents have also very well been seen to dump the Nirmalaya (The floral offerings to the god) into the river. First of all, we need to understand that the river is not a place to dump the garbage. It needs to go the public dust bins or handed over to the waste pickers, who collect it from our homes. Secondly, we need to learn to segregate the waste. The nirmalya (Wet waste) is wrapped in a plastic bag (Dry waste) and then thrown into the river by many. This kind of mixed waste proves to be even more dangerous for the health of the river. Every kind of waste has its own way ahead. We need to understand that. After all the health of city is much affected by the health of its river.

Construction Debris finding its way in the rivers

As per the number in 2012, about 100 tons of debris including concrete, bricks, cement plaster and iron, is generated in Pune every-day. The illegal dumping of such construction rubble in the riverbeds and hills has continued in the city, as admits the environment status report of the PMC. In many cases, the debris is dumped in the green belt of the river, affecting its natural flow.

 Adverse Effects of Dumping Construction Debris in the Rivers

Dumping of the construction debris is responsible for obstructing the flow of water. This damages the width and banks of the river. It severely jeopardizes its inherent water carrying capacity. This can lead to serious flooding problems in monsoons in the surrounding houses. It also affects the diversity of native fish species due to the loss of habitat.

Depletion of Oxygen in the Stream

The waste thrown in the rivers increases the BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) and COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) levels in the rivers. BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a water body to break down organic material present in it. COD is a measure of the capacity of water to consume oxygen during the decomposition of organic matter and the oxidation of inorganic chemicals such as ammonia and nitrite.

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The organic waste matter pollution in the Mutha river

The greater the BOD or COD, the more rapidly oxygen is depleted in the stream. This means less oxygen is available to higher forms of aquatic life. As a result, the aquatic organisms become stressed, suffocate, and die.

Other Harmful Effects of Dumping Waste into the Rivers

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Human settlements along the banks of Mutha river are extremely affected by the increasing water pollution.

All the pollutants can seep down and affect the groundwater deposits. The polluted water also carries diseases which can harm human health.

Waste Segregation at source: A key to cleaner river and city

We need to be aware and alert! This is the time we should understand the importance of keeping the rivers clean. If we segregate the waste at our homes and give it to the waste pickers in a segregated form, there would not be any need to throw waste anywhere else. If everybody makes segregation a habit, our city and rivers will be clean and safe!  Let us swear to segregate the waste and throw it at the right place!

-Filed by Vaishnavi Sambhus

References-

http://www.butlerms.com/index.php/blog/customer-questions/213-what-is-the-difference-between-cod-and-bod

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-residents-protest-dumping-of-debris-in-pune-s-ramnadi-1519292

https://www.ysi.com/parameters/biochemical-oxygen-demand-bod

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/dying-rivers-of-pune-part-i-untreated-sewage-garbage-define-mula-mutha-4474556/

http://seriecotech.com/blog/?p=478

From Waste to Energy: Sweden’s Innovative Waste Management System

We are quite familiar with the concept of generating energy from water or wind.  How about generating energy from garbage? It sounds interesting and promising, right? There are many ways of managing the waste wisely. Producing energy through garbage incineration is one of those which prove to be sustainable, safe and smart.

Sweden, over the past few decades has developed the method of energy production from the waste. With an annual generation of 463 kg of household waste per person, Sweden recycles and generates energy from 99 percent of its garbage. Let’s have a look at Sweden’s various waste management strategies.

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 Gamla Stan, an oldest town of Stockholm in Sweden

Photo Source: http://www.wallpapers13.com/gamla-stan-stockholm-sweden-wallpaper-hd/

How the Waste Management Works

Sweden has implemented the basic strategy of segregating the waste (wet and dry) at source. This technique increases the amount of materials to be recycled and reused. Once the garbage is completely sorted, it can be then utilized for various energy generation and recycling purposes.

