Submitted by: Group Nimbus

And   Group Raindrops







IMK Senate House Campus Palayam


The problem discussed here is of Nagroor a small village in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The main issues in the area are:

(1) Rubber plantation resulting in breeding ground for mosquitoes.

(2) The granite quarry.

(3) Bad condition of roads.

With the arrival of monsoon in Kerala the state gets engulfed with fever. The climatic condition of the state as well as the plethora of breeding grounds make the disease carrying mosquitoes to multiply and thus creating panic among people each year. The state got affected by Chikungunya twice in 2006 and in 2007. Earlier the coastal areas of Kerala were affected but later the attack was extensive and was extended to the plantation areas also. The vector of the disease is Aedes albopictus with lineage to African genotype.

The tapping is suspended during the rainy season and the water accumulated in the containers thus becomes a breeding site for mosquitoes. The plantation were tapping were conducted with the help of rain guard also have water in the sap collecting cups thus also helping mosquitoes to breed. Also the water while making rubber sheets if not drained properly will cause the mosquitoes to breed.

The granite quarry operating in the village results in the release of large amount of dust and increased level of radon gases. Both result in increased risk of lung cancer and including silicosis and mesothelioma.  The noises from the quarry and the trucks used to carry these to other places also have a serious environmental impact. Also the water bodies nearby are also getting contaminated due to waste from the mining activities.

The panchayat road which is the main path for connectivity for all is in a very bad condition. The rainy season made it worst as people cannot even walk through it sides. Also due to the bad condition of roads there is wastage of fuels moreover its affects the environment badly. The dust arising from road causes problem to houses which are close to the road.

We met the member of Grama panchayat Smt. Sheeba G and cited these problems to her. We suggested the solutions for the above mentioned problems and she assured us the problems will be addressed at the earliest.


The breeding grounds of mosquitoes are to be destroyed to check the population of these disease carrying organisms. An awareness class is to be conducted and pamphlets containing various preventive measures are to be distributed. The water used while making the rubber sheets are to be properly discharged to ground and not allowing it to get stagnated. Also the traps developed by ICMR are to be made available so that the breeding of mosquitoes can be checked. It would be able to prevent breeding because of the “simple engineering work” done with regard to the mesh, netting, slider and gauge. The cost of this trap would be just around Rs.100 and materials used would be familiar to plantation workers.

The quarry should be operated with strict norms as per the various laws made by the government. The level of randon gases should be tested and should be kept under the permissible limits.  The techniques like water-jet cutting can be used to extract the granite which is environment friendly as it reduces noise and dust. Also it reduces hazards on the workers. The vehicles which use to carry out granites from the quarry should be restricted during school and office going times.

The road is important for development of an area and the ill-effects of it here should be addressed quickly. Before the tarring the soil should be hardened and as there would be lot of waste pieces of granite it should be first laid with cement and then tarred over it. Also soil stabilizing agents like Fujibeton which can used with cement or Terrazyme which is a natural Terrazyme is a natural, non-toxic; environmentally safe, bio-enzyme product that improves qualities of soil reduces ruts and potholes resulting in more durable and longer lasting roads can be used before tarring. These products are suitable for all climatic condition and thus monsoon in Kerala won’t affect it. Thus the durability of roads will increase.

















by Volga R, Fathima Shahanas K, IMK Palayam


One of the most common items in our modern world is the ubiquitous plastic grocery bag. Highly convenient, strong and inexpensive, plastic grocery bags are appealing to both customers and businesses as a reliable way to deliver goods from the store to home. However, there are several issues associated with the production, use, and disposal of plastic grocery bags which may not be initially apparent to most users, but which are nonetheless extremely important. By assessing the lifecycle of plastic grocery bags, we can better understand the full ecological footprint of the plastic bag, and find more effective means of dealing with the associated negative impacts. This report will outline the ecological footprint of plastic grocery bags by looking at the immediate impacts associated with their manufacturing, followed by impacts created by their use and disposal, with a final discussion concerning waste management and recycling.


