'Directions and Issues in Waste Management'
Centre for Urban Research, Auroville
14-15 March 2003

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Dr. Sauro Mezzetti, Co-ordinator, Asia-Urbs Program
  Sauro started by mentioning how the new commission was very keen that there is an activity of dissemination and a fusion of information. A project undertaken in collaboration with the city of Cologne, represented by Albert Deistler, the head of the European office in Cologne city, has facilitated the construction of the building for Auroville's Centre for Urban Research, to be completed in a few weeks. It is one of the Administrative buildings in the growing township of Auroville as well as a Centre for urban research. The building houses workshop facilities, a library and shortly, spaces where managers, researchers, city planning officials and NGO representatives from India and Europe can meet and find appropriate documentation and information.

  Two important tools have been created to facilitate this idea. One is a data base of Indian cities, introducing the cities, their main issues and challenges, the innovations that certain cities have brought forward, the priorities for co-operation, the tradition on International co-operation, the different urban indicators and the different content of urban local bodies and NGOs.

  This Indian data base has been published in a book form, with the selection of 101 Indian cities and is also available on the internet. There are almost 200 entries. Updating the information is ongoing. This data base apart from being available on the internet is widely circulated to European Institutions so it can be a tool for Indian cities to approach corporations. A data base is being prepared for Indian cities interested to have city to city co-operation with European cities.
  The European data base focuses on particular experiences with the development of particular cities highlighting their scope of interest in foreign collaboration and identifies areas of co-operation, listing contact persons and advice on approach methodology. The website houses both databases, plus more information on how to network and relate to European Institutions. The Asia-Urbs program 'Innovative Urban Management' implemented by Auroville has undertaken 5 workshops, viz: on energy, transport, water management and on town planning.

  Indian cities, until recently have not received many benefits from programs of the European community. Vietnam and China have a much stronger tradition of decentralised cooperation. One of the many reasons for this, is the fact that India has been an entirely centralized country with many restrictions on cities and their municipalities vis-a-vis direct relations with foreign donors and agencies. Recent changes in thinking in India have allowed this workshop with the awareness that great opportunities can be derived through co-operation.
This is one of the reasons why Auroville has undertaken projects to promote systems of information dissemination that can help Indian cities overcome their difficulties, to be able to deal directly and exposure to what works efficiently with European cities.

This is one of projects that has been implemented with various activities dedicated to training, especially in the field of energy, landscaping, gardening, alternative and conventional energy where the Centre for Urban Development, once completed, would highlight the unique characteristics this networking system.
  The first priority is networking with neighbouring villages located in the area of Auroville and interaction with the higher administrative levels of Indian cities.
Then to promote international linking at the level of corporations between Indian and European cities, and to interact at the regional level with cities from India to those of south Asia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam in particular.


  Presentation n.1
Albert Deistler, Project Manager, Municipality- Cologne City
  Cologne is a city founded nearly 2000 years ago by the Romans. It is a multi-cultural city today with 20% of its population being of foreign origin. The prime industries are steel maintenance, steel manufacturing and chemistry. It has one of the strongest sectors in technological development and in communications sector viz: media. Cologne is one of the biggest media cities in Europe especially for electronic productions of tele-movies, and films. Cologne was renowned for its strategic position as the centre of many connecting routes from the western sea viz: from England to eastern Germany and eastern Europe and the river Rhine on a direct path from north to south that links cities in Switzerland and Italy. Cologne is one of the main railway junctions in Europe and with a lot of highway traffic. Highways enter Cologne from all directions. This junction subsequently creates the basis for a strong economy. Cologne has strong economic relationships with 23 cities, 15 in Europe and the rest in Asia but it isn't connected yet to an Indian city apart from Auroville.
Since the start of the European Union, one of its aims was not only the collection of funds, but also to use it to support projects among its member states. The aim being to support a unified Europe, not only countries like Germany, Belgium, and Holland etc. The first project was funded 10 years ago and evolved to give advice on legislative issues to the council members helping with decision making, using EU support programmes, the European agriculture fund and the social fund for infrastructural development. This is funding for underdeveloped areas of Europe viz: Portugal, Greece and eastern Germany as well as other parts of the European Union. Cologne does not benefit very much from this funding but benefits a lot from other funding for development and research, supporting co-operation between twin cities and other partners at the city council level; city mayors, general administrators and special departments.
On the Traffic Management aspect, when entering Cologne, one sees signs showing the streets which at that moment are overcrowded or full and it suggests alternatives routes. There is a parking guidance system which was one of the projects funded by the European Union and later U.K and Barcelona have also implemented the same with help of Cologne. Another example is the information for citizens on the internet website about the city of Cologne and its services.
The Municipality of Cologne elaborates the EU projects, which means that if one of the departments have certain plans to do and offer a special service viz: environmental service for instance, they ask the Municipality about funding and support programmes offered. The office checks with other European Union partners that can join or act as consultants and help to apply for this special programme. They elaborate projects and if they get the funding, it becomes a real project and the office coordinates the financial issues and the project reporting.
The Cologne Municipality represents city networking on the political level the issues of transport and telecommunication, having the aims and the support of the European Union and participating in programs since 1992 and implementing projects with 100 partners in and around Europe and many parts of the world. The projects deal mainly with transport, environment, energy and energy consumption, alternative fuel, cultural and social projects to get women back into the work force etc. Under the Asia Urbs projects, two projects have been undertaken, one in Thailand with two small municipalities dealing with flooding of the rivers, using Cologne experience where the Rhine floods its banks every 2-3 years. The other project being in Auroville on waste management issues.'

