North Lakhimpur district in Assam successfully clears 40 years of legacy waste
The North Lakhimpur district of Assam, India, has effectively cleared a massive accumulation of waste that had plagued the region for four decades.
The legacy waste, amounting to approximately 79,000 metric tonnes, had engulfed the Sumdiri river and its surroundings, rendering it unfit for fishing and causing severe environmental and health hazards, reported EastMojo.
Initiated by MLA Manab Deka and Lakhimpur Deputy Commissioner Sumit Sattawan, the cleaning process began in December 2021. Despite facing challenges posed by monsoon rains, the waste was successfully cleared within nine months, by March 2023.
The waste clearance involved excavation and decomposition of the municipal solid waste (MSW) through the use of organic chemicals. The resulting by-products, including refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and organic manure, were then utilized in an environmentally friendly manner.
The RDF was sent to a cement factory in Meghalaya as fuel for kilns, while the organic manure was used as fertilizer by local farmers.
The successful waste clearance has not only restored the Sumdiri river to its original condition but has also eliminated various associated challenges faced by the community. Additionally, efforts are underway to dredge the river channel and restore its full functionality.
The cost of treating the 79,000 metric tonnes of legacy waste amounted to Rs. 26.1 million, funded by the North Lakhimpur Municipal Board.
Moreover, plans are being formulated to establish a new solid waste management plant to manage the daily generated municipal solid waste and prevent the reoccurrence of legacy waste accumulation.
In line with this initiative, waste segregation is being piloted in two wards, with awareness campaigns and training programs conducted to encourage citizens to segregate waste at the source. The municipal board has also procured segregated waste collection vehicles and plans to expand waste segregation practices throughout the region.
The successful cleanup of the legacy waste in North Lakhimpur serves as a testament to the dedication and efforts of local authorities and the community to address the pressing issue of waste management, safeguarding the environment, and promoting a healthier and sustainable future.