  • Energy

The lifecycle of a plastic grocery bag begins with the extraction and processing of raw materials. The process of manufacturing plastic grocery bags requires significant quantities of both energy and raw materials. Two plastic bags require 990 kJ (kilojoules) of natural gas, 240 kJ of petroleum, and 160 kJ of coal . Additionally, there are large amounts of energy used to acquire oil, such as the large, fuel-burning heavy machinery, and most of the electricity used in the process of manufacturing the actual bags comes from coal-fired power plants.

  • Ingredients

The key ingredients in plastic bags are petroleum and natural gas and the manufacturing of plastic bags accounts for 4 per cent of the world’s total oil production. Components of oil or natural gas are heated in a cracking process, which creates hydrocarbon monomers. In the manufacturing process, hydrocarbon monomers are biogeochemically manipulated, resulting in the creation of hydrocarbon polymers, which are essentially large molecules made up of repeated units of hydrocarbon monomers. Different groupings of monomers make polymers with different characteristics.

  • Types of Polyethylene

Grocery bags are made from high-density polyethylene, also known as HDPE. Polyethylene is a non-renewable resource made from ethylene which takes hundreds of years to break down. Polyethylene is appealing to manufacturers because it can be manipulated into any shape, size, form or color. There are two other types of polyethylene, other than HDPE, used to make plastic bags: low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). LLDPE makes up thicker, glossy bags, such as carrier bags used by businesses in shopping malls, and LDPE is used to make very thin, filmy bags, such as dry-cleaning bags. The main difference between the three types of polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE) is the branching of the polymer chain of molecules; the more branched out the molecules are, the thinner the plastic . Plastic grocery bags are made of HDPE, which has more branched molecules and consequently lower tensile strength and crystalline form.


  • Impacts of Energy Requirements

The energy used to make one high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bag is 0.48 mega joules (MJ). To give this figure perspective, a car driving one kilo meter is the equivalent of manufacturing 8.7 plastic bags. This study illustrates the immense environmental impacts to be made through a cultural shift to more ecologically responsible choices. The societal acceptance of plastic shopping bags is an integral part of the entire ecological footprint.

  • Air and Water Pollution

Air pollution caused by the emission of toxic chemicals and CO2 during the manufacturing of plastic bags is a significant part of the environmental impact of this product. The manufacturing of two plastic bags produces 1.1 kg of atmospheric pollution, which contributes to acid rain and smog. Acid rain is recognized as a serious threat to natural and human-made environments, particularly in regions which have historically relied heavily on coal. Smog is also a well-documented and significant problem, particularly concerning human health. Additionally, the manufacturing of two plastic grocery bags produces 0.1 g of waterborne waste, which has the capability of disrupting associated ecosystems, such as waterways and the life that they support. To exacerbate the problems of air and water pollution, most plastic shopping bags are made in countries with few environmental regulations.

  • Shipping and Transportation

The plastic grocery bags are subsequently shipped all over the world. Container ships used to transport these bags to each consumer country use fuels which produce high levels of pollutants, such as Sulphur. Annual trips multiply this environmental damage as manufacturers try to accommodate the increasing demand to numerous countries.

  • Health Impacts

Toxic emissions produced during the extraction of materials for the production of plastic grocery bags, their manufacturing, and their transportation contribute to acid rain, smog, and numerous other harmful effects associated with the use of petroleum, coal, and natural gas, such as health conditions of coal miners and environmental impacts associated with natural gas and petroleum retrieval.


Plastic grocery bags have been a part of daily life in developed countries and in more recent years, their use has spread to many developing countries. Unfortunately, the most common final resting place for garbage bags is the garbage bin, resulting in countless numbers of bags filling landfills and spilling over onto essentially every other surface of the planet. It is the very prevalence of these bags that result in several critical environmental and social impacts associated with their use and immediate disposal.


  • Land Pollution

Due to many factors, not the least of which is their ready availability, 96 per cent of all grocery bags are thrown into landfills. The plastic bags decompose very slowly. In fact, a bag can last up to 1000 years, inhibiting the breakdown of biodegradable materials around or in it. Light weight plastic grocery bags are additionally harmful due to their propensity to be carried away on a breeze and become attached to tree branches, fill roadside ditches or end up in public waterways, rivers or oceans.

