EIA Case Study: Glycol waste incineration in a wet process

A polyester staple fibre manufacturing unit in Pakistan used to dump its glycol waste in the sea. Because of public and government pressure, the waste was sent to a wet-process cement factory. There it was mixed with the raw material slurry and fed into the cement kiln. A team of scientists did not find any difference in the quality of cement and all samples before and after glycol waste incineration. The EPA nonetheless insisted that the incineration activity should be examined using EIA techniques. The polyester manufacturers thus approached IUCN-Pakistan office, which conducted the study in April-May 1997.

Air samples collected from the surroundings of a wet-process cement kiln showed no difference in air quality before and after glycol waste incineration. Use of EIA techniques, on the other hand, was more useful in ascertaining the actual problems associated with the incineration process. The life cycle analysis and computer model revealed that the waste largely came out of the kiln unburned. This had the potential of damaging both the electrostatic precipitator and human health. An analysis of alternatives identified that direct waste feeding into the burning zone ensured complete pyrolysis of waste including dioxins and furans, without damaging equipment or human health. A scientific and technical knowledge of the system was found essential for making effective use of EIA techniques in planning and decision making.

Link: http://eia.unu.edu/wiki/index.php/Glycol_waste_incineration_in_a_wet_pr…