Thursday, September 8, 2011

Solid Waste Management

  In a developing country, the problems associated with solid waste management are more acute than in a developed country (Zerboc 2003). Lack of financial resources and infrastructure to deal with solid waste creates a vicious cycle; lack of resources leads to low quality of service provision which leads to fewer people willing to pay for said services, which in turn further erodes the resource base and so on (Kuniyal et al. 1998; Zerboc, 2003). The problem is further complicated by rapid growth in population and urbanization, which adds greatly to the volume of waste being generated and to the demand for waste retrieval service in municipal areas. However, more often than not, an increase in population is not matched with an equal increase in revenue for the local municipalities for waste management (Zerboc 2003). Besides this, rapid urbanization means rapid growth of shanty dwelling units that are largely unplanned for, and add to the waste, health, and hygiene problems.

Another significant factor that contributes to the problem of solid wastes in a developing country scenario is the lack of proper collection and transportation facilities. Improper planning coupled with rapid growth of population and urbanization serves to add congestion in streets, and as a result the waste collection vehicles cannot reach such places, thus allowing filth to build up over time. Lack of monetary resources, at times, results in improper or no transportation vehicles for waste disposal adding another dimension to the ever rising cycle of problems (Jain 1994; Zerboc 2003).
In any developing country, the threats posed by improper handling and disposal of solid wastes (though often ignored) contribute to the high level of 2 mortality and morbidity (Medina 2002). Human and ecosystem health is also threatened due to improper handling of solid wastes.

In addition to all the problems mentioned above, mountainous regions in developing countries face additional challenges in solid waste management, in terms of their highly fragile environment and difficult terrain. The problems associated with solid waste in the mountainous region have serious cascading effects on the lower valley. Often solid waste is the number one threat to the fragile ecology of the mountainous environment (Jain 1994). Besides this, seasonal tourist inflow adds significantly to the demands on resource base and contributes considerably to the amount of wastes generated. Lack of proper regulations fails to encapsulate the waste generated by the tourists and fees to be paid there of (Jain 1994; Kuniyal et al. 1998; Cole and Sinclair 2002).

World Health Organization (WHO), Chang et al. (2001) recognized seven different ways, through which pollutants can transport back to affect human health.
Waste → soil → human.
Waste → soil → plant → human.
 Waste → soil → plant → animal →human.
Waste → soil → atmosphere → human.
 Waste → soil → surface runoff → surface water → human.
Waste → soil → vadose zone → groundwater → human.
Waste → soil → animal → human, waste → soil → airborne particulate→ human
Source: Chang et al. (2001) (for details visit

The most serious impediment for a sustainable solid waste management is that, there is a wide range of individuals, groups and organizations that are involved with waste as service users, service providers, intermediaries and/or regulators (Zerboc 2002). The interests, agendas and roles of these actors form a complicated web, which defines and designs the prevalent waste management system in any developing nation (Sudhir et al 1997). Collection and disposal of refuse within an urban area has been traditionally perceived as the responsibility of the local municipal government (formal public sector). However, in a developing country scenario the provision of waste management system by the local government is generally inadequate, centralized, top-down and in most cases inefficient (Cointreau 1982). Following which, many developing nations have a dynamic informal sector that has evolved around wastes, which supports the livelihood of a large number of the urban poor. The most common occupations are informal refuse collection and scavenging, which are undertaken by unemployed, women, children, recent migrants, etc for their sustenance and livelihood (Median 2002). The informal sector consists of many “actors” such as waste-pickers, itinerant-buyers, small scrap dealers, and wholesalers (refer figure 2.3). In India, the informal sector is attributed with recycling about 10–15% of the solid waste generated in the cities (Sudhir et al 1997). Though a formal private sector (private companies dealing with all aspects of waste management) is emerging strongly in many developing countries, however, it is yet to be an alternative to the current formal public sector. In many cases it has been seen that private sectors are generally motivated by the idea of profit maximization; the poorer section of the society in many developing countries lack the financial resources to subscribe to the services provided by private waste management companies (Sudhir et al.1997). The interactions between these formal and informal sectors design the existing waste management system in most of the developing countries.

