Dr. Rupak Kumar
Doctor / PhD member, Institut de diplomatie publique
EXPERT UNESCO IPL PUBLIC DIPLOMACY E-TEAM
Each day we can, and do, make a decision that influences our ecosystem. Our ancestors worked to make the world a safer place for us but we have been left with an invoice for our forebear’s expensive life style in using non replaceable resources. The way our societies and business are growing, definitely massive changes are required to have a transition it from linear development to a sustainable development. In this regard, to address the environmental sustainability, it is like an open book with an innumerable issues starting from a specific location to global. Local issues comprise the concern of water management and its treatment, urban flood, solid waste management, exploitation of natural resources to meet the needs of localite, agricultural productivity whereas global issues assimilate climate change, alternative energy source, universal health coverage, food security and other emerging issues. The concern is that we must have think global aspect to act on local issue pertaining to address environmental sustainability Basically the word environmental sustainability itself describe it a sustainable development approach which means sustainable economic growth with an account of consideration of the environment. In this regard, inclusive policy (IP) comes into a picture which brings all driver of environmental sustainability (viz, natural resources like air, water, soil, anthropogenic activity, xenobiotics/pollutants and others ) in one umbrella regardless of the diasporas of area, economy, power and position to address local or global issues. Herewith, I would like to address the concept of IP with reference to textile industries to address the environmental sustainability.
The ever-increasing human population, industrialization, technological advancements, urbanization have resulted in the degradation of environment through the release of large quantum of a variety of chemicals. So, environmental pollution has become a global problem. Every day, everybody, every sector, every organization/industry is responsible for environmental pollution due to its indiscriminate and frequent release of xenobiotic by different anthropogenic activity. The most unfortunate thing is that no industry can survive without it. So it is better to provide a solution of inclusion policy for minimal discharge or effective remediation by cost effective, nature friendly biological tools powered by microbes. These substances are indiscriminately introduced into the ecosystem through point sources to non-point sources due to which the environmental quality is impaired. That is the reason, in environment, immission (exposure) and emission (discharge) of a substance occurs with heterogeneous distribution due to its physio-chemical factor (volatility, solubility and lipophilicity) and accumulates elsewhere after discharge. Textile industry is one such largest polluters industry in the world. It consumes huge amounts of water such that cotton production accounts for 2.6% of annual global water usage. Characteristics of textile wastewater vary depending on type of raw materials, chemicals, techniques or specific process at the mill. Interest in ecologically friendly, wet-processing textile techniques has increased in recent years because of increased awareness of environmental issues world-wide.
Main challenge for textile industry today is to modify production methods, so that, they are more ecologically friendly by using safer methods and by reducing cost of effluent treatment/disposal to reduce carbon credit/footprint. Recycling has become a necessary element, not because of the shortage of an item, but because of the need to control its pollutant load to environment by adoption of 1) Use of new, less polluting technologies, 2) Effective treatment of effluent so that it conforms to specified discharge requirements and 3) Recycling waste several times over before discharge.
The major issue is that the nature and the characteristics of textile wastewater (either quantitatively or qualitatively) vary greatly depending on the type of raw materials, chemicals, techniques or specific process operations at the mill, the equipment used and the production design of the textile processes. It is matter of attention that a single ton of finished fabric can pollute up to 300 tons of water with harmful chemicals and consume vast quantities of energy. Approximately 65% of the chemicals used in the textile finishing process for cotton end up in the waste water and 55% of the chemicals used for synthetics end up in the wastewater. Hence the environmental burden is devastating regularly until and unless zero tolerance can be achieved.
As per United Nations Environmental Program- Eco-efficiency and Cleaner Production: Charting the Course to Sustainability, Cleaner Production (CP) is a new dimension which promotes a preventative approach and originated as a response to the overwhelming financial burden brought about by costs of controlling pollution. In broadest sense, CP is the continuous application of an integrated preventative environmental strategy applied to processes, products and services to increase eco-efficiency and to reduce risks for humans and the environment to address environmental sustainability. For manufacturing processes, CP includes:
• Conserving raw materials, water and energy
• Eliminating toxic raw materials
• Reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions
• Reducing wastes at source
• Reducing all the negative environmental impacts along the life cycle of the product, from raw material extraction through to end use and final disposal.
Moreover, in view to refer the concept of IP in textile industry set up (specific to one of the major solvent namely N-Methyl Morpholine-N-oxide- NMMO) which reflects the significance in term of conserving NMMO and water to deal the environmental sustainability. N-Methyl Morpholine-N-oxide (NMMO) is industrially used for manmade fibers (Lyocell technology) to the amount of ca. 140,000 tons/year. NMMO based process comprises of dissolution and spinning of cellulose in presence of the solvent in water. Fig 1 depicts the process and it is clear that ~ 0.5% NMMO is discharged into effluent where it undergoes autooxidation to form N-Methyl morpholine which further demethylate to form morpholine and morpholine further enters into a natural nitrosation reaction to form a carcinogenic product namely N-Nitroso morpholine (NMOR) which is proven potential Hepatocarcinogen and enters into food chain through different tropic levels.
Fig.1: Route of NMMO through different industrial process of manmade fibres preparation
It is pertaining to mention that large-scale annual usage of said amine oxide and its potentially adverse effects namely, cancer, respiratory irritation, etc., point towards an urgent need for its conservation through the route of effective effluent treatment. Now it is demand of time to build a system to treat morpholine and its derivatives (MAID) based waste water from a Lyocell plant at the stage of its discharge design from column. The treatment technique chosen to remove MAID is absorption filtration, followed by complete biodegradation using microbes (which has been well adapted and acclimatized to survive in morpholine stress and capable of degrading the same). Now-a-days, low-cost materials, found in large quantity in nature; or as byproducts of industrial process; or as agricultural waste, are gaining popularity as alternative sorption material. The material chosen to address the zero discharge is derivatized fly ash (readily available at cellulose fiber plants as a waste) to perform the adsorption studies. Serial columns, packed with sorption material followed by another packed with a consortium of adapted microbes, will be used for complete biodegradation or removal of morpholine based industrial effluents. Influent and effluent samples would be analyzed for any unwanted contaminants. Sand pre-filter will be further used to remove suspended particles, before recycling the treated water. Hence it is fulfilling the environmental sustainability requirements for effective cleaning of water for its recycling so that carbon credit has been reduced.
Hence, it is of paramount importance to implement the concept of IP to narrate it at industrial set up through the life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment techniques of the chemical used in the process of preparing finished products.
Doctor/ PhD member,
Institut de diplomatie publique
Approved by UNESCO IPL PUBLIC DIPLOMACY E-TEAM | Environmental diplomacy | INDIA