  • Impacts on Wildlife

Most distressing, over a billion seabirds and mammals die annually from ingestion of plastics. In Newfoundland, 1,00,000 marine mammals are killed each year by ingesting plastic. However, the impact of plastic bags does not end with the death of one animal; when a bird or mammal dies in such a manner and subsequently decomposes, the plastic bag will again be released into the environment to be ingested by another animal.


  • Impacts on Human Health

Impacts on human health are perhaps the most serious of the effects associated with plastic grocery bags, ranging from health problems associated with emissions, to death. City officials blamed the destructive floods on plastic bags which clogged gutters and drains, preventing the rainwater from leaving the city through underground systems bags. By clogging sewer pipes, plastic grocery bags also create stagnant water; stagnant water produces the ideal habitat for mosquitoes and other parasites which have the potential to spread a large number of diseases, such as encephalitis and dengue fever, but most notably malaria.

  • Impacts on Livelihood

Loss of livelihood is another major social impact connected to the use of plastic grocery bags; two primary examples are the loss of livestock and impacts on tourism. Concerning livestock, plastic grocery bags are often caught in trees or along fences, where they are mistakenly eaten by animals, leading to suffocation or blockage of digestive tracts, and eventually death. Plastic grocery bags also have the potential to leach their chemical components and toxins into soil and water sources, which can be passed on to humans, resulting in health dangers such as neurological problems and cancers. This industry is also impacted by plastic grocery bags, both in terrestrial and marine environments.

  • Impacts on Government and Politics

The production and use of plastic grocery bags have several important political impacts. However, this is far from the case in developing nations where waste management is not well established or is non-existent. The effects of plastic bags are most severely felt in poor and rural areas, where shopping bags are dispensed and used widely but not disposed of properly. The footprint of plastic grocery bags also includes high civic costs to governments, most of which are incurred through clean-up efforts. Plastic bags can litter roads, sewers and waterways, making litter collection and disposal difficult and costly. High costs are being shouldered by governments and taxpayers, which results in the loss of funds from other services offered by the government. Because of this myriad of problems, many governments have banned plastic grocery bags entirely, or imposed levies on their use.



Although plastic bags can be used over and over again, particularly in comparison to a paper bag, they are most commonly thrown into the garbage once they are no longer useful since recycling services for plastic bags are not yet widely available. The recycling rates for plastic bags are extremely low, only 1-3 per cent, primarily attributed to three reasons. First, plastics are made from many different resins, and because they cannot be mixed, they must be sorted and processed separately. Most plastics also contain stabilizers and other chemicals that must be removed before recycling. Second, recovering individual plastic resins does not yield much material because only small amounts of any given resin are used per product. Third, the price of oil used to produce petrochemicals for making plastic resins is so low that the cost of virgin plastic resins is much lower than that of recycled resins. As a result, recycling is not a simple solution to lessen the ecological footprint of the plastic grocery bag.


In all stages of a plastic bag’s life, from manufacturing to disposal, negative social and environmental impacts are evident. The planet’s environment, including its soil, water and air, is affected directly in numerous ways, beginning with the extraction and use of fossil fuels during the manufacturing process of plastic bags. Emissions resulting from this process are also very harmful to both humans and the physical environments, and the transportation of plastic bags from their origin to their place of use also contributes significantly to the environmental footprint of this product. Further negative impacts are found during the use and immediate disposal of plastic bags, particularly in non-industrial nations where waste management services are not well-developed. In these regions, plastic bags are found everywhere, from remote tourist destinations to city streets where they can clog drain pipes, contributing to massive flooding which has already cost thousands of lives. Plastic bags are also problematic to concerning the livelihoods of local people and national governments, both in terms of the loss of agricultural potential and impacts on tourism, in addition to the high cost of cleanup which falls to local and national governments. Reducing the economic footprint through recycling and therefore reducing the use of landfills, incinerators, and raw materials is not as important as the other benefits of recycling, which reveal how the net economic, health, and environmental benefits far outweigh the costs. Correcting our faulty economic system in which the market price of a product does not include the harmful environmental health costs associated during its life cycle could reveal the true costs of plastic bag consumption.