  Presentation no. 2
Lalit Bhati Town Planner Auroville's Future-Centre for Urban Research
  The Auroville Foundation Act gives a special provision to Auroville to prepare their own Master Plan and to approve it internally. It is very unique as there is no act in the world which gives this kind of provision.

Auroville prepared its Master plan in the beginning of 2001, which was approved by the technical consultation of TCPO, Ministry of Urban Development and Auroville's nodal ministry - the Ministry of HRD (Human Resources Development). The master plan has the approval of these two Ministries and is presently Auroville addressing the issue at the state level, to get it recognized.
The Auroville plan has an urban area surrounded by the green belt. There are six villages in the green belt, and the urban area is proposed to be networked by green corridors and parks. Also, the distances from the centre to the Crown is just a five minute walking distance, and then from the crown to the city periphery is seven minutes. The overall city has a compact form; it is almost a pedestrian city and it is intended to have a Crown building enclosing the city centre. The city centre has a non-polluting traffic zone within this limit in future. With no polluting vehicle coming in this area, there has been a proposal of a traffic interchange node at two levels at the entrance of the township. The conventional polluting traffic coming from outside can be stopped at the boundary of Auroville and then there are electrical or solar vehicles bringing them to the appropriate destinations. Already in Auroville there is a good network of cycle paths used extensively by the residents. There are four major zones in Auroville (residential, cultural, industrial, and international). The residential zone houses 40,000 out of the 50, 000 proposed population.
Entry to Auroville is voluntary so there will be no overnight migration problem. To live in Auroville is sort of a citizenship based; people cannot come and live here arbitrarily. The population growth is approximately 100 persons per year.
  Presentation no.3
Margarita Correa, Auroville
Originally from Colombia, an Auroville resident for many years, she is an expert on chemical and environmental technology and has done extensive work on environmental monitoring and waste management.
'The main issue on environment and development, as she defined, was the focus of the present global situation without concerning itself with the ability to sustain future generations. She called for humanity to live within the current capacity of the earth, without rampantly depleting the resources or degrading environment. We should leave the earth in the condition as good as when we found it. Because this 'Earth Preventive Environmental Management' is the basis of sustainable development.
With the preventive approach, the fundamental notion is that waste requires control and there are synergies that can be achieved between different industries, individuals, municipalities, and companies, viz: Finners Technology, Finland doing commendable work in this field.
Pollution and waste are not easily definable because no immediate damage can be assessed to the environment, but because they represent non-capital costs, statistics indicate that solid waste continues to receive most of the attention across the world. Cities and countries are faced with the lack of available space to dispose household garbage and other forms of waste.

How to manage our waste has been one of the major problems of the last decade. The U.S Congress phased in a solid waste proposal in 1965, to control the problem of open air trash burning. In India, municipalities insensitively dump all their garbage in the open which pollutes ground water, soil and air.