Reusing relates to the recovery of items to be used again. Reusing ensures reduction in raw material consumption saves energy and water, reduces pollution and prevents the generation of waste. Medina (2003) regards reuse of materials and products as more socially desirable than recycling the same materials. For instance, in India, soft-drinks (Coke, Pepsi etc) are sold in glass bottles and a deposit-refund system operates. A person deposits some amount of money on purchase of the soft drink, which he/she gets back on depositing the bottle, thus enabling the producer to regulate his supply of container without having to produce new ones. Products, such as office furniture and appliances, can also be reused. For instance Manitoba Hydro donated their old office furniture and building waste to Manitoba eco-network, which was used to build a new office for the network; thus saving both time and valuable resources for both Manitoba Hydro and Eco-network. A reuse program not only saves money, it also can be a source of revenue for the companies/households that implement it. The best example would be Interface, which reuses old carpets to produce new ones, thus saving valuable resources and promoting sustainability at the same time. Public policies that provide incentives for businesses and individuals to engage in reuse can have a significant and positive economic and environmental impact (Sudhir et al. 1997, Medina 2002, Zerboc 2003). In a developing country framework, it is to be noted that due to poor economic conditions, repairing and

Although recycling is one of the most important aspects of waste management in the developed nations, due to the composition of waste and other factors, recycling may not be much of an option in terms of developing country. Separation of waste materials at the household level is perhaps a universal phenomenon; more so in developing countries where separation of anything valuable is undertaken with care, which prevents valuables and reusable materials from being discarded. The existence of waste pickers, scavengers etc, recover other valuable materials from entering the waste stream. Especially in developing countries, itinerant buyers play a vital role in recovering materials for recycling, they buy every material that has some monetary value, news papers, plastic bottles, old shoes etc (Zerboc 2003). It is however, evident that some improvement in these traditional systems can be brought about. A formalized waste recycling or recovery system supported by local municipality can go a long way in ensuring health safety for the workers, chances of better income for the rag pickers, scavengers and small time merchants dealing with waste (Zerboc 2003). Recycling waste can be a viable economic option even for some urban cities, where the nature and characteristics of waste is quite similar to the developed nations. In case of waste composition not favoring recycling, other options (recovery, diversion etc.) should be seriously considered. In the event that local municipal governments are unable to provide recycling facility due to lack of funds, private partnerships need to be encouraged and looked into as a viable option (Sudhir et al 1997, Medina 2002, Zerboc 2003).

For a developing country, looking into the waste composition and other socio-economic factors, the best form of waste reduction would be composting. It is a basic low-technology approach. Theoretically the waste of many developing nations would be ideal for reduction through composting, since it contains higher composition of organic material than industrialized countries. Hoornweg, et al (1999) calculated that on an average, urban centers in developing countries have 50% organic content in their waste stream. Early studies conducted by Cointreau (1982), found 78-81% compostable materials in the household waste generated in major cities of Indonesia and Srilanka (Bandung and Colombo respectively). In a more recent study conducted by Zurbrugg (2003) found that major Asian cities like, Hanoi, Karachi, Katmandu and many Indian cities has 68-82% compostable waste content (refer Table -2); however, it is ironic that composting is not widely practiced in the developing countries (Zerboc 2003).

The advantages of composting are numerous; it reduces the amount of waste significantly. It can be used as fertilizer and natural manure for agricultural uses, it also reduces the release of landfill gas emissions considerably and since it is a natural process, it reduces the damage to environment. Besides this, the foul stench covering any waste dump site is basically generated due to the rotting of organic waste, which will be controlled to a great extent if we go for composting instead of allowing the waste to rot (Sudhir et al 1997, Medina 2002, Zerboc 2003). Zerboc (2003) notes that composting can be undertaken in three levels: Household, community and large scale centralized level (throughout the municipality). Unfortunately, large scale operations have been a dismal failure; owing to huge amount of investment required, need to keep the equipments in working conditions etc.

(This are extracts from my Lecturer's thesis).  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

that happens only in .........

