Thursday December 14, 2017

Lao Government Orders Factory to Stop Recycling Spent Beer Malt over Pollution Concerns

Spent beer malt is wet when it comes out of the brewing process and it can spoil rapidly causing both a horrible stench and water pollution

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Beerlao Beer, Wikimedia

Laos, October 15, 2016: The Lao government ordered a factory in the capital Vientiane that recycles 80 tons of spent beer malt a day to shut down after its owners failed to control pollution from the process, RFA’s Lao Service has learned.

“We have suffered from the bad smell for over a year since the factory started operations,” Doung village chief Sinakhone Khottaphome told RFA’s Lao Service.

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“The leftover malt is left in the yard, not kept in the safe warehouses,” he added. “So when the rain comes it flows into the fields and pollutes the water.”

The factory in the Saysettha district’s Doung village recycles spent brewer’s malt from the Lao Brewing Company breweries and exports the used grains to Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods, where it is turned into animal feed.

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Owned by Xaiyadeth Vongxay, the Lao factory began operations in May 2015, and has been the subject of many complaints and several provincial shutdown orders.

Xaiyadeth Vongxay is the son of Kissna Vongxay, the chairman of the Lao Brewery Company that brews the popular Beerlao and other beverages.

Ownership of the company is split between the Lao government and the Carlsberg brewing giant. It claims a 99 percent share of the Lao beer market.

While recycling spent beer malt is generally considered an environmentally sustainable practice, it also creates pollution on its own.

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Spent beer malt is wet when it comes out of the brewing process and it can spoil rapidly causing both a horrible stench and water pollution, while smoke emerging from dryer stacks causes odor pollution problems.

“The factory releases stinking smoke from burning coals in the production, and that seriously troubles the villagers,” Sinakhone Khottaphome said.  “If the factory is still here, villagers cannot live.”

Illegally built and poorly operated

Problems with the Lao spent beer grain facility go beyond the just the process, as regulators in the country found the factory was built illegally and is operated without the proper environmental and business licenses.

On Oct. 5, the Ministry of Natural Resources department of pollution control issued a notice confirming that the factory is located in the wrong place because it is too close to the nearby community.

The factory’s owners have also ignored repeated orders to clean up their act.

On July 29, the Vientiane Administration Office ordered the factory to stop operations, and on September 9, Vientiane’s Industrial and Commerce Department also ordered the factory to cease operations. The Saysettha governor’s office also issued a stop order on Sept. 30.

All were ignored by the factory’s owners.

While the more than 300 families affected by the factory hope the latest stop order is more effective, Sinakhone Khottaphome said a truck delivered more spent beer malt to the factory on Oct. 12 but had yet to process it.

“During this time, the factory stopped production after Mr. Chaleun Yiapaoher came to order the shut-down on Oct. 11, but the villagers are now keeping a close eye on it,” he said. “Yesterday [Oct. 12] villagers saw a truck transporting the leftover malt to the factory, but production did not start up, yet.”

Beer grain glut

Regulation of spent beer grains is controversial worldwide. Breweries in the U.S. and the U.K., where environmental regulations are more robust, have been fined or installed controls to maintain air quality. World brewer’s grain production worldwide is thought to be in the range of 35-40 million tons.

In one California case, the craft brewery Firestone Walker Brewing Co. installed $1 million worth of pollution controls, even though the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found the air quality acceptable, according toThe Tribune in San Louis Obispo, Calif.

While the CARB may have deemed pollution levels there to be acceptable, it also found that the pollution can still cause health effects that include headache, nausea and irritability. At higher concentrations, gas from the process is considered an “irritant,” producing symptoms such as eye irritation, cough and sore throat.