  Presentation no.4
Gillian Chvat, Auroville Clean Project
  Gillian introduced the Kuilapalayam Waste Management project. It was inspired by the urban Exnora system used all over India, and it was adapted to suit the living conditions in the villages around Auroville.
The project was launched in 2001 with the support of the Kuilapalayam Cultural Centre. It has been funded by the State Bank of India, Auroville Branch.
This programme is an extension of the Auroville Eco-Service, which is taking care of the collection, treatment, recycle and disposal of the solid waste from Auroville. The programme is doing a door-to-door collection of all solid waste each day from 300 householders in Kuilapalayam and Laxmipuram, two villages in the vicinity of Auroville.
In order to give information, create awareness and encourage participation, various informative sessions with slide shows were held in both villages. The demonstrations included information on how the service operates and how the waste is recycled, treated and disposed after its collection. They described various recycling and composting techniques that are being used. After the shows, free dustbins, a red one for organic waste and a green one for everything else, were given to the householders.
Two local men were employed to be the collectors who were trained to operate the tricycle that was adapted to handle the waste. A large box on top was divided into two and used to segregate the waste as it was collected from each householder.
A small recycling shed was built in the Park and used as the base to segregate and store the recyclable waste and the waste to be land filled.
Each householder was asked to donate 10 Rupees per month for the service and the proceeds went to the pay the collectors and maintain the vehicle and tools etc.
After running the project for four months we found there was 100 % participation from the residents in giving their waste but only 52 % were ready to pay for it. At this time the project was closed as financially it was unsustainable.
We consider this pilot project successful as we have found that the residents were very happy with the service and did recognize the need to keep their living environment clean and for various reasons did or did not contribute financially to it .
We are presently preparing to work with the Collector with the view of developing the government participation needed to subsidize the activities until there is full participation from the residents themselves.
Presentation no.5

By Dr. Lucas Dengel, Auroville Solid Waste Management
  After explaining that Auroville in general has a very good level of awareness about the need to avoid waste generation, and that technical choices, however, are often limited, Dr. Lucas gave an overview of the Solid Waste Management scheme and activities implemented by Auroville:
Waste separation at source - This is a significant step of SWM which, to a significant extent, has been established at Auroville.

Waste collection - Since 1991 a system of waste collection has been introduced which comprises mainly of two local rag pickers as waste collection personnel. They are not formally employed but remain private entrepreneurs on their own. They go around on bullock cart or tricycle or motorized tricycle, and have the duty to collect all kinds of waste from AV settlements - households get charged for the pick-up of waste - and the authorization to collect recyclable waste against payment of its value. In the year 2001 Eco-Service collected from Auroville settlements for its services INR 93,933 of which half went to the two collectors and half to Eco-Service account; and in 2002, when collection charges were increased, a total of INR 1,34,502, of which one-third went to the collectors and two-thirds to Eco-Service.
  Storage sheds - Over the last five years two waste storage and sorting sheds have been set up in Auroville.

Recycling of biodegradable waste - While this is one of the major issues in municipal waste management, it may be stated that in Auroville it is almost a non-issue. Aurovilians to a large extent know what compostible waste is, and generally there is at least one person in a settlement / neighbourhood who takes up composting and makes use of it for gardens, parks and fields.

Re-use - Auroville has facilities for collection and distribution of second-hand clothes, and for collection and repair and re-use of technical gadgets, toys, household ware etc.
Recycling - The waste collectors of the Eco-Service have identified middlemen and buyers of recyclable waste, such as scrap metal, hard plastics, broken glass etc. The problem remains that wherever there is no taker in the local scenario, waste items will not be recycled and will be regarded as residual waste to be disposed of. Great efforts from the Eco-Service coordination will be required to identify buyers for various wastes on the long run.

Disposal of residual waste - No doubt, there is and there is likely to remain some amount of residual waste which is not and cannot be re-used or recycled. After all, this waste is to some extent the object of archaeological research. It is estimated that in Auroville about 100 cubic meters per year of residual waste is generated. It is further assessed that this could be reduced to about 40 cubic meters of waste, if separation and recycling were improved. The options for final disposal are either landfill or incineration or incineration with energy recovery.

  Landfill - Out of urgent need, Eco-Service had arranged for a very provisional landfill and closed it recently. Management of such a site is a crucial issue as, if unprotected or badly supervised, any dumpsite will encourage more dumping, i.e. wild dumping of any waste. A new site has been arranged where it will be demonstrated that this can be done in a much better way, hygienically and ecologically appropriate, aesthetically pleasing, without fly and odour nuisance, without attracting rodents and stray animals.

