New process to treat organic waste in effluents

Anna varsity to soon join hands with firms for commercialising the project

In a bid to reduce water pollution caused by industrial effluents, the Centre for Environmental Studies, Anna University, has developed a special consortium of microbes that could be used to treat organic waste even in effluent with high salinity level.

The Centre’s director A. Navaneetha Gopalakrishnan said the Centre, which had recently patented the process, would soon join hands with firms to commercialise the project.

At present, several industries release raw effluent into waterways, including the Cooum river, as the microbes now used in the treatment process cannot digest organic waste owing to high total dissolved solids (TDS) level.

The new process was tested in waste water, which has TDS level ranging between 50,000 and 65,000 mg per litre. The microbes used in aeration process helped in treating the organic waste, he said. N. Vasudevan, professor at the Centre for Environmental Studies, said the process would be more efficient than that used in sewage treatment plants for organic waste removal. It is economical than the energy intensive treatment process used in industries.

Moreover, the salt content in the waste water could be recovered through evaporation for use as raw material in alkaline industries. Chlorine gas, which is used as disinfectant in water treatment, could also be generated, he said.

K. Lakshmi – From The Hindu

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Six sewage treatment plants planned in Nagapattinam

NAGAPATTINAM: Over six sewage treatment plants are being conceived for tsunami houses here in Nagapattinam.

Civic amenities:Collector C. Munianathan, second from left, inspecting the work which is under way for a sewage treatment plant at Keechankuppam in Nagapattinam.

The project funded by the World Bank to the tune of Rs.5.17 crore envisages sewage treatment plants at various tsunami-hit colonies at varying expenditure in the district.

They include a Rs.1.33 crore treatment plant at Keezhapatanacheri, a plant at Rs. 92.71 lakh in Savariar Koil, a Rs.64.53 lakh treatment facility at Palpannacheri, a Rs.62.36 lakh plant at Pandagasalai, Rs.63.61 lakh plant at Ambedkar Nagar and a Rs.1.01 crore plant at Keechankupam. The sewage treatment plants are being set up under aegis of TWAD Board.

These sewage treatment plants have been conceived as a component of Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project.

Phase II

The ETRP constitutes phase II of tsunami rehabilitation process.

As part of the ETRP, construction of dwelling units within 1000 meter high tide line are also under way in the district.

Earlier on Saturday, Collector C. Munianathan inspected the works underway at Keechankuppam, and assured of early completion, tentatively by July end.

From THE HINDU

Madurai: Despite a ban

HAZARDOUS:Plastic waste found strewn all over the Tamil Nadu Housing Board quarters at Maharajanagar in Palayamkottai. — Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

From THE HINDU

Privatisation of garbage disposal flayed

KANCHEEPURAM: Partial privatisation of solid waste management and delay in making use of alternative site identified to dump non-biodegradable waste collected from Nandivaram-Guduvancheri area has come in for criticism from civic activists.

Health hazard: Garbage lying uncleared near a lake at Nandivaram Guduvancherry.

A few years ago, a non-governmental organisation was engaged by the Nandivaram-Guduvancheri Town Panchayat to collect degradable and non-biodegradable waste from households. It was allowed to collect Rs.20 per house for the service.

Enquiries reveal that the role of the NGO was restricted to collection of domestic waste from households and dump it in four transfer points, from where the garbage was cleared by the civic body.

The garbage transferred to bigger vehicles at the transfer points were supposed to be transported to an abandoned granite quarry site near Keerapakkam area, about 7 to 10 km from the town panchayat.

However, civic activists alleged that the local body staff used to dump garbage near waterbodies, particularly in Nandivaram area such as Nandheeswarar Temple tank, a small lake near the railway track, instead of dumping the garbage at craters at the quarry . They alleged that the civic body had failed to fulfil its promise to clean the area around “Eesa Lake,” located near the burial ground.

The town panchayat gave this assurance to the State Human Rights Commission in 2008 after the Commission took suo motu cognizance of a news report in September 2007 that total area of the tank was expected to shrink owing to continuous dumping of garbage.

Responding to the Commission’s query, the Directorate of Town Panchayat, in its reply, said that Nandivaram-Guduvancheri Town Panchayat had removed garbage dumped in the tank and nearby burial ground.

The area near the burial ground was levelled using gravel and bushes were removed to facilitate construction of compound wall.

The reply said that the civic body was planning to construct a cremation shed, a room for performing last rites and a cement approach road in the area levelled near burial ground. However, the activists said that no work, except for construction of cremation shed, had been taken up while large quantity of garbage dumped near the burial ground had got mixed with the lake water in the recent rain, making it unusable for irrigation.

