Organic Household Waste in Developing Countries : An overview of environmental and health consequences, and appropriate decentralised technologies and strategies for sustainable management

University essay from Mittuniversitetet/Institutionen för teknik och hållbar utveckling

Abstract: This paper reports on environmental impacts and health hazards as a result from inadequate management of organic household waste in developing countries. It gives details of water and soil contamination, air pollution and spread of diseases through expanding breeding grounds for pathogens, vectors and rodents. To manage this waste flow sustainably, decentralised composting and anaerobic digestions technologies have been studied to give an overall picture of existing appropriate technologies, including: windrow, box/bin/barrel, THM, aerated static pile, in-vessel, vermi, ARTI compact biogas digester and BARC’S NISARG-RUNA. Comparing different technologies showed that it is crucial to consider local conditions and markets when choosing which method to implement. However, the manual composting methods: windrow/box/bin/barrel, THM and vermi, are more likely to be appropriate in regard to current conditions in developing countries. A comparison between the environmental impacts of anaerobic digestion and composting did not result in a clear indication of which technology is most favourable. However, in the literature studied, biogas production showed an overall better energy balance, and composting a better result regarding nutrient recycling and xenobiotic compounds. In terms of the mitigation effect on global warming, the results varied essentially depending on the technology used and its loss of methane during the biogas production process. Finally, this paper investigates common constraints for implementation of the above-mentioned technologies, as well as recommendations for future projects. The study of general constraints revealed the need for directing attention to education, key consequences and benefits, co-operation, exchange of knowledge and bottom-up driving forces, for sustainable and successful implementation of organic household waste management practices in developing countries.

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