Due to the sudden strike in the hills which occurs very frequently, we were stranded by a week or so in our beautiful Fairview (and we called ourselves the fairies) hostel during the opening of our college. We were so much bored with our monotonous way of life that was sleeping, eating and watching TV and of course chatting because the only place for recreation and the market were all closed.

After growing very impatient from many more days of recluse and homesick, we were overjoyed with excitement when we heard that college would be opening the next day. Day before we had gone to the market to get some new clothing for the grand opening.

 Finally, when it opened its gate for the new session with many enthusiastic fresher from around the locality, we were very reluctant to approach because through grapevine, we learnt that there’s going to be kinda ragging for the fresher.  Yet the day started out quite well with heavy showers & we went to the hostel chapel for our morning prayer. In spite of our seniors giving us dress code they were very friendly, helpful and polite. We were supposed to wear red top n black jeans for the girls and white shirt and black pants for the boys.  There seemed nothing of ragging and a hostile atmosphere. Made us really feel at home. But not to mention we got our share latter in our life from both our seniors at the college as well as the hostel.

Class Room…No girls and boys to sit together… Serious announcement regarding the sitting arrangements in the class too. There was much chaos in the class on the first day when a young man slightly a few years older entered our class and as supposed he didn’t sit in any of the bench. We were wondering who he was when he straight away went to the front and introduced himself as our Economics Lecturer. It was like a dream, never missing any of his class, waiting for him in the steps.
At the hostel each one of us had talked innumerous time that we would be meeting someone special here & here he was.  That is how I met the man of my dreams even though, he doesn’t know that I exist somewhere else. And, guess what many of the fairies found someone or the other in this very Height of Learning. And, as some would say Mon Mon Mai Love, Mon Mon Mai Break that happens only in Darjeeling.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Remembering Times

 Sometimes back we (two of my friend sisters and me) were terribly in search of an apartment.  Finally we got one on the outskirt of the town, though our peers helped us a lot in our search. We hurriedly went for a shopping spree, bought some curtains and other basic stuffs, etc. We settled down immediately and were so excited for the new beginning that we didn’t take note of a Very Important Person who was going to be a part of our life till the period we were going to stay there.
We realized what a blunder it was on the first day when the tap ran dry and tenants there survived on the mercy of the landlady. Scarcity of water. The flow of water on the tap depended on the mood of our dear lady. For me, it was not the first time I faced such a situation. I had suffered similar instances earlier in my life while studying in a boarding school. It reminded me of some bygone era.
One after another challenges surfaced. We became the object of interest in our landlady’s eyes since we were three young girls perhaps. Much to our amusement, she was handling our lives. She became a source of pain, enquiring about our whereabouts each day… just like a stern matron or for that matter a mom. No doubt, she was a matron; rising us daily at five in the morning (Can anyone believe??). Over the time, we befriended the stray dogs but it was a nightmare for our friends who visited us. They never allowed any stranger to pass our locality. And, yeah the disposal of garbage. So, when you see the road sides and rivers being polluted think of it. People don’t throw garbage everywhere purposely.
But one generous quality which impressed me a lot about her was the cleaning campaign that she initiated. Every weekend along with the tenants she cleaned the basements, swept the floor,. And to mention she graciously invited us for the cleaning campaign on our first Sunday there. A salute to our bossy lady.  
A larger part of our memories are already engrained there. We teased each other about the big ladder that was kept near our veranda when we come home from late night parties, and a bike on the basement, may be waiting for us to ride it when we go for late night out.
After staying there for three months we kinda couldn’t survive our lady and her untimely wishes. So, we moved on. Now we are once again in search of freedom and joy, to explore the unknown. Our small rendezvous with the wild was unexpectantly exciting. We learnt to live with each other and formed a strong companion to defend the intruders. We were accustomed to a life of help, share and care for each other. We taught each other how to survive in the world. So, we became good buddies once again.
(P.S just my opinion on the problems suffered by tenants).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Impromptu Guide

