A delegation led by Zhabtog Lyonpo attended the “8th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific“, 9-12 April, 2017 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India under the theme “Achieving Clean water, Clean land and Clean Air through 3R and resource Efficiency- A 21st Century Vision for Asia- Pacific Communities”. The UNCenter for Regional Development (UNCRD) and Ministry of Environment of Japan jointly launched the Regional 3R Forum in Asia, in November 2009, with the objective to provide strategic policy advice to National Government in mainstreaming 3Rs in the overall policy, planning, and development.
3R Forum is an annual event that brings together the key stakeholders from 45 different countries in Asia and Pacific to address policies, programs, measures, tools and technologies in the context of achieving resource efficiency, sustainable production, and consumption and integrated solid waste management. The forum provides knowledge sharing platform for sharing best practices in 3Rs areas including new and emerging issues in waste management.
H.E. Ms. Sumitra Mahajan, Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Shaba, Parliament of India, graced the opening of the 8th 3R Forum. More than 700 participants attended the forum from about 45 countries, comprising of high-level government representatives, international experts, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private and business sectors.
- Towards Zero Waste Society – The 3Rs way
- The 3Rs and clean water- The role of the Circular Economy in Reducing Water Pollution
- The 3Rs and Clean Land- The role of the Circular Economy in preventing Land Pollution
- The 3Rs and Clean Air- The role of the Circular Economy in the prevention of air pollution
- 3R for protection of Coastal and Marine Ecosystem
- Greening of SMEs and Enhancing National Productivity- Role of Circular Economy
- Resource Security and 3R Technologies
- Financing 3R- Domestic and International Investments
The focus of the forum was on the problems of wastes finally ending up in water bodies, land pollution and air pollution and how circular economy can be used to reduce water pollution, prevent air pollution and land pollution. The forum highlighted the integration of 3R in resource efficiency and moving from linear economy (use to dump) to circular economy (use to re-use and re-cycle) through engaging private sector, investing in new and appropriate technology, providing right incentive and political will.
As part of the Forum, there were several parallel events of which of significance was the “Asian Mayors Policy Dialogue on achieving clean water, clean land and clean air through 3R and resource efficiency”. The forum also included 3R exhibitions of a variety of technical solutions, innovation and industries related to re-use, re-cycle and recovery from the Asia Pacific region.
Zhabtog Lyonpo chaired the 2nd Plenary Session on “The 3Rs and Clean Water-The Role of the Circular Economy in reducing Water pollution”. The discussions revolved around how cities are facing double-edged sword of increased water demand and decreased freshwater resources due to wastewater polluting the water bodies. The session covered shifting from linear water economy (use to dump) to the circular economy (use to resources for re-use, re-cycle) for zero waste. The session highlighted the need to monitor the management of the Demand Side such as conservation, reducing use together with the supply side of management.
Other sessionsdiscussed on the importance of Public Private Partnerships, SMEs and financing in the context of moving towards Zero Waste societies. Discussion around the role of various 3R technologies such as 3Rs in healthcare waste management talked about waste minimization, Green procurement, safe reuse, recycling and recovery.
Field visits to Waste Management in Indore City
ZhabtogLyonpo along with the officials from Bhutan and accompanied by officials from Indore Municpal Corporation (IMC) visited following sites on April 8, 2018.
- Waste Transfer Station at Star Square:
The team visited the waste transfer station at Star Square, Indore where the dry and wet wastes collected from door to door services are stored in two separate large containers. According to the Plant manager, approximately 600metric tons of wet wastes collected daily are used to produce methane, which is further used for producing electricity and used for running the Plant. The vehicles deployed for the door-to-door collection had two compartments where both the wet and dry wastes are collected at the same time. It also had a pocket-like bin at the rear of the vehicle where the pharmaceutical wastes such as expired medicines and sanitary napkinsare collected.
- Integrated Solid Waste processing facility
The team also visited the Integrated Solid Waste processing facility at Devguradia, Indore that is spread across 146 acres. This centralized processing unit has Centralized Organic Wet Waste Processing Unit(Aerobic Composting Unit), Material recovery Facility and Bio remediation PlantSome parts of the old landfill are being reclaimed through Bio-mining and Bio-remediation.
3.Decentralized Bio-methanation plant at Choithram Mandi, Indore
This plant is located next to the largest vegetable market where approximately 20-25 Metric ton per day of fruits and vegetables are generated daily. About 20 MT of fruits and vegetables wastes are treated per day through Bio-CNG plant and approximately 200kg of metahane gas are generated. The pressurized Bio-CNG gas is used as a fuel to operate about 20 city buses. The rest of the organic waste is treated through the constructed compost pits.
- Sewerage Treatment Plant
The team also visited the Sewerage Treatment plant at Kabitkhedi, Indore. This STP is considered as the largest in Asia with the capacity of 245 MLD. The technology used is Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) and has been operational since mid 2016.
Conclusions, lessons and takeaways
- Wastes management is recognized as one of the key challenges in the Asia Pacific region, in the light of rapid urbanization, rising income and changing lifestyle. Asia Pacific region house approximately 60% of the world population and it is the fastest growing region with many of the dynamic production hubs.
- Waste management is also recognized as a multi-sectoral issue that requires strong political will, engagement of scientific research and technology solutions, the involvement of communities/citizens, the participation of private sector, industries and civil society. The Forum had brought together the different stakeholders to share experiences and showcase successful stories.
- One of the approaches promulgated in addressing waste management on a sustainable basis is the circular economy concept of “use to re-use, re-cycle and recover” against previous practice of “use to dump”. This is a zero-waste concept. For zero waste, industries or any developments proposals are required to base on circular economy principles.
- The Forum showcased several successful solutions in managing wastewater and solid wastes.
- Japan presented a decentralized system of wastewater treatment called “Johkasou” which could be used for population ranging from one family to a larger community.
- In India, several composting technologies have been developed including simple household level composting in earthen pots to automated machines. Composting is done using microbes, sawdust or dry leaves and composting is attained within a day or in 30 to 45 days. Depending on the technology used.
- The city of Indore has done away with common public bins and gone for daily collection. Daily collection system if done efficiently has proved successful in reducing litters. The impact was visible in Indore city.
- Sustainable waste management requires complete solutions from the efficient collection, transfer of wastes and treatment that results in resources for re-use or re-cycling and recover. Different technologies are available which should be backed up by enabling policies, legislations and resources. Waste management has to be a movement where all stakeholders are involved. “Swachh Baharat” or “Clean India” has facilitated in accelerating several initiatives to address waste problems in Bhutan.
- Bhutan has introduced 9th December as the “National Cleaning Day”. This should be extended to incorporate the concept of 3Rs in addition to the collection of the wastes as is done presently.
- Bhutan can adopt some of the technical solutions on a pilot and demonstration basis, especially the technologies on composting.
- The 3R Forum is found to be highly beneficial to learn on innovative solutions in tackling wastes. Bhutan should consider hosting 3R Forum in the near future. This will enable generating a better understanding of urbanization and its related challenges especially in the area of waste management. While Bhutan can showcase its good policies on the environment but can also learn from other countries experiences of successes.