Dumping & Composting

It is a well known true that each action has its reaction. If we think about people and their impact on the environment, we can be at the same time amazed and horrified. Littering can be seen in every corner of the world. There are everywhere illegal dumping grounds… What can we do and how can the spreading of waste be slowed down? What are some methods of dumping?

The word refuse means waste matter. It may be dry refuse or liquid waste (water unmixed with human excreta). Sewage is a combination of liquid waste water and the human excreta in the sewer.

Sanitation: The word Sanitation comes from a French word “Sanita” which means cleanliness. It may be personal which is called- personal hygiene; cleanliness of the surrounding is called environmental sanitation.

The essentials of sanitation are the following:
(I) Safe water supply.
(2) Sanitary disposal of all types of refuse.
(3) Food and milk sanitation, including kitchen sanitation.
(4) Healthful housing principles.
(5) School Sanitation.
(6) Factory sanitation.
(7) Sanitation of fairs, camps and public transport.
(8) Sanitation of hostels and restaurants.

The sanitary disposal of refuse is a preventive measure against the contamination of water, food and soil. The refuse is a breeding place of germs, flies and rodents, which are the vectors of many diseases. Fecal contamination of water or food may be responsible for the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and infective hepatitis. Soil contamination is responsible for spread of hookworm.

Dry Refuse – Dry refuse includes household waste, street, market, stable and garden waste. Refuse may be combustible if it contains organic matters e.g. papers, leaves etc which decompose, or non-combustible inorganic matter, e.g. broken bricks, glasses, dusts, rubbish etc.

The collection and disposal of refuse – In urban areas, waste is collected in house bins or in street dustbins. The refuse is removed by carts or lorries to a place away from human habitation.

The refuse is finally disposed by:
(a) Dumping in the low lying areas and unused ponds, to fill up these places.
(b) Burning – “Incineration” – suitable for small towns. Heat required for burning is 3000 degrees Celsius. Refuse is burnt to one-fourth of its original volume and the residue left may be used for other purposes, which is called clinkers.

The Dumping of Dry Refuse: The site should be away from the human habitation and a low lying area is chosen. It may be done by filling up of unused tanks, ponds, and marshy lands. Filling should be from one end to the other end covered with soil. When filling is completed cultivation is to be done for 10 years before the site is used for construction of houses. This land is called Made soil. It can be recognized by digging out in any portion of the made soil and finding the broken crockery, glasses etc. in the land, which are not absorbed with the earth. Burning or incineration of refuse is better method.
By this method, the refuse is brunt to one-fourth of its original volume, organic matter is transformed into carbon dioxide, nitrogen, etc.
The incinerator should have a brick lined combustion chamber, a cemented floor, arrangement of platform for tipping refuse through feeding holes, baffle plate to direct all flames through feeding the hottest part of the incinerator for thorough combustion and chimney with air inlets.

Composting – This is a method of disposal of dry refuse in the towns near a trenching ground with night soil. The main object is to convert the waste matter into humus or compost of high manure value. It is a biological process by which the organic matter is converted into harmless substances.

The trenches are dug and preferably bracketed. A layer of dry refuse is placed first at the bottom of the trench and then night soil is poured over in: two parts (by weight) of dry refuse and one part (by weight) of  night soil. After filling the trench with alternate layers of refuse 6 inches and night-soil 2 inches, the tap is covered with earth in a dome shaped manner and manure gets ready in three months time. There are other methods where mixing or turning is done after filling the trench and before covering with earth.

‘The composting is a combined method of disposal and utilization of the refuse and night soil as manure. The common practice in almost all municipal towns is to remove the refuse and dump in the law-lying areas, however this method is not sanitary as refuse lies exposed.

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