There are some kinds of wastes which need specific attention, i.e. demolition waste, sewage sludge, hospital or rather more specifically: biomedical waste, and hazardous waste in general.

As regards demolition waste, Auroville being a permanent construction site for some time ahead, we try to utilize all construction waste and demolition rubble to build up road surfaces, or to use as filling material wherever required.
As regards sewage sludge disposal, we have arranged for co-composting of sewage sludge with coir fibres and wood chips in trenches, with the help of "Effective Microorganisms" (EM). The site has been chosen in a safe distance from bore wells and in an area with low groundwater table.
As regards hospital waste or rather bio-medical waste from our small Auroville Health Centre, problems fortunately are small in scale and are being dealt with step by step. Our health centre is equipped with autoclaves for sterilization of contaminated waste and a small incinerator for burning soiled bandage material etc.
As hazardous waste we regard all waste which is potentially harmful, either by its physical or chemical or biological properties (such as, for example, bio-medical infectious waste from a hospital). Broken glass needs specific handling, but chemical waste of unknown composition with potentially toxic components requires special treatment.

Later on, Dr. Lucas described the questions for which more research and improvement needs to be done, which are:

  1. Hazardous wastes - (e.g. batteries) Possibilities for recycling or for ecologically optimal disposal options.
  2. Sanitary landfill - Is it possible, by control of the kind of waste reaching the landfill, by making sure that practically only inert material reaches the site, to minimize lining requirements of a landfill? Can we minimize leachate problems by covering our dumpsite against rain? And thirdly, we would like to treat all incoming waste with EM. EM controls putrefaction, hence eliminates all fly nuisance and odours, reduces generation of undesirable gases, and reduces residues of heavy metals and complex toxic compounds, even PCBs and dioxins. We would like to exploit the benefits of EM in this context.
  3. Incineration The most apparent technical advantage of incineration over landfilling is the fact that the volume of waste gets reduced to a small amount of ashes. Secondly, incineration of waste - if the waste has a high enough calorific value as in the case of plastics - can and should be used to recover energy. Incineration is accused of toxic air pollution, the most-quoted example being the release of dioxins. On the other hand, incineration - if technically optimally equipped - is said to be the cleanest waste management technology, but the said optimal equipping is so expensive that costs are prohibitive for less affluent countries.
  4. Financing - How to finance these services, where to raise funds, and how to set up and run services economically sustainable?
  Presentation no.6
By Mrs. Kamala Ravikumar, Civic Exenora, Chennai
  The main issues of Urban Solid Waste are related to the increasing urbanization and changing life styles. Indian cities now generate 8 times more solid waste than they used to in 1947. This is due to the increase in the number of urban dwellers and the increase in the amount of waste generated per capita.

The generation of waste per capita increases from 1 to 1.33% per year. The quantities of plastic matter are 70 times higher than in the 1960s. In most cities more than 1/3rd of all waste generated remains un-cleared on streets. What is collected is dumped in unsanitary dumpsites polluting ground water and degrading the environment.

  Exenora as a voluntary organization puts a special effort to generate ideas on various issues and translate them into action. It strives to create environmental awareness, civic consciousness and to inculcate civic pride among the citizens.

Exenora started in Chennai as a People's Participation in Waste Management. They institutionalized door-to-door waste collection organized by people themselves and launched a programme of Zero Waste Management system, that is a system of managing solid waste that aims at minimum waste generation and maximum waste recovery through recycling and reuse while targeting zero waste to be disposed into dump yards and landfills.

