Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Management of construction waste

 Management of construction waste
Very often we see piles of the building debris left over from demolitions and remodeling of apartment buildings on street sides. The road users have no option but to steel themselves against the negative effects of this. Even when dumpsites have been designated, dumping on the roadsides continues and people dump the debris only a few streets away under the cover of darkness. Nowadays, there is not much vacant land around the Cities for depositing debris. It would be better, if there was a comprehensive approach to tackle this menace.
Sustainable or green building construction is in practice in some parts of the world. Here, debris and construction materials are reused and recycled as a part of a larger holistic practice. Resources are efficiently utilised by reducing, reusing and recycling most materials that are left after a construction or renovation activity. This debris is used for a variety of functions such as: in paved roads as aggregate base, aggregate sub-base and shoulders; in gravel roads as surfacing; as base for building foundations. The main market abroad at present is in aggregate base and sub-base in road projects.
The local Governments assist in promoting markets for recycled aggregate as they are big Purchasers of aggregate( plots or houses) and other road construction products. Buildings can also be ‘deconstructed’ instead of demolishing. This means the orderly dismantling of building components for the purpose of reuse or recycling. Portions of buildings are taken apart or their contents removed with the main aim being put to reuse. It is as simple as tearing out cabinetry, fixtures and windows or as complicated as manually pulling apart the building frame. Construction debris can be removed from the site if the local Authorities make sure that atleast 50 to 75 percent can be reused or recycled. Hazardous waste, contaminated earth or soil and materials lacking any utility or market value require segregation. The demolition and building process should be planned to maximize the reuse of materials and make it possible to recycle the materials that will not be reused on the site.
A US Consultant speaks about the management of solid debris in environmentally friendly Green Buildings. She says that it must be insisted upon that all the Civil Contractors and make a note of all the waste generated and maintain an account of what they do with it. Such waste is usually powdered and used for road leveling, paving etc on the site. Many Contractors have Vendors to handle the rest, but it is hard to monitor them. There are independent Quasi-Governmental Organisations in other Countries that handle waste and they have the advantage of having a local Official to control all this. In India, even with all the codes and standards there is no enforcement.
The City Corporation will charge a reasonable amount for transporting the debris to low-lying parks and other such dumping grounds. However, the fact remains that the Lorries used make only very few trips as they have to travel very far for the purpose of apartments. Many Builders seem to be lacking in awareness about the designated dumpsites. According to a Disposal Consultant, who has handled several such debris, if the areas for dumping are clearly spelt out nobody would like to dump debris wherever they feel like. Knowing the limitations of the City Corporation, Builders often deal with rubbish Lorry Owner, who pinpoints a low-lying area, takes money from all the parties and removes the debris for being dumped in these low lying areas. Such an activity is harmful to the Society and the people, since this debris may contain poisonous material which could harm the soil and quality of water.
As low-lying areas are very important ecologically, the Zonal Officers and ground level Officials should enforce the system of collection of debris, so that debris can be managed in a sustainable manner by converting it to building material (used as concrete) in the form of crushed and graded billets and road material (used bonding with cement).This debris can be utilised in low-end compacting functions, foundations, road areas and for heightening purposes. Builders must be made to recycle solid waste.
It is very simple to deal with debris and those who manage solid waste have simply to ponder these points; what are the available opportunities for reducing and recycling demolition waste and debris? How can the job be handled efficiently to manage and collect waste for reuse or recycling? Only a lot of thinking and planning with the cooperation of the Politicians and the Bureaucrats can put into practice the debris management in a scientific way. Our environment needs to be rescued from enough of such problems that already plague it.

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