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Vol 86, March 2006 33Source Specific Quantification and Characterization of Municipal SolidWaste  a ReviewV Gawaikar, Non-memberDr V P Deshpande, FellowMunicipal agencies manage municipal solid wastes from urban areas with the objectives of providing good sanitation facilities as also protectingpublic health. Estimation of resource requirement for collection, transportation, processing and disposal requires correct assessment of quantityof waste generated per day from different sources and their characteristics. However, it is done arbitrarily merely on number of trips of vehiclesbasis and without knowing characteristics. As a result, the solid waste management system is not operated satisfactorily. In view of this, sourcespecific quantification and characterization of municipal solid waste assumes great significance which will enable accurate assessment of wasteload and it would be easier for proper planning of solid waste management system. This would help in achieving the objectives of properutilization of available resources and protection of environment and public health. The present paper highlights the importance of sourcespecific quantification and characterization of municipal solid waste. A critical review of earlier work done at various places has been madeand salient features of the same have been presented in this paper.Keywords : Municipal solid waste; Segregation of waste; Waste categories; Source specific quantification and characterization; Appropriate methodologyINTRODUCTIONIn every urban centre, huge quantity of solid waste is generatedduring various activities. These wastes are to be stored, collected,transported, processed and disposed of in an environment friendlymanner, so as to keep the city neat and clean. In spite of incurringhuge expenditure, the services that are provided to the solid wastemanagement are not fulfilling the requirement, causing public healthhazards and nuisance. Hence, there is a strong need to developappropriate technology for the proper management of urban solidwastes.Solid waste management is a large, ongoing, vital public systemspread over the entire city area and the system is responsible formaintaining the public surroundings. Hence, the system has to beplanned rationally for a long and short term. Moreover, as thesystem handles huge quantities of solid waste, it is necessary tohave detailed information on quantification and characterizationof solid waste for proper handling of solid waste at different stagesof the system. Presently, majority of Municipal Corporations/Councils do not weigh their waste but the quantities are estimatedon the basis of number of trips of trucks which carry the waste todisposal site. Moreover, the solid waste management system is notplanned or executed rationally due to non-availability of authenticor relevant information on waste generation. As the solid wastequantities are increasing in all cities and towns due to urbanizationand industrialization, these have raised concerns about theeconomic viability and environmental compatibility of the currentwaste management methodologies.SOURCE SPECIFIC QUANTIFICATION ANDCHARACTERIZATIONIn absence of weighbridge facility at disposal sites in number ofcities the records are not maintained for quantity of waste per day.All types of wastes are collected and mixed together at communitybin. This method does not give correct picture of a waste generationareas. It is very difficult to keep a record of quantity of wastegeneration from each source. Hence, there should be reliableinformation on solid waste quantification and characterization,which is the prime requirement of the system. Because of the non-availability of daily records of quantification, one can not assessthe total expenditure involved for disposal of the solid waste. Ithas been observed that 60% - 75% of the generated waste isdisposed of at landfill site. Remaining part of the waste is eitherthrown into the drain or along the roadside, for which data can notbe correctly assessed for the design of the system. The municipalsolid waste contains vegetable market waste, glass, paper, plastic,and other organic fractions and inert matter from different sources,such as, residential, commercial and institutional areas. Ragpickersare also collecting the recyclable waste from the community bins.The overall effect is non-availability of adequate information onquantification of solid waste.Source specific solid waste quantification and characterization isvery much required to assess the quality and quantity of solid wastegenerated. Now-a-days, the waste is quantified on the basis of totalwaste generation in the city. It has not been categorized so far indifferent categories to know quantity of every component of thewaste1.In the present paper, an attempt has been made to review theavailable literature on source specific quantification andcharacterization of municipal solid waste.SOLID WASTE QUANTIFICATIONThe most important aspect of solid waste management is thequantity of waste to be managed. The quantity determines the sizeand number of functional units and equipments required formanaging the waste. The quantities are measured in terms of weightand volume. The weight is fairly constant for a given set of discardedobjects whereas volume is highly variable.V Gawaikar and Dr V P Deshpande are with the Solid WasteManagement Division, National Environmental Engineering ResearchInstitute(NEERI), Nagpur 440 020.This paper was received on May 03, 2004. Written discussion on this paper will beentertained till May 31, 2006.34 IE(I) Journal-ENWaste quantities are usually estimated on the basis of past recordsof waste generation. The methods commonly used to assess thequantities are (i) load count analysis; (ii) weight volume analysis;and (iii) material balance analysis2.SOLID WASTE CHARACTERIZATIONCollection of SampleThere are number of procedures to obtain samples from the municipalsolid waste. Some of the methods are mentioned below3 :1. Assembling a composite sample from material taken frompredetermined points in the load (such as, each corner and middleof each side);2. Cornering and quartering;3. Collecting a grab sample from randomly selected point usingfront-end loader;4. Manually collecting a column of waste from a randomlyselected location.Size of SampleRefuse characteristics depend on the number of factors, such as,food habits, cultural traditions, socio-economic and


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