TM Censured for Inferior Waste Management

TM Censured for Inferior Waste ManagementTM Censured for Inferior Waste Management

Waste disposal in landfills should take place at night and not during the daytime.

“This will prevent waste pickers from collecting discarded material in an unhealthy environment that can lead to the spread of various infectious diseases,” said Rahmatollah Hafezi, chairman of the health committee of the Tehran City Council.

In the current year’s budget (started March 21), $23.5 million has been allocated to purchase incinerators, but the Tehran Municipality (TM) has not taken any action in this regard, the Persian language newspaper ‘Iran’ reported.

Incineration is a waste treatment process which converts waste into ash, flue gas and heat. Incinerators can reduce the solid mass of the original waste by 80 to 85%.

Hafezi said by continuing the traditional method of disposal, landfills won’t have space for garbage within the next two years. “Incinerators can help us address the issue.”

“The municipality does not respect the basic principles of hygienic waste disposal. Their performance leaves much to be desired,” he said, adding that “unfortunately, despite the recycling lines a huge amount of waste is still buried in the landfill.”

Landfill is the most inefficient and unsanitary way of disposing waste. A landfill site, also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump or dumping ground is a site for disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment.

After passing through recycling machines, the remaining unrecyclable waste should be buried according to scientific methods in specific closed space so that they don’t find their way into underground water resources. Intubation should also be provided for the withdrawal of methane gas.

 Hospital Waste

“The TM is also not taking responsibility for hospital waste. All hospitals are required to dispose their waste after disinfecting it,” he pointed out.

However, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the TM and the Health Ministry recently, the municipality has agreed to collect and disinfect hospital waste for a pre-determined fee based on the weight of the waste.

Unfortunately, every day 90 tons of hospital waste is disposed in Kahrizak landfill in south Tehran. The municipality only pours calcium hydroxide, traditionally called slaked lime, on the waste but the solution cannot kill all pathogens or deactivate the toxins; therefore, toxic pollutants can find their way into the environment.

Even after the formulation of policies and laws on hospital waste management, the TM still lacks policies for handling and disposal of healthcare waste, he said.

Referring to Kahrizak landfill’s deep black pit of leachate in an area of four hectares, Hafezi said small amounts of leachate can pollute large amounts of groundwater.

The factory for treatment of leachate is closed, he said, without elaborating on the reasons for its closure, noting that “untreated leachate can cause serious harm to underground aquifers.”

Every day, 5,600 tons of solid waste enters Kahrizak (Aradkouh) landfill, 24 km from the southernmost part of Tehran. It has been in use for over 45 years and so far has received over 35 million tons of waste.