The question of plastic bags ultimately comes down to the issue of use. If people are willing and able to use environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as reusable cloth or plastic bags, the decreasing use of plastic bags will reduce their overall footprint. However, without educating the public concerning the impacts of plastic grocery bags or constructing barriers to their use, business will continue as usual. Many governments have chosen the route of taxes or levies on plastic bags, to great success. Perhaps in a culture where convenience often comes before environmental concern, speaking to consumers’ pocketbooks may be the only way to effectively deal with this ever-increasing problem.


Whether recycling makes economic sense depends on how you look at the benefits and costs of recycling. According to conventional economics, recycling does economically efficient if it costs more to recycle materials than to send them to landfills or incinerators. Many critics also point out that recycling is often not needed to save landfill space because many areas are not running out of it. The largest problem is the fact that the recycling plastic grocery bags will not “pay for itself”. Nevertheless, conventional garbage disposal systems are paid for by charges to households and businesses. It is hard to understand why recycling is held to a different standard and thus forced to cover its own costs. As a result, a responsible economic system that takes account the true costs of plastic could reveal to society how the choices they make impact the environment and society.


In all stages of a plastic bag’s life, from manufacturing to disposal, negative social and environmental impacts are evident. The planet’s environment, including its soil, water and air, is affected directly in numerous ways, beginning with the extraction and use of fossil fuels during the manufacturing process of plastic bags. Emissions resulting from this process are also very harmful to both humans and the physical environments, and the transportation of plastic bags from their origin to their place of use also contributes significantly to the environmental footprint of this product. Further negative impacts are found during the use and immediate disposal of plastic bags, particularly in non-industrial nations where waste management services are not well-developed. In these regions, plastic bags are found everywhere, from remote tourist destinations to city streets where they can clog drain pipes, contributing to massive flooding which has already cost thousands of lives. Plastic bags are also problematic to concerning the livelihoods of local people and national governments, both in terms of the loss of agricultural potential and impacts on tourism, in addition to the high cost of cleanup which falls to local and national governments. Reducing the economic footprint through recycling and therefore reducing the use of landfills, incinerators, and raw materials is not as important as the other benefits of recycling, which reveal how the net economic, health, and environmental benefits far outweigh the costs. Correcting our faulty economic system in which the market price of a product does not include the harmful environmental health costs associated during its life cycle could reveal the true costs of plastic bag consumption. The question of plastic bags ultimately comes down to the issue of use. If people are willing and able to use environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as reusable cloth or plastic bags, the decreasing use old plastic bags will reduce their overall footprint. However, without educating the public concerning the impacts of plastic grocery bags or constructing barriers to their use, business will continue as usual. Many governments have chosen the route of taxes or levies on plastic bags, to great success. Perhaps in a culture where convenience often comes before environmental concern, speaking to consumers’ pocketbooks may be the only way to effectively deal with this ever-increasing problem.


By Phoenix


By Divya CM

Divya Sudarsanan

Ratheesh Krishnan

IMK Palayam

 pond is a small area of still, fresh water. It is different from a river or a stream because it does not have moving water and it differs from a lake because it has a small area and is no more than around 1.8m deep. Some ponds are formed naturally, filled either by an underwater spring, or by rainwater – sometimes known as ‘dewponds’; other ponds are man-made.

Ponds which where once habitat to great variety of both animal and plant life have now become a place of waste disposal and other anti social activities. These ponds which once added to the serene beauty of the place got surrounded by weeds, marsh and wastes. The water lilies which added color and tranquil beauty to the pond’s shallows got replaced by the water weeds, a threat to the animals in it. There are two principal problems related to the ponds are:

  • The ponds endlessly accumulate pollution, as there is no mechanism to remove pollution permanently. Only biomass or sediment removal will do this.