Volunteers in fluorescent jackets stand behind wheelie bins sorting waste at Glastonbury festival

Waste industry dividing the segregated garbage into hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Photo Source: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/less-than-1-of-swedish-trash-ends-up-in-a-landfill/

 Waste Segregation: The Basic Step

How is the segregation process managed at different levels? There is a systematic plan of waste related responsibilities allotted to different sections of the society. Let’s have a look at this management system:

1. Municipality: Any type of waste from households, restaurants, shops, offices, etc. is to be collected by municipality. They also hold the responsibility to transport it to the treatment plants. Besides, every municipality has its own waste and sanitation ordinance consisting of various rules and regulations.

2. Households: Households follow the rules implemented by municipality. Their responsibility is to segregate their own garbage and deposit it at the available collection point.

3. Businesses and Other Waste Producers:The commercial industries related to the products like cars, electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc. are solely responsible for collecting and disposing off the waste that has been generated in the process. Additionally, they also have the responsibility to dispose of their end products in an appropriate way. This encourages the industries to produce more eco-friendly and recyclable materials which are economically viable.

Waste Treatment Methods

Depending on the type of waste and currently available technology, the treatment methods are divided into four categories:

1. Material Recycling

2. Biological Treatment

3. Energy Recovery

4. Landfill

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Transporting compressed paper waste to the recycling units.

Photo Source: https://sweden.se/nature/the-swedish-recycling-revolution/

The material recycling method puts the recyclable garbage again into use and reduces the cost of new production. The biological treatment includes the method of composting. The compost is used to increase the fertility of the soil.  Energy production from waste is one of the most important methods of garbage treatment in Sweden. Over 52 percent of the total waste is used for energy generation. Only 1 percent of the waste goes to landfill which is not recyclable or which can be stored for a longer period of time.

Waste as a resource

Most of the household waste in Sweden is burnt and then transformed into an energy resource. Over 2,70,000 tons of household waste from Sweden is utilized for generation of energy.

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A typical waste to energy generation plant in Sweden

Photo Source: https://www.buzzworthy.com/sweden-good-recycling-import-trash/

The first incineration plant was set up at Stockholm in 1904. Currently, there are 32 incineration plants in Sweden. They produce heat for 8, 10,000 households and electricity for 2,50,000 private houses. Since 1970, Sweden has been successful in saving the fuels and has reduced the carbon emission by 90 percent. The annual generation of energy from waste in Sweden is equal to 1.1 million cubic meters of oil. This reduces carbon emission by 2.2 million tons per year which is identical to the emission of 6,80,000 petrol-powered cars.

What we need to learn from Sweden

By generating energy from garbage incineration, Sweden has proved that waste is a much more than a recyclable material. This approach is a testimony to the innovative and evolving face of waste management industries. Sweden started its journey towards zero garbage with the method of segregating the garbage at source and now, they are progressing towards a sustainable future.  We too can progress towards a clean and a healthy future! Let’s join our hands together and let’s take the necessary steps!

-Filed by Omkar Nikam

References

https://www.naturvardsverket.se/Documents/publikationer/620-1249-5.pdf

https://sweden.se/nature/the-swedish-recycling-revolution/

http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Documents/publikationer6400/978-91-620-6560-7.pdf

A Day in the Life of a Waste Picker

The waste management process of a city is a summation of many different factors. E-waste management, composting, landfill sites etc. are the ones which are being talked about the most. However, we mostly forget about one of the key factors of this process, i.e. the waste pickers. They form a very important and inevitable part of the whole process of waste management.

Girija Kasbe, a waste picker working in Dhankawadi, Pune is a member of SWaCH.  She not only collects the segregated waste from every house, but also encourages and makes people aware about the importance of segregated garbage. “Every individual of Pune should be aware about the harmful effects of mixed waste. The real change begins when people themselves start segregating waste at source”, says Kasbe. Let’s have an insight into Kasbe’s work of collecting garbage in a segregated form:

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Kasbe, along with her waste collection vehicle begins her work at 6:00am every morning. “Every woman should become independent regardless of her day to day hardships in life because it is the only way to bring a change in the society,” says Kasbe. Waste pickers are probably one of those people who don’t have holidays. Can you imagine how must be the life of a waste picker?

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Everyday Kasbe collects segregated garbage from 600 houses. Kasbe strictly doesn’t accept mixed waste from any house or individual. While performing her job to the mark, she never fails to encourage them to segregate the waste. Kasbe tells this in an effective way by which the people of Dhankawadi have started understanding the harmful effects of the mixed waste. And now, almost everyone has started giving away their household waste in a segregated form.

