Addressing Climate Change through Waste Management Initiatives

The session would broadly focus on various elements of climate change and plausible different ways in which we can reverse the climate change effect.

The major reasons for climate change are wrong assumptions such as Earth has infinite capacity to hold and has infinite natural resources. Also, there is a disbalance between economic growth and environment sustainability.

sDue to the changing lifestyle, there is an ever increasing demand of energy and this has been satisfied using fossil fuel. Constant use of fossil fuel has led to the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. At this point it becomes imperative to curb the unnecessary consumption and also to shift from fossil fuel based energy to renewable energy

1. As per estimates, more than 55 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is generated per year in India. Dumping is the common practice which is adversely affecting on environment and public health. Management of unattended MSW is a major problem in the current scenario. Scientific treatment of MSW is crucial & should involves proper segregation and at source treatment. Depending on their compostability, MSW can be broadly classified into organic (compostable material eg: food waste) and inorganic (Non- compostable materials eg: glass, metals, plastics) waste. Inorganic waste comprising of sand and stone can be used as Refuse derived construction material.

Following solutions can be provided to manage MSW:
  • Decentralized composting systems to convert organic waste to compost
  • sRefuse Derived Fuel (RDF): RDF is a renewable form of energy derived from MSW and its can be used in electricity generation

2. Biomass Gasification to produce Syngas (CO + H2) which can be used to generate electricity. The feedstock required for the gasification process can be obtained from various types of agricultural wastes or agro residues. Biomass energy based electricity offers a sustainable energy solution

3. Biogas systems: provide clean gaseous fuel for cooking and transportation, improves sanitation and also helps in reducing the causes of climate change

4. The rising levels of Carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere has been considered to be the major contributor of climate change. Plants use CO2 during photosynthesis to produce sugars. Hence, cultivation of different type of plants especially those which requires minimal water, nutrients yet availing higher CO2 absorption should be promoted. To enlist few of them are bamboo, mangrove, elephant grass, etc. Cultivation of certain algae like seaweeds should also be encouraged as seaweeds has an amazing carbon dioxide uptake and storage property. Also, seaweeds have a high commercial value.

5. Water Management:
  • India is the largest user of groundwater in the world with over 60% of irrigated agriculture and 85% of drinking water supplies dependent on aquifers.
  • 90% of India’s water is consumed in farming and 80% of this irrigation is for water-guzzling crops such as rice, wheat and sugarcane. Reducing this number is the most effective way of solving India’s water problem. Crop Diversification can be one of the solution to reduce water usage in Agriculture
  • sAquifer recharge and rainwater conservation through community ponds and recharge wells should be promoted