  • The other problem is weed control in these ponds as they are typically shallow around their perimeter. This encourages weeds

Other major issues are:

  • Increased population of mosquitoes due to the decline in the population of frogs.

  • Diseases due to the unhygienic conditions prevailing.

  • Pollution due to waste disposal.

  • Foul smell from the waste heaps which leads to air pollution and many other diseases.

  • Roads getting flooded during rainy season due to overflow of water from the pond.

  • Anti-social activities near the pond since the area being secluded by other locals.

Serious discussions took place between the housing colony members and the problem was brought into the co-corporations notice. The authorities concerned after studying the locality and the problems faced by the people living there decided to clean the pond along with the surrounding. The following decisions where taken by the corporation:

  • Biomass removal

    • Using Floating Wetland rafts to grow aquatic plants on the surface of the pond. The rafts are easily pulled to shore for biomass harvesting. This harvesting removes the nutrients contained in the biomass from the pond. If the plant material stays in the pond, it will only recycle back into the water at the end of its growing season as nutrient.

  • Weeds removal from the pond’s border

    • Replanting the moist border with grasses and wildflowers. Once established, the grassy-wildflower border will prevent other weed seeds from taking root. We also install Wetland Carpets.

  • Pollution problem and the weed problem

    • Plant non-invasive hybrid water lilies to add color and tranquil beauty to the pond’s shallows. Also plant the lilies in distinct island groupings in order to preserve a goodly portion of the reflective surface around the pond’s perimeter.

  • Plant moisture loving specimen perennials, bushes and trees to create a lush, vertical background to frame the pond and to reflect in the pond’s surface.

  • Construct wall around the pond to ensure that no more land encroachment takes place.

  • Drainage system running through out the lane ending to a lake to avoid flooding of the roads during heavy rain falls.

  • Pavements to be laid along the length of the pond.

  • Proper street lighting was ensured to have a clear view of the pond and the surroundings so as to prevent anti-social activities.

All the above initiatives were successfully completed and the pond and the surroundings were made neat. But a new problem arises. The construction work of the drainage system and the laying of big pipes from the pond leading to the lake destroyed the well laid road of about 2kms. This worsened the situation; the gutters being deeper ones made transportation more or less impossible for the two wheelers and three wheels. To add on to this people again started dumping their waste in front of the pond and the waste heaps diameter being extended to the road.

Waste heaps along with gutters have made not only life but also transportation difficult in the area. Articles along with photographs of the road were published in news papers so as to make the authorities concerned do the necessary at the earliest. But all those efforts were worth less. As a result the housing colony associations

  • Filled the gutters with stones and mud to level the road so as to make it good for transportation.

  • Cleared the waste heaps from the pond frontage and posted boards warning waste disposal.

  • Created awareness among the people about the advantages of vermin compost and bio gas plants.

  • Installed either vermin compost or bio gas plants in houses depending on the financial position of the house owners.

Through the above initiatives along with the help of KUDUMBA SHREE units the waste disposal issues have been solved to an extend but not completely. But condition of the roads is the same and it becomes worse during the rainy season. The authorities need to do the necessary at the earliest. Local bodies along can not make major changes in the society. If all stakeholders (government, private sector and local residents) are involved, it will help to reduce the waste disposal and other problems and consequently improve environmental quality. Therefore, any progressive strategy must be inclusive, fully integrated with economic and social practices, and incorporate all sectors of society, i.e. a wide range of social groups and actors must be actively involved.





IMK Senate House Campus ,Palayam


Industrial activities generate waste, some of which fall under hazardous category. Continuous and proper disposal of hazardous waste is necessary for sustaining future industrial activities. There are a large number of Restaurants and Hotels in India. These hotels contribute substantially to the generation of waste .Hotel and restaurant waste contributes to around 25-30 % of the total waste generated.

For the hospitality industry, the waste created by daily operations is an ongoing challenge. In addition to incurring the costs of waste disposal, hotels need to also allocate valuable back-of-the house space for waste to be stored and sorted. There are other concerns as well, namely the health and safety of those coming into contact with the waste, and the noise created by waste compaction and collection.