On the eve of  International Women’s Day, when most women were celebrating womanhood, I had a unique adventure of scaling Thimphu’s historical monuments & sites of interest with two of my Indian friends who were in Bhutan for a holiday treat. While both of them were from Udaipur (Rajasthan) and since they were here for the first time, I volunteered to take them on the tour to Thimphu. We started our day with the visit to Folk Heritage Museum.
For the first time in my life I was struck with wilderness that I wasn’t able to explain on the typical Bhutanese house, a lack of culture awareness I assume which made me very guilty that I do not know the very existence of our livelihood. I felt more guiltier when I realized that this is the same houses where our ancestors lived. The massive three storied structure seemed nothing to me, just a house like any other. But luckily a lady guide escorted us and I was lucky that she came to my rescue and explained to us in minute details on the importance of the house etc.  The lady guide gave us every li’l details & information on that particular instance and answered all our queries.
Again I was struck for words for the second time on the same day when they started complaining that they saw nothing in the museum. It was nothing to them.  Anyways it was hard explaining them about it since we belong to a different inter social culture. But they admitted how nice it felt & how peaceful Bhutan was and quite unlikely said that Bhutanese are very well disciplined people. Might be they assumed it when they learnt that our people do not talk a lot unlike them or maybe they got a talk less guide which is very likely me.
 Our second stop was the JDWM Chorten or rather call it as stupa which my friends called often. I was relieved again on the explanation front when a mini coaster bus full of tourists and a guide arrived on the scene. We listened carefully when the guide explained details regarding the importance of the three painting on the entrance gate of the chorten. He even said that everywhere (in any dzongs, chortens etc) we find those similar painting, got to check on that latter (for now I even forgot what he said). Our itinerary list was full for the day, touring the nook and corner of Thimphu. So, we immediately headed towards the Buddha tower next, without wasting our time. The Buddha statue impressed my friends a lot. And reckoned that nowhere had they seen such a massive and beautiful and elegant sight like this. It was quite impressive for me too. Even the bemused impromptu guide felt very proud (that’s me).
And the last part of our tour was visiting the local handicraft shops. They wanted to try out some souvenirs for their friend back at home. One of them wanted a singing bowl. We tried every shop to get the one that she likes. My friends were very clever and inquired about the price in every shop until they could settle for a reasonable one. At last after much bargain we found one. That day was really hectic. For if I hadn’t taken that trip I wouldn’t have been so enlightened. And knew the tricks so well. And would have missed the very essence of our livelihood.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES.

• Bold those books you've read in their entirety.

• Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses! (Or not, after all reading is not a competition! I'm betting that we're all well over 6 books, and I am curious to see the common ground).

1.Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

 6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare  

 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

 20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis (this is the first book of the chronicles of narnia)

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 

 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

 70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

 71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

 72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

 74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

 80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It can't be It's not possible

It can't be
It's not possible
That's what I told myself
There's no way that I'm in love with you

Its just jealousy
I must be lonely
I tried fooling myself
but now I can't hide it anymore

I think I love you
It must be true
Cause I miss you
When you're not around
I can't do anything
I keep thinking about
Seeing how things are---I know

I'm falling for you
I didn't realize it
Now I need you
All of the time
I now understand that
Somehow, you've already grown deep
in my heart

They say we're not suited for each other
That is better for us to be friends

From one to ten
We can never agree on anything
How can we be in a relationship?
When everyone says we cant last?
Their words have been in my thought
But I don't want to think about it anymore

I think I love you
It must be true
Cause I miss you
When you're not around
I can't do anything
all I do is just think about you
Seeing how things are---I know
I'm falling for you
I didn't realize it
Now I need you
All of the time
I can now see that you've already grown
grown deep in my heart

Why didn't I realize what I felt about you immediately?
hoo yeah..
Why didn't I see you when you were just in front of my eyes?
ooh yeah..
The whole time you were just beside me all along

Why didn't I realize
that I've loved you all along
oohh ohh...

I think I love you
That's what it seems
Cause I miss you
When you're not around
I can't do anything
All I do is just think about you
Seeing how things are--- I know
I'm falling for you
I didn't realize it
Now I miss you
All of the time
I can see now
That you've already grown deep
in my heart
And that I've loved you all along.