  The programme has been implemented with the support and participation of the Civil Society through segregation. It has a minimum Human Resource involvement and appropriate storage. It consists in an effective collection with zero transportation costs and encourages waste avoidance and reduction through recycling, reuse, resource recovery, composting and other environmentally sustainable disposal processes at the various levels of waste management.
The system works in a completely decentralized way. When it started in Chennai 54% of households were not aware of location of nearest Municipal Office, 14% of households did not know which organization was responsible for Solid Waste Management and 84% of households were unaware of where and how wastes were ultimately disposed. Exenora created neighbourhood associations to manage wastes generated in that area. Exenora provided an institutional structure to collectively represent the neighbourhood, get attention of the civic authorities, bridge communication gap between neighbourhoods and elected representatives and local government. The residents are brought under the Civic Exenora of their neighbourhood on purely voluntary basis. There is no restriction on the number of residents involved or on the number of streets within the neighbourhood under any Civic Exenoras. Exenora is sustained by residents who contribute a nominal amount outside the Municipal Tax. The wastes are collected even from those households who haven't contributed. The system involves various steps from source segregation, primary collection by street beautifier, secondary segregation, composting / recycling and final disposal. For segregation every household keeps two baskets for their wastes that are separated into organic and inorganic. The former are used for compost. The latter are further divided into recyclable/reusable materials like paper and plastic and non recyclable/reusable inert material that goes for separate disposal. Then the collection is made by street/colony beautifier that collects wastes from each household at a particular time every day. The wastes are collected separately in different compartments of a waste collection cart. About 2/3 of the cart are painted green and are used for collection of organic wastes that in India still constitute the largest portion of household waste and 1/3 is painted red and it is used for collection of inorganic wastes.
Collected garbage is taken to a Zero waste centre where they undergo further segregation. In fact about 30 per cent of all wastes collected from the households is still mixed. Different types of recyclable wastes are deposited in their respective bins: Red Bins - Plastics; White Bins - Paper; Blue Bins - Metal; Yellow Bins - Glass; Black Bins - Other Inorganic wastes; Green Bins - organic wastes. For the Inorganic recyclable wastes shops can be asked to buy the wastes or they are given to rag pickers, or sold to recycling industries or taken by micro-enterprises dealing with waste management. Micro-enterprises can undertake the following services: primary collection, street sweeping, park cleaning, recycling / resource recovery, and composting.
For composting, organic wastes are deposited into green bins with a lid but no button. The bins are kept at an elevation and will have around 40 holes of 1 inch diameter.
The experience of composting in a few projects led by Exenora, like the Vellore fish market, were also reported.
Exenora experience has been particularly successful especially for what it concerns local participation that is high, good relations between residents, street beautifiers and local government. The local authorities are regular in collection of wastes from secondary collection points.
The systematic organization of Zero Waste Management point is another successful example of Exenora experience.
Workshop Programme

  List of Participants
  1. Mr. S.T. Rudamuniayappa - M. Commissioner - Chitradurga
  2. Mr. L. Sonne Gowde - M. Commissioner - Bhadravathi
  3. Mr. S. Basavaraju - M. Commissioner - Yelahanka
  4. Mr. M. Chandrahasa - Asst. Exe. Eng. - Darasahally
  5. Mr. N. Nagaraj - Asst. Exe. Eng. - Byatarayanapur
  6. Mr. M.A. Baig 0 M. Commissioner - Byatarayanapur
  7. Mr. M. Ramachandra - M. Commissioner - Gokak
  8. Mr. M. Mahendra Kumar - M. Commissioner - Sirsi
  9. Mr. Chikkanna - M. Commissioner - Doddaballapur
  10. Mr. H. L. Ramadoss - Asst. Exe. Eng. - KUIDFC Bangalore
  11. Mr. K. Ranganathan - Add. Chief Env. Engg. - Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
  12. Mr. G. Rangasamy - Managing Director - Tamil Nadu Waste Management
  13. Mr. R. Mohan Naidu - District Env. Engg. - Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
  14. Mr. Alphonse - M. Commissioner - Pondicherry
  15. Mr. Sivabalane - J. Engg. - Pondicherry
  16. Dr. K. Santhanakrishnanan - Health Officer - Pondicherry
  17. Mr. P. Parthiban - Sanitary Engg. - Pondicherry
  18. Mr. Ashok Panda - INTACH - Pondicherry
  19. Mr. M. Mohandass - J. Engg. - Pondicherry
  20. Dr. K. Srinivas - Project Manager - Ramkay Group - Hyderabad Waste Management Project
  21. Mrs. Kamala Ravikumar - Project Coordinator - Civic Exenora - Chennai
  22. Mr. G. Dattatri - Trustee - Sustain - Chennai
  23. Mr. Anatha Rajan Dass - Chief Town Planner - Chennai

Overseas Participants:
24. Mr. Albert Deistler - Project Manager - Cologne
25. Mrs. Carla Stuewe - Department of Health - Cologne

The participants of the workshop

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