In Lao P.D.R., it is alarming that the popular practice of handling solid waste is either through disposal to the municipal landfill or though indiscriminate dumping and occasional open burning, which we are all aware has negative effects to the environment and is causing threat to public health because of the release of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs- dioxin and furans). Dumping of the solid wastes in the landfill which are usually located in low-lying areas or worst into the bodies of water, could contaminate the groundwater through the leachate produced and is sometimes worsen by excessive precipitation.
According to the PCDD/PCDF inventories conducted by UNIDO in the country, open burning activities are accountable for a total of about 102 g TEQ/year (based on 2002 production data). Out of which uncontrolled combustion processes represented 90% (or 91 g TEQ/year). The statistics show that tons of domestic waste are generated annually and only parts of them are properly collected and dumped at the landfill sites. Furthermore, this shows that across the country, people opt the uncontrolled burning of domestic and other waste. Most people use burning as the most convenient disposal method and therefore most of the waste is burnt either at home or at the dumpsites.
With the aim to eliminate or at least reduce the emissions of POPs, UNIDO has partnered with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) of Lao PDR, and GEF as the main funding agency has implemented a regional project entitled “Demonstration of Best Available Techniques (BATs) and Best Environmental Practices (BEPs) in open burning activities in response to the Stockholm Convention on POPs”. The project has been implementing activities related to the creation of resource-efficient waste management systems. SAPLAST Company has been selected to carry out one of a pilot demonstration facility to improve the production capacity and quality of the production of pipes and washing-extruding line of company. The company was granted with equipment to improve and make the production of pipes be environmentally efficient. The technology improved the quality of granules, the material used to produce the pipes. The technology includes pipe extrusion lines with a capacity of 150-300 kg/h and grinding machine with washing and extruding line with the capacity of 150-300 kg/h. Furthermore, the technology improved the input: hard plastic PE-HDPE recycled containers and output: high-quality plastic granules.
In summary, the completion of the installation has efficiently increased the production rate of high-quality plastic pipes from recycled plastics. The efficiency of the production can contribute to a reduction of about 7,600 tons of open burning of plastics annually, which is equivalent to the reduction of harmful dioxin (PCDD/PCDF) emissions released into the environment about 2.4 mg/TEQ/y.
Photos of pipes production lines and of the washing-extruding line of SAPLAST Company