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There is a total collection of 720 Kgs of wet waste and 100 Kgs of dry waste every day in her area. Kasbe has 8 buckets to collect this amount of waste. Each bucket has the capacity of 90 Kgs. Are you aware that the waste pickers are not paid by any governmental or non-governmental organizations? They are dependent on the wages that the citizens pay them.

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Kasbe segregates the waste with her hands when it is brought to a feeder point. It is the point where all the wet waste is again segregated into different buckets for its safe transportation. “As a waste picker, one has to work very hard. But it is a kind of a work that contributes to a social change and helps in the creation of a sustainable future”, says Kasbe.  Many of us cannot withstand the smell of garbage, but a waste picker is always surrounded by it.  Their health also gets affected due to the consistent contact with the odor.

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Kasbe’s dedication towards her work can be a source of motivation for every Punekar. “I encourage all the Punekars to participate in waste management activities and start segregating waste at source. Because a garbage free city promises a clean and healthy environment”, says Kasbe.

-Filed and Photos by Omkar Nikam.

Five Misconceptions about Dry Waste

While talking about waste generation, we believe that the commercial entities generate more garbage than the households. This is not true for Pune! The maximum contribution to waste generation of the city is done by the households! They contribute 40 percent to the total waste generated and produce 400 tons of waste everyday!

To manage this huge amount of waste, it is very necessary to segregate the waste at source. For that, we need to first wash out our disbeliefs about the wet and dry waste. Here are five misconceptions we have about the dry waste:

1. Dry waste is completely recyclable

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Photo Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-landfill-stinks-avalon-park-20150917-story.html

Have we ever given a thought to the fact that what will happen to the recycling process if the waste is a mix of wet and dry? Recycling of the dry waste is possible only when it is not mixed with the wet waste. Many of us are not aware of it. So, we end up mixing both and reduce its recycling value.

2. E-waste is dry waste

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An out-of-use computer or mobile phone is what kind of a waste? For many of us, waste is either dry or wet. However, it is necessary to understand that all kind of electronic and electrical waste is not dry waste. It is called e-waste. All the appliances that use electricity and have reached end-of-life are a part of e-waste. The E-Waste contains both- valuable materials as well as hazardous materials which require special handling and recycling methods. Hence, it is very necessary that the E-waste is treated differently.

3. What feels dry is not a dry waste!

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Photo Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/03/6-chewing-gum-side-effects.aspx

Nails, hair, egg shells, chewing gum- where do you throw them? In dry waste or wet waste? Many of us might say that it is dry waste because it looks dry. However, even though they look dry, they are a part of the wet waste. Dry waste includes all those items that are not considered organic, wet or soiled items. This includes both recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Typical dry waste includes such items as bottles, cans, clothing, plastic, wood and paper.

4. Packaged Food Is Dry Waste

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Photo Source: http://www.hopewarshaw.com/blog/10-simple-steps-eat-healthier-and-save-mother-earth-%E2%80%93-can-i-count-you

Try to remember where you throw the left over Pizza with its box. Most probably, in dry waste. That is not the right practice to follow. The packaged food is a combination of dry and wet waste. The outer packaging like used bottles or boxes are a part of the dry waste whereas the inside materials such as pulps, syrups or any kind of food item is wet waste. Throwing them in the same container is mixing up the waste and reducing its recycling value.

5. Mistaking hazardous waste and sanitary waste as simply dry waste

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Photo Source: http://www.bangormaine.gov/hhw

The broken glasses, bottles of mosquito sprays, insecticide sprays etc. are considered to be simply dry waste. Partially, it is true. But further, they form a category of hazardous waste which needs to be handled differently. Hazardous waste is a waste that possesses substantial or potential threats to public health or environment. To avoid these threats, it is very important to throw hazardous waste in a proper way. A general way of handling hazardous waste is storing it separately in a thick bag or a box and handing it over separately.

biomedical-waste

Photo Source: http://www.bwaste.com/

Sanitary waste which usually includes items like sanitary napkins, diapers and medical waste also needs special care while throwing. It is advisable to wrap and pack it well in Newspaper and mark a Red Cross on it. Plastic Cover should not be used while handing it over.