The amount of spent brewers grain varies with the size of the brewery, but it is unlikely that the Firestone Walker Brewing Co. produced anywhere near the amount of spent grain that is processed by the Doung village factory. (Benar News)

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Swiss Researchers’ Envirobot Slithers through Waterways to Detect Pollution and Toxins

Envirobot appears as a water snake but is actually a collection of little segments, all doing different jobs

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Envirobot
Envirobot helps in detecting water pollution. Pixabay
  • Envirobot, the latest biomimetic fabrication by Swiss researchers, appears as a water snake
  • Its job when fully developed will be to guard water bodies looking for pollution and toxins
  • Envirobot is better than conventional propeller-driven underwater robots as it is less likely to get in branches and algae when they move around

Switzerland, August 6, 2017: As per the Pacific Institute, more than 2 million tons of a wide range of waste is pumped into the world’s waters each day. Researchers have become great at recognizing it, however not very great at finding the source of pollution. However, Envirobot, the latest biomimetic fabrication by Swiss researchers, provides a solution.

It appears as a water snake but is actually a collection of little segments, all doing different jobs. They are taking it on a test drive around bodies of water in search of toxins and other substances which can harm aquatic animals in order to take control of water pollution.

ALSO READ: Human hair holds the key to solving water pollution

 The segments of Envirobot are identical so that the joint can oscillate in water. The head coordinates the motion of different segments in order to create a serpentine pattern which propels the whole robot. Its job when fully developed will be to guard water bodies on its own looking for pollution and toxins.
It can also send data to computers in real time as it swims. Its tiny chambers get filled with water as the robot swims through water. Envirobot is more efficient and accurate as it can collect water from multiple spots in a lake or river. It will be used as a measure to detect metals as they can harm people and aquatic life.

Instead of having a measurement station somewhere or going out to take a sample and bringing it back to the lab, the robot will actually slither in water bodies and measure a number of water quality parameters in real time. Envirobot is better than conventional propeller-driven underwater robots as it is less likely to get in branches and algae when they move around.

Each segment of the Envirobot is unique so as to enable it to perform all kinds of water tests at the same time. For instance one segment measures very general quality parameters like temperature, conductivity, pH, oxygen level, so as to say whether water quality is good or not. Other segments carry bacteria, fish cells and even tiny water fleas that can react to toxins and insecticides in the water body.

The researchers’ ultimate goal is to create a full-time autonomous pollution sniffing robot and prevention of water pollution. What they are yet to achieve is to enable the Envirobot to by itself locate the source of the pollution. This will help to measure and decide where to go next which is a very challenging project. Given the amount of waste that is being dumped or pumped into the world’s waterways, it is a very worthy goal.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025

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The Popular Recycled Wastewater Treatment Plants Get a Go Signal in India

From toilet to tap, the future of drinking water is here. After Singapore and Orange County USA, India to adopt recycled wastewater treatment system

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Waste water treatment
Wastewater Treatment Plant. Pixabay
  • Delhi to get India’s first ever recycle wastewater treatment plant, after it became significantly popular in Singapore and Orange County
  • Sujala Dhara plant set up by Absolute Water, in collaboration with Delhi Jal Board and SANA
  • Non-potable use of the treatable water to be promoted extensively by Delhi Government

New Delhi, August 3, 2017: The capital has been suffering a water crisis for a while now, it was only a while back that a report warned the residents that 70 percent of the water in the capital was polluted and unfit to drink. After the spike in the industrial pollutants in the Yamuna river forced the Delhi Jal Board to take action by cutting 50 percent of water supply from two major water plants in Delhi.

After the reports were verified, it was evident that most of the water that the locals were consuming was diluted wastewater. There have been many short term preventive measures already been taken but in the long run, people are still unwilling to consume the recycled wastewater, even though half of the consumption currently is polluted by industrial and chemical waste.

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The founder of Third World Center for Water Management said in an interview that, in Singapore, over 50 lakh residents have accepted it as a solution. Dependent on Malaysia for up to 50 percent of its water, Singapore decided that it was better to be self-reliant. With this ‘NEWater treatment plants’, it has not only managed that but also become a hub for advanced water research. A similar effort is also being done on an extensive scale in Orange County Water District in the US.

[bctt tweet=”Delhi Jal Board approves a recyclable water treatment plant for potable and non-potable use” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Rahul Jha of Absolute Water, the water wing of Chemical System Technologies says that “Astronauts do it abroad stations”, Absolute Water develops technology which renders wastewater into potable water. In collaboration with Delhi Jal Board and Social Awareness, Newer Alternatives (SANA) they have established a plant called Sujala Dhara, at the Keshopur Sewage Treatment Plant in July 2015. At a cost of Rs 55 lakh, this plant can produce over 4000 liters of clean water every hour. The plant will be monitored by Delhi Jal Board, while agencies like Central Pollution Control Board have already given it a go.