V. Venkatasubramanian – From THE HINDU

Dindigul: Gandhigram Trust plans special watershed project

DINDIGUL: A special watershed development project will be implemented by the Gandhigram Trust at Thottanuthu village an estimated cost of Rs.62.56 lakh with community participation. The trust will act as facilitator and only villagers will implement the entire project, in three years.

Under the project, the trust will take up soil and water conservation activities on 1,018 hectares. Other components of the project include soil and water conservation measures in rain-fed areas and community development intervention such as training and demonstration, livelihood support for landless people and rural women in 12 habitations at this village.

Village Watershed Committees will be formed for executing all works. Field bund, field bund outlet, 14 farm ponds, farm pond outlet, farm pond silt trap trench, water absorption trench, agro-forestry, agro-horticulture, pasture development, grass seeding, sunken pond, check weir, loose boulder structures and percolation pond will be created in these habitations.

Income generation activities will be intensified by roping in landless and rural women as part of livelihood support, some prime components of the project. Mushroom cultivation, rearing of country chicken and stall-fed goat and animal feed production will be some of the income generation activities.

Trust Associate secretary K. Shivakumar said that the community would contribute 16 per cent of the total project cost for watershed activities. It will enhance involvement of local watershed community. Separate planning would be done for each and every field according to the needs of farmers in every watershed. The Village Watershed Committee would prepare an action plan for three years and submit it to the Joint Director of Agriculture. The funds will directly go to the water shed Committee for implementation, he added.

“District Watershed Development Agency will monitor the project activities regularly.” Moreover, the funds could not be drawn without the approval of the nine-member village water shed committee, comprising a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary as office-bearers and other members. Members should be chosen from the water shed area only. Besides, 30 per cent of the members would be women.

“We will adopt the approach of ‘ridge to valley’ in executing the project. To begin with, treatment of land in upper reaches will be taken up before taking up development works at lower reaches. Simple and low cost conservation measures will also be adopted in the watershed to enable the community to emulate easily and execute it in other areas, if necessary,”

From THE HINDU

Hygienic? No. Affordable? Yes

CHENNAI: Vasantha Devi whisks white batter, pours it on a tava and swirls the ladle over it. Just as the crisp dosa takes shape, at least half a dozen hands carrying plastic plates stick out.

Food at affordable rates, dispensed even at odd hours, make roadside eateries a popular option despite concerns about the hygiene. — Photo: M.Vedhan

Her 22-year-old son dips the used plates into a plastic pot filled with dark water and stacks them next to the stove. A dog circles a stool piled up with piping hot idlis and fluffy parottas. Not an appetizing site to watch. But strangely, nobody seems to mind.

For hundreds of labourers and daily wage workers, roadside eateries are the only affordable place to satisfy their hunger pangs. The kiosks, strategically located near bus stands, hospitals and traffic junctions, open as early as 6 a.m. Countless idlis, dosas, vadas and parottas are dished out well past midnight.

The oil they use for frying bhajjis and fish are dark, thick and frothy. K. Natesapandiyan, who runs ‘idli kadai’ on Kamaraj Salai, says, “Many buy used oil from hotels. Fresh oil is unaffordable as we sell idlis and dosas for Rs.5 and Rs.10 a plate,” he says.

Lunch menu would include lemon, tomato and curd rice prepared “well in advance” to serve customers in time. “People who have assistants will prepare lunch after breakfast gets over. Many others would cook it overnight and re-heat it as customers are generally impatient,” he adds.

Unlike the ‘bhajji kadais’ at the Marina and Elliots beaches, which use seawater to clean and wash the plates, the roadside eateries in the city have to be frugal in using three or four pots of water that they bring for the day.

“We can’t afford hotel food. All my family members are labourers. So there is no one at home to pack lunch,” says M. Sivarayan, a cleaner in a hospital in Adyar. “The food is tasty and I have not suffered any health problem,” he adds. Manohar and his wife Rajathi, who run a fast food kiosk near the Vadapalani bus terminus, say that though their customers are mainly autorickshaw drivers, they also get people who are working in “computer field.”

“They come around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. for food. There will be some hotels open even at that hour. But, they prefer our eatery because we serve tasty food,” says Rajathi.

Palanisamy, an autorickshaw driver, says, “I make sure I don’t look beyond the food in my plate. The choked drainage behind the stalls will be nauseating.”

S. Aishwarya – From THE HINDU

Tourists flock to Yercaud festival

YERCAUD: The three-day summer and flower festival, which concluded here on Sunday, attracted 7,657 tourists from far and near.

Inaugurated by Commercial Taxes Minister S. N. Ubayadulla and presided over by the Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam on May 28, the festival featured nearly one lakh flowers of different varieties to woo the tourists.

The main attractions in the festival were Micky Mouse, Standing Queen, Flying Horse etc – all made of flowers.

Art and cultural events were also performed.

From THE HINDU