Blog entry

A Silent Global Warming Story

While the world leaders bicker over who is responsible for the earth's rising temperature and while those like me belonging to the growing economies like India claim it is their right to also pollute until we can join the ranks of the developed nations, the laws that govern life on earth unwaveringly and unceasingly moves straight towards a likely mass extinction of life on earth.

But then... who speaks for the earth?

Here, now, is a reminder by Leonardo DiCaprio in the short film “Last Hours” - that there is not much time left...

The film “Last Hours” is the second film in the Green World Rising Series (the first one being "Carbon"). Last Hours describes a science-based climate scenario where massive loads of frozen methane will be released which could be a tipping point to trigger runaway climate change.

As you may know, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and its levels have already started to rise in the open seas and atmosphere due its release from methane hydrate deposits beneath melting arctic ice. This in turn is being triggered by rising levels of Carbon dioxide and other Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) like Methane. For the record, Methane's potency as a GHG (measured as Global Warming Potential) is 25 times more than Carbon dioxide.

This set me thinking... a less obvious but probably significant source of methane may lie in the gasses released from anaerobic decompositions systems. GHG are released in varying unquantified proportions by conventional sewage and effluent treatment systems as and when anaerobic decomposition sets in. You know anaerobic decomposition is on if there is any foul odour in the vicinity of any waste water treatment plant. But this is only one serious part of the story. The other serious part is this… GHG are definitely released if the STP or ETP is based on an anaerobic process.

While most of the methane released in a biogas plant (or bio-methanation plant, as they are sometimes called) are consumed as a fuel, there is some lurking concern in scientific circles about the small leakages of the Methane itself from these plants. After the biogas is combusted it converts into Carbon dioxide, and is, again, a GHG).

But what concerns me is something else that is going completely unnoticed – and unquestioned... the Methane and other GHG released from other anaerobic systems which are coming increasingly popular - like anaerobic sewage treatment plants, for example. In these cases, the cost of capturing and using Methane is too high when compared to the volume of gas that will be collected. So, it is basically cheaper to let it be released into the atmosphere. More seriously and unfortunately, these kind of treatment plants are often a “fit and forget” type so convenient for a user, and also carry a green tag because they claim to have zero maintenance costs. But what about the price to be paid by future generations for the collectively significant volumes of Methane that is released by them?

Looking at this state of affairs, I am happy that I am on firmer ground being associated with a completely aerobic process like Soil Biotechnology (SBT) for treatment of sewage / effluents or processing organic solid wastes into manure.

But even further… the most beautiful part of SBT Systems is that there is a mechanism to fix and sequester the Carbon dioxide that is released by the decomposition process. Green plants are an integral and essential part of the SBT process. And plants, as we all know, need Carbon dioxide for their growth; they fix the Carbon in their body and release life giving Oxygen. So, at least in the sphere of waste management, we have one option that allows you to have the proverbial cake and eat it also!

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.


Life Link's Soil Biotechnology Solutions

... A new dawn in Waste Management