Much of the waste created in hotels is generated from within the kitchen (organic food waste, packaging, aluminum cans, glass bottles, corks and cooking oils), or from the housekeeping department (cleaning materials and plastic packaging). Waste is not only created in guest rooms but also in public areas, hotel gardens (engine oils, pesticides, paints and preservatives to grass and hedge trimmings) and offices (toner cartridges, paper and cardboard waste). And refurbishment and renovation projects undertaken at the hotel contribute further to the waste generated by the property. Hotels must meet all of the following seven criteria:

  • Waste minimization
  • Reuse/recycling
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Conservation and management
  • Waste management
  • Hazardous materials management
  • Environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policies
  • Freshwater resource management

Types of Hotel waste:

Hotel waste comprises of two components, Biodegradable (Wet) waste and Non biodegradable (Dry) waste. The wet waste comprises of food, vegetable and non veg waste whereas the dry waste comprises of plastic bottles, papers, plastic wrappers, HDPE, LLDPE bags etc.

Present System of disposal of Hotel Waste :

 At present Hotel waste generated by small restaurants is disposed off directly by the hotels at nearby collection spots. The substantial quantity of food waste dumped at these collection spots gets mixed with all the other kinds of dry and wet waste and gives an ugly look to the collection spots with lot of dirt and stink.

 In case of large four and 5 star hotels, the hotel waste is disposed off directly by the hotels through private contractors to the dumping ground.

 Some private contractors charges Trade Refuse Charge (TRC) to the hotels for the waste generated by the hotels. The TRC is charged in multiples of license fees which is directly based on the area of the hotel and the grade.  The grade one hotels are generally bars and permit rooms which do peak business during evening hours. The waste generated by the restaurants with bars and permit rooms is much less as compared to that generated by the food restaurants. However the TRC charged for the bars and restaurants is much higher than that charged for the ordinary restaurants which generate much more quantity of waste.

 As per our observations of the hotel waste generated by hotels in a few wards, around 70 to 75 % of the hotel waste is biodegradable and gets mixed with all the other type of waste when dumped at the collection spots. Also the waste which is collected directly by the private contractors gets mixed with all the other type of non biodegradable waste at the dumping ground.

Suggested Action Points

 Management of waste generated by all the 3,4 and 5 star hotels and restaurants generating over one tonne of waste by themselves : These hotels can look at options of in-situ composting, installation of small biomethanation plants in the premises etc.

At present, hotel Orchid, Rhodas and Lotus suites are manging their waste quite well and can set an example for other hotels.

Some methods for management

 Bio Sanitizer by Excel Industries : Excel Industries Ltd. supplies machines of capacity 500kg, per day, 1 tonne per day and 3 tonnes per day machines along with biosanitizer. This machines can crush the food waste to 1/3rd of the original volume and odourless compost produced can be used as manure after curing.

 Biomethanation : Biomethanation Plants of capacities 100 -500 kg per day can be installed in the premises of hotels if adequate space is available. Gas generated can be used for cooking.

 Composting/ Vermicomposting – Options of composting/vermicomposting could be explored.

 1.Duty of care Regulations:

 All waste removed from the premises is covered by the Duty of Care regulations. These regulations specify that all commercial waste (either for disposal or recycling) must be removed by registered waste carriers; and transfer notes should be completed and retained on file. Any waste contractors used, including the council, should provide the company with a transfer note on a yearly basis. Transfer notes must be retained on file for a minimum of two years.


 Recycling is good for the environment because it significantly lowers the amount of waste going to landfill, and can reduce waste costs if fewer collections are needed for general waste. Recycling will save money on waste costs as less collections for general waste will be needed.


 For hotels, a good waste management strategy not only results in greater operational efficiencies, it also helps conserve energy and water. Waste elimination at source and recycling help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the manufacturing stage; these practices also keep waste out of the landfill, thus reducing landfill methane emissions as well. Recycling one tonne of office paper creates 95 percent less air pollution and uses about 60 percent of the energy needed to produce the same amount of paper from trees. Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television set for three hours.

