Change is in the process | Centre for Science and Environment


Change is in the process

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One way of managing waste do not produce it

TSDFs do not completely eliminate waste. Proper management of hazardous waste will require a shift in the way we look at waste it is not inevitable. "Our industrial processes are designed to produce hazardous waste," said Go- pal Krishna who runs Toxics Watch, a campaign against waste incineration. "What we have to address upfront is the design crisis. End-of-pipe solutions like incinerators ignore the possibility of inbuilt clean production, based on the life-cycle assessment of the product."

In India the move towards cleaner manufacturing processes is, however, slow because of the high cost of investment in new technologies and the absence of the right policy thrust. But it is happening. Take the chlor alkali industry that makes caustic soda and chlorine, raw material for many other industries. The process involves use of mercury cells for electrolysis of salt to separate caustic soda and chlorine.Mercury affects the nerve cells. About 30 per cent of India's chlor alkali plants use mercury cells and are responsible for 40 per cent of mercury pollution in India from industrial operations. The rest have replaced it with membrane cells, which are basically a fabric. cpcb has given the industry till 2012 to phase out mercury from its process.

Switching over to membrane cells also decreases energy utilization. Kanauria Chemicals' energy consumption has reduced by a fourth after its two plants at Renukoot in Uttar Pradesh switched over to membrane cells at the cost of Rs 120 crore each. "It required us to set up new plants since making the changes in operating plants would have required us to shut them down for four-five months," said T D Bahety, director of Kanauria Chemicals.

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