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CPCB issues draft norms to tackle odour from solid waste disposal sites
Recognizing the urgent need for abatement of odour from municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal facilities in urban India, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has proposed guidelines to tackle it.
CPCB, India’s nodal pollution watchdog, hopes that the draft guidelines on “Odour Monitoring & Management in Urban Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill Site” will serve as a useful tool for regulatory agencies for selection of MSW landfill sites, will improve present MSW sites, and help in monitoring, abatement and management of odour from Urban Municipal Solid Waste Landfill sites.
CPCB has sought comments by 10 April from all stakeholders on the draft guidelines, which were made public last week.
The draft suggested developing barriers at landfill sites by creating a green boundary with suitable species of plants/trees as natural media for reduction of odour pollution and restriction of odour in and around landfill sites.
As per official government estimates, at present around 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year in the country, but only 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 millions tonnes treated. This has led to overflowing of landfill sites.
The guidelines noted that, “Mismatch created between infrastructure available and increasing waste generation coupled with improper management of MSW and sanitation system, the odour problem is on the rise, which has attracted public complaints.”
“The excess load of MSW restricts the usability of land earmarked for dumping. The people who reside nearby MSW disposal site to a major extent experience the odour problem,” it said, while observing that clean and natural air is essential for sustainable civilization and is treated as a fundamental right across the world.
Stating that odour affects the natural quality of air, affecting living beings, the draft said that India has regulatory frameworks to control air pollutants but, “no regulation has been made for abatement and control of odour which is now becoming cause of major problem in urbanization and industrialization”.
The effect of odour differs from person to person but at sufficiently high concentrations odorous compounds may have a direct effect on human health. It generally leads to vomiting, headaches, nausea, stress, anxiety, frustration, restriction in outdoor activities, children unable to sleep, discomfort for elderly people and others.
Last year, India notified the new Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules 2016 that also had provisions for spot fines for littering public spaces.
It is the first initiative of its kind by CPCB to address odour problem by a scientific investigation.
Suggesting a way forward to deal with the menace, the guidelines advocated the establishment of online monitoring systems for odour and odorous compounds and said that initially such systems may be installed at one or two urban landfill sites to assess their utility.
It also batted for inclusion of odour as a parameter under the regulatory framework and amendment of MSW rules, Bio-Medical Waste rules and Hazardous Waste Management rules to include odour nuisance for compliance.
The guidelines also sought separate studies for odour monitoring and management in odorous industries such as pulp & paper, fertilizer, pesticides, tanneries, sugar and distillery, chemical, dye intermediates, bulk drugs and pharmaceuticals and waste water treatment plants to evolve time-bound standards for odour emission.