As the industry is able to better assess its environmental impact, hotels are likely to come up with more creative solutions for waste reduction. We also expect to see hotels increasingly lean toward suppliers/vendors who provide environmentally friendly materials and equipment, and to whom the hotels can hand back dry waste for recycling.

Environmental issues caused by HOSPITAL WASTE- BY SPRING

Environmental issues caused by  HOSPITAL WASTE





IMK Senate House Campus


Hospital is a place of almighty, a place to serve the patient. This was prepared on the basis of information collected from a reputed hospital in Kochi. Since beginning, the hospitals are known for the treatment of sick persons but we are unaware about the adverse effects of the garbage and filth generated by them on human body and environment. Now it is a well established fact that there are many adverse and harmful effects to the environment including human beings which are caused by the “Hospital waste” generated during the patient care. Hospital waste is a potential health hazard to the health care workers, public and flora and fauna of the area. Hospital acquired infection, transfusion transmitted diseases, rising incidence of Hepatitis B, and HIV, increasing land and water pollution lead to increasing possibility of catching many diseases. Air pollution due to emission of hazardous gases by incinerator such as Furan, Dioxin, Hydrochloric acid etc. have compelled the authorities to think seriously about hospital waste and the diseases transmitted through improper disposal of hospital waste.

A modern hospital is a complex, multidisciplinary system which consumes thousands of items for delivery of medical care and is a part of physical environment. All these products consumed in the hospital leave some unusable leftovers i.e. hospital waste. The last century witnessed the rapid mushrooming of hospital in the public and private sector, dictated by the needs of expanding population. The advent and acceptance of “disposable” has made the generation of hospital waste a significant factor in current scenario.

What is hospital waste?

Hospital waste refers to all waste generated, discarded and not intended for further use in the hospital. Hospital waste is some of the most dangerous waste that exists. A hospital is filled with sick individuals, thus any waste produced in a hospital could contain dangerous bacteria or viruses

Classification of hospital waste

(1)        General waste: Largely composed of domestic or house hold type waste. It is non-hazardous to human beings, e.g. kitchen waste, packaging material, paper, wrappers, plastics.

(2)        Pathological waste: Consists of tissue, organ, body part, human foetuses, blood and body fluid. It is hazardous waste.

(3)        Infectious waste: The wastes which contain pathogens in sufficient concentration or quantity that could cause diseases. It is hazardous e.g. culture and stocks of infectious agents from laboratories, waste from surgery, waste originating from infectious patients.

(4)        Sharps: Waste materials which could cause the person handling it, a cut or puncture of skin e.g. needles, broken glass, saws, nail, blades, scalpels.

(5)        Pharmaceutical waste: This includes pharmaceutical products, drugs, and chemicals that have been returned from wards, have been spilled, are outdated, or contaminated.

(6)        Chemical waste: This comprises discarded solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals e.g. cleaning, housekeeping, and disinfecting product.

(7)        Radioactive waste: It includes solid, liquid, and gaseous waste that is contaminated with radionuclide’s generated from in-vitro analysis of body tissues and fluid, in-vivo body organ imaging and tumour localization and therapeutic procedures.


Biomedical waste

Any solid, fluid and liquid or liquid waste, including its container and any intermediate product, which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human being or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biological and the animal waste from slaughter houses or any other similar establishment. All biomedical waste are hazardous. In hospital it comprises of 15% of total hospital waste.

How does hospital waste affect us?

If hospital waste is not managed properly it proves to be harmful to the environment. It not only poses a threat to the employees working in the hospital, but also to the people surrounding that area. Infectious waste can cause diseases like Hepatitis A & B, AIDS, Typhoid, Boils, etc.A common practice in Pakistan is the reuse of disposable syringes. People pick up used syringes from the hospital waste and sell them. Many drug addicts also reuse the syringes that can cause AIDS and other dangerous and contagious diseases. If a syringe, previously used by an AIDS patient, is reused, it can affect the person using it. So, the hospital staff should dispose off the syringes properly, by cutting the needles of the syringes with the help of a cutter, so that the needle ca not be reused.
When waste containing plastics are burnt, Dioxin is produced, which can cause Cancer, birth defects, decreased psychomotor ability, hearing defects, cognitive defects and behavioral alternations in infants. Flies also sit on the uncovered piles of rotting garbage. This promotes mechanical transmissions of fatal diseases like Diarrhea, Dysentery, Typhoid, Hepatitis and Cholera. Under moist conditions, mosquitoes transmit many types of infections, like Malaria and Yellow fever. Similarly, dogs, cats and rats also transmit a variety of diseases, including Plague and Flea born fever, as they mostly live in and around the refuse. A high tendency of contracting intestinal, parasitic and skin diseases is found in workers engaged in collecting refuse.