The wastewater purification process not only reduces the waste discharged into the river bodies but also amounts to 15 percent of raw water remaining after purification, which is rich in nutrients like potassium and nitrogen and can be used as a liquid fertilizer. Even though the people are not yet accepting of this method of purification in India, and the practice won’t be as widely popular as it is in Singapore but the recycled water can be used for domestic needs.

Recycled Wastewater
Future Drinking Water

Work is initiated to supply the plant water to Keshopur Bus Depot for washing vehicles. The water will also be provided to the residence of Delhi Jal Board officials who live close to it, and where work on the dual piping system is proposed. So, two completely separate systems will be used to supply potable and recycled water to the users.

Also Read: These 7 Ayurvedic Herbal Water have Healing Powers

While there isn’t much heat on the aggressive consumption of recycled wastewater for drinking, but the Delhi’s Master Plan 2021 is already underway to promote extensive use of treated water for non-potable purposes.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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India Among 5 Countries Cultivating Raw Wastewater For Irrigation

According to study, farmers' use of wastewater is most prevalent in regions where there are significant wastewater generation and water pollution

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wastewater
Influent raw wastewater in glass jar. Wikimedia
  • The global use of untreated wastewater from cities to irrigate crops downstream is 50 per cent more widespread than previously thought
  • The study relies on advanced modelling methods to provide a comprehensive estimate of the global extent to which farmers use urban wastewater on irrigated cropland
  • Results showed that 65 percent of all irrigated areas are within 40 km downstream of urban centres and are affected by wastewater flows to a large degree

Colombo, July 06, 2017: India and four other countries – China, Pakistan, Mexico and Iran — account for the most cropland in the world irrigated by dirty wastewater, putting millions of lives at serious health risks, new research have found.

The global use of untreated wastewater from cities to irrigate crops downstream is 50 per cent more widespread than previously thought, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The study relies on advanced modelling methods to provide a comprehensive estimate of the global extent to which farmers use urban wastewater on irrigated cropland.

Also Read: Exclusive: Angry Farmers and Distressed Leaders

Researchers analysed data with geographic information systems (GIS).

According to the study, farmers’ use of wastewater is most prevalent in regions where there are significant wastewater generation and water pollution.

In these circumstances, and where safer water is in short supply, wastewater offers a consistent and reliable means of irrigating fields, including high-value crops, such as vegetables, which often require more water than staple foods.

Where raw wastewater is available, farmers may tend to prefer it because of its high concentrations of nutrients, which can lessen the need to apply purchased fertilisers.

In most cases, however, farmers’ use of this water is motivated by basic needs. They simply do not have alternatives, the study showed.

“The de facto reuse of urban wastewater is understandable, given the combination of increasing water pollution and declining freshwater availability, as seen in many developing countries,” said the lead author of the study Anne Thebo from the University of California, Berkeley in the US.

“As long as investment in wastewater treatment lags far behind population growth, large numbers of consumers eating raw produce will face heightened threats to food safety,” Thebo said.

Results showed that 65 percent of all irrigated areas are within 40 km downstream of urban centres and are affected by wastewater flows to a large degree.

Of the total area of 35.9 million hectares, 29.3 million hectares are in countries with very limited wastewater treatment, exposing 885 million urban consumers as well as farmers and food vendors to serious health risks.

Five countries — China, India, Pakistan, Mexico and Iran — account for most of this cropland, the findings showed.

These new findings supersede a widely cited 2004 estimate, based on case studies in some 70 countries and expert opinion, which had put the cropland area irrigated with wastewater at a maximum of 20 million hectares.

“Gaining a better grasp of where, why and to what extent farmers use wastewater for irrigation is an important step toward addressing the problem,” said second author Pay Drechsel of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.

“We hope this new study will focus the attention of policymakers and sanitation experts on the need to fulfill Sustainable Development Goal 6, particularly target 3, which calls for halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and increasing recycling and safe water reuse,” Drechsel added. (IANS)