Citizens' Issues
How to segregate wet waste and save Mumbai’s environment
Following the recent fire at Deonar, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to make waste segregation compulsory.  To familiarise this concept to our members, Moneylife Foundation held a special session with Jyoti Mhapsekar of Stree Mukti Sanghatana and Ashok Yamgar, Deputy Chief Engineer for Solid Waste Management (operations), of the BMC.
 
Ms Mhapsekar spoke on how we can dispose of wet waste. She explained the pyramid of waste processing. At the bottom-most level of were the rag pickers. The point that she wanted to drive home was that rag pickers needed to be eradicated from this pyramid and upgraded to jobs that offered better working conditions and lifestyles. Not involving the rag pickers serves two purposes at the same time: waste handling that benefits the environment and improving their lives. 
 
Instead of using incinerators, which make use of an extremely expensive technology, composting of wet waste should be implemented, she suggested. Consequences of using incinerators are excessive dioxide emissions, threat of large-scale fires, etc., while the only consequence of composting is the creation of manure, which can either be sold or used to grow plants.
 
Waste segregation is the most responsible and productive way to dispose of our waste. It reduces the amount of waste finally received by the BMC and can also further our progress in renewable sources of energy. However, our society, despite having an educated majority, has not taken a keen interest in segregating their waste. “If you can’t separate your one kilo waste at home, how will the municipality segregate ten thousand tons of waste at the dumping ground?”, was the question posed by Ms Mhapsekar to the audience. 
 
Mr Yamgar from BMC explained steps being taken by the Municipal Corporation for enabling waste segregation and solid waste deposition. 
 
He said waste could be segregated into three main categories namely wet waste, dry waste and hazardous waste, which includes sanitary napkins and diapers. He recommended citizens to transfer their hazardous waste to their nearest hospital so they could dispose of it along with their biomedical waste. “We are planning to introduce biogas plants in each ward office at 24 places and in the head office,” said Mr Yamgar.
 
He spoke about the biogas plant installed by the TB Hospital in Sewri. The hospital runs only on the electricity obtained by the biogas plant. He further went on to speak about five municipal gardens that had adopted composting their grass cuttings, as opposed to just discarding the cuttings without any segregation or processing. 
 
Mr Yamgar answered a number of queries and guided the audience through their problems by recommending a number of NGOs that were working in the field related to the problems.
 
The session was extremely interactive with the members of the audience firing off questions every chance they got and it is safe to say that by the end of the session everyone, including the speakers, was better informed. 
 
To make the implementation of wet waste composting easier, the Stree Mukti Sanghatana has created the Nisargadoot, a waste basket that is extremely eco-friendly and pocket-friendly (Rs450) that uses worm culture to compost the wet waste. At the talk, she showed us a demonstration on how it could be used and also spoke more about its benefits. 

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COMMENTS

Anand Vaidya

10 months ago

I have been composting all my kitchen and garden waste for the past 5+years. We also segregate plastic, paper, glass, metal objects, batteries, electronics etc and sell it off. BigBazaar accepts trash for discount vouchers once in a while. It hardly takes 5-10mins a day to properly segregate 'waste'. My observation is our trash load to municipality is probably 5% of what my neighbours produce. Yea, we have rain water harvesting in place too!

pvmaiya

10 months ago

Mumbai has neither waste segregation nor rain harvesting. These two have been practised in Bangalore for three years with considerable

pvmaiya

10 months ago

Mumbai has neither waste segregation nor rain harvesting. These two have been practised in Bangalore for three years with considerable success and citizen cooperation. It is a shame Mumbai is now attempting to do something .

pvmaiya

10 months ago

Mumbai has neither waste segregation nor rain harvesting. These two have been practised in Bangalore for three years with considerable success and citizen cooperation. It is a shame Mumbai is now attempting to do something .

Ganesh Kamat

10 months ago

There are two types of house hold wasts Garbages and raddi means - paper, plastic, package material, bottles... all Raddi can be sold every month/ weekends to get money. Only Garbage needs collections
Which is 25% of waste.
Main problem is created by so call learner people by telling Dry and Wet waste.

Roy Aranha

10 months ago

very good idea also involve all reformed convictgs to go out and work at deonar under proper supervision and tight security to implement the same

Medical error third leading cause of death in US: Experts
New York : Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer, experts have said.
 
While accurate data on deaths associated with medical error is lacking, recent estimates suggest a range of 210,000 to 400,000 deaths a year among hospital patients in the US.
 
Using studies from 1999 onwards - and extrapolating to the total number of US hospital admissions in 2013 - the researchers calculated a mean rate of death from medical error of 251,454 a year.
 
Comparing their estimate to the annual list of the most common causes of death in the US, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the US.
 
"Although we cannot eliminate human error, we can better measure the problem to design safer systems mitigating its frequency, visibility, and consequences," the researchers said in the article published in the journal The BMJ.
 
Death certificates in the US have no facility for acknowledging medical error, lamented the researchers Martin Makary and Michael Daniel from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
 
Currently, death certification in the US relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death - so causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured.
 
The researchers suggested three strategies to reduce death from medical care - making errors more visible when they occur so their effects can be intercepted, having remedies at hand to rescue patients, and making errors less frequent by following principles that take human limitations into account.
 
For instance, instead of simply requiring cause of death, they suggest that death certificates could contain an extra field asking whether a preventable complication stemming from the patient's medical care contributed to the death.
 
Another strategy would be for hospitals to carry out a rapid and efficient independent investigation into deaths to determine the potential contribution of error.
 
Measuring the consequences of medical care on patient outcomes "is an important prerequisite to creating a culture of learning from our mistakes, thereby advancing the science of safety and moving us closer towards creating learning health systems," the researchers noted.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Beware! Herbal remedies don't guarantee safety
New York : Overturning a common perception that herbs are safe because they have been used for many years, researchers have warned that long-term use of herbal remedies is no guarantee of their safety as many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances.
 
In a commentary published in the journal EMBO reports, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Stony Brook University discussed scientific evidence showing that the plant Aristolochia can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). 
 
People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track.
 
In Taiwan, according to the national prescription database, between 1997 and 2003, eight million people were exposed to herbal products containing Aristolochia, the authors remarked.
 
Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in those countries are at risk of AAN.
 
In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to the formation of complexes between aristolactam, a compound in Aristolachia, and DNA in renal tissues. 
 
These complexes lead to mutations in the TP53 tumour suppressor gene, which in turn initiate the process toward kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process may also lead to the development of cancer in the liver and the bladder, researchers Donald Marcus, professor emeritus at Baylor and Arthur Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, explained.
 
Although Aristolochia has been used as a herbal remedy for more than 2,000 years, "the intrinsic toxicities were not recognised, owing, in large part, to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, to genetic determinants that confer susceptibility to only approximately five percent of those exposed to this herb", said the authors. 
 
The long-term scientific study of AAN revealed the association of the disease with Aristolochia.
 
"The history of Aristolachia indicates that other herbs that have been used for a long time may also have toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds," said the authors.
 
"It is prudent to assume that many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances that can cause subsequent health problems for humans," they noted.
 
Other herbal products and traditional medicines are responsible for severe adverse events in Africa and Asia, but in these cases epidemiological data are lacking, said the researchers suggesting that herbal remedies may be an overlooked global health hazard.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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