-Filed by Vaishnavi Sambhus

 

‘Let’s perform our duty in the waste management of the city’

Renowned Indian Economist, Dr. Vijay Kelkar supported the solid waste management campaign run by Pune Municipal Corporation in association with Janwani’s  Aagla Wegla and SWaCH. He has appealed to people to segregate the waste at source to make Pune, a clean and beautiful city.

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We, at our home have been segregating the waste into wet and dry for the past few months. After segregation, we have also been handing it over separately to the waste pickers. Our whole residential society has been following this method of waste disposal. And that has made a huge difference in our area. Segregating the waste is very important.

I request all the citizens of Pune to segregate the waste at source. If we do that, our city will definitely be clean and beautiful. This is the time to perform our duty.  Segregate your waste into wet and dry and hand it over separately!

Six Misconceptions about Wet Waste

Maharashtra generates over 26,820 tonnes of solid waste per day, more than any other state in the country; says a recent report by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Cities like Pune, Mumbai and Nagpur contribute to the waste generation in higher proportions. This is alarming!

We, as citizens need to follow steps that will lead to a sustainable future. Segregating the waste is the first and basic step of all. However, it is not as simple as it looks! We have a lot of misconceptions about wet and dry waste. Following are the six misconceptions that we have regarding the wet waste-

1. What looks wet is not a wet waste!

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Photo Source: http://www.oaklawntoyotablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bottle_0454.jpg

Anything which is wet in nature is not counted as wet waste. Wet waste, typically refers to organic waste usually generated in kitchens and gardens. It is biodegradable i.e. can be decomposed. (Cereals, left over’s, baked goods, vegetables, fruit peels, tea bags etc.) Thus, a plastic bag or milk bag which is wet, cannot be counted as wet waste.

2. What does not look wet can be a wet waste!

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Photo Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/03/6-chewing-gum-side-effects.aspx

Did you know that Finger or toe nails, Hair, Bones, Chewing Gum, Egg shells are all a part of wet waste? These all are biodegradables and so, it is all wet waste. However, we need to be careful while throwing it but throw them in bin or a bag dedicated to wet waste.

3. The compost gives out foul smell

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Photo Source: https://www.greenprophet.com/2013/07/abu-dhabi-imams-dish-out-sermons-on-food-waste/

Composting the wet waste is an efficient and easy way of waste management. It can be even done at home. However, People think that this will generate a foul smell. However, this is not the truth.  If the proper method is followed, it can be effectively managed.

4. Wet waste is decomposed automatically.

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Photo Source: http://www.permaculturenorthernbeaches.org.au/composting-and-worm-farming/

Many of us believe that the wet waste is decomposed automatically, which is true, only to an extent. As it’s a very slow process and it can create a problem of pests if it is left for decomposing on its own. It needs decomposition culture to facilitate the process and make it happen in time. If the waste is not decomposed in time, it can release harmful gases and chemical substances. The effects are even more harmful when the wet waste is mixed with the dry waste.

5. ‘I do not generate much waste’

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Photo Source: http://hgtvhome.sndimg.com/content/dam/images/hgtv/fullset/2010/11/10/1/iStock-9013928_Kitchen-Waste-Composting_s3x4.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.1707.jpeg

We tend to think that our little amount of waste is not going to make much difference.  But, all combined, it becomes almost 1,600 tonnes of waste every day in Pune city alone. 70% of the total waste that we generate is wet. If given proper attention and care, it can be managed effectively. Segregation is the first step towards it!  

6. Landfill is the best option for wet waste disposal

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Photo Source: https://www.reference.com/science/problems-burying-waste-landfill-sites-e64b66eb3e7a4505

We think that Landfill is the best option for wet waste disposal. But, we need to understand a few facts.  Firstly, Landfill spaces are hard to find. It degrades the quality of soil and nearby ecosystem. If the waste is a mixture of wet and dry, it emits dangerous chemicals that can seep into the ground water system. This can lead to pollution, diseases and illness in the communities living around this area.

Filed by Vaishnavi Sambhus