Liquid Waste Management - Household
From a household perspective gaseous waste is very limited or none, unless someone is burning things at home, which is rare. It is produced by burning garbage outside on the streets, which is highly polluting as a mixture of items including, plastic, cloth, paper, rubber and organic waste are burnt together. We cannot blame the municipal workers, but need to ensure that they do not have the opportunity to do so, by managing our waste better - not dumping on streets.
Second is the Liquid waste, which is addressed in this post.
Due to the so called modernization, this has multiplied. We produce liquid waste through urination, defecation, showers/baths, cleaning house, washing clothes, and cleaning kitchen items. Sometimes this is further burdened by cleaning outdoors and or vehicles, but this is mainly water which drains off and causes less of a problem.
Urination and corresponding disposal is a huge problem that we have created unnecessarily. For a few ml of urine, we mix it with about 20 liters of water and flush down into the drainage, literally flooding the system. For a household of 4 people with 8-10 flushes per day, this amounts to 640-800 liters per day. Multiply this for a building with 30 apartments, like our building, and we are talking 20000-25000 liters per day. And with some of the big complexes with 100-200 residences, this is easily 65,000 to 1,60,000 liters of not so raw sewage per complex. Across a city, the quantities are huge.
This is a huge waste of water if we consider that the total urine output maybe less than 1 liter in this. And this is not difficult to deal with, being ideal for water plants etc when the 1 liter is say, mixed with 100 liters of water. Solution is required for this by segregating this from the other human waste. Concept of separating urinals from regular toilets and using less water to flush (1-2L instead of 20L), would make this a very effective mechanism for reducing waste as well as conserving water, which will become a critical resource in the near future.
As far as baths/showers go, we are given to wastage here also, with each individual consuming no less than 20 liters at a time. Water itself is not a problem, but when we mix with soaps, shampoos etc, which are laden with chemicals, the water is no longer usable for any other purpose. however, it should be possible to let this flow separately (from other affulents) and processed to remove the chemicals so that the water can be recycled for consumption at very low cost. With relevant technology, it should be possible to reuse these chemicals for industrial applications, thereby localizing the waste management. In an ideal scenario, if we minimize using chemicals on our bodies in the form of soaps, shampoos, lotions etc, and shift to organic soaps, soap nuts, shikakhai etc., managing this waste would be a lot easier.
The water from washing utensils, or laundry can be dealt with the bath water.
The water from food processing can be used for watering plants directly as it is ideal for that purpose.
The effluents from human defecation are currently mixed with water for disposal. However this is not an ideal scenario. I am not propagating dry lavatories and manual scavenging, but some solution through involvement of bacteria would be effective here. They already exist and are used in various places.
Effective management of waste in liquid form not only reduces the burden on the sewerage system, but saves an enormous amount of water, thereby serving dual purpose.
Hope we get to it as part of Swach Bharath. Constructive ideas on this aspect, rather than complaints about mismanagement or non-management, are a better option.
Solid waste needs to be handled separately, discussed in a separate thread. more