Approach for hospital waste management

Based on Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998, notified under the Environment Protection Act by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (Government of India).

1. Segregation of waste

Segregation is the essence of waste management and should be done at the source of generation of Bio-medical waste e.g. all patient care activity areas, diagnostic services areas, operation theaters, labour rooms, treatment rooms etc. The responsibility of segregation should be with the generator of biomedical waste i.e. doctors, nurses, technicians etc. (medical and paramedical personnel). The biomedical waste should be segregated as per categories mentioned in the rules.

2. Collection of bio-medical waste

Collection of bio-medical waste should be done as per Bio-medical waste (Management and Handling) Rules. At ordinary room temperature the collected waste should not be stored for more than 24 hours.

3. Transportation

Within hospital, waste routes must be designated to avoid the passage of waste through patient care areas. Separate time should be earmarked for transportation of bio-medical waste to reduce chances of its mixing with general waste. Desiccated wheeled containers, trolleys or carts should be used to transport the waste/plastic bags to the site of storage/ treatment.

Trolleys or carts should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in the event of any spillage. The wheeled containers should be so designed that the waste can be easily loaded, remains secured during transportation, does not have any sharp edges and is easy to clean and disinfect. Hazardous biomedical waste needing transport to a long distance should be kept in containers and should have proper labels. The transport is done through desiccated vehicles specially constructed for the purpose having fully enclosed body, lined internally with stainless steel or aluminium to provide smooth and impervious surface which can be cleaned. The drivers compartment should be separated from the load compartment with a bulkhead. The load compartment should be provided with roof vents for ventilation.

4. Treatment of hospital waste

Treatment of waste is required:

  • to disinfect the waste so that it is no longer the source of infection.
  • to reduce the volume of the waste.
  • make waste unrecognizable for aesthetic reasons.
  • make recycled items unusable.

5. Safety measures

5.1   All the generators of bio–medical waste should adopt universal precautions and appropriate safety measures while doing therapeutic and diagnostic activities and also while handling the bio-medical waste.

5.2   It should be ensured that:

  • drivers, collectors and other handlers are aware of the nature and risk of the waste.
  • written instructions, provided regarding the procedures to be adopted in the event of spillage/ accidents.
  • protective gears provided and instructions regarding their use are given.
  • workers are protected by vaccination against tetanus and hepatitis B.

6. Training

  • each and every hospital must have well planned awareness and training programme for all category of personnel including administrators (medical, paramedical and administrative).
  • all the medical professionals must be made aware of Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998.
  • to institute awards for safe hospital waste management and universal precaution practices.
  • Training should be conducted to all categories of staff in appropriate language/medium and in an acceptable manner.

7. Management and administration

Heads of each hospital will have to take authorization for generation of waste from appropriate authorities as notified by the concerned State/U.T. Government, well in time and to get it renewed as per time schedule laid down in the rules. Each hospital should constitute a hospital waste management committee, chaired by the head of the Institute and having wide representation from all major departments. This committee should be responsible for making Hospital specific action plan for hospital waste management and its supervision, monitoring and implementation. The annual reports, accident reports, as required under BMW rules should be submitted to the concerned authorities as per BMW rules format.

8. Measures for waste minimization

As far as possible, purchase of reusable items made of glass and metal should be encouraged. Select non PVC plastic items. Adopt procedures and policies for proper management of waste generated, the mainstay of which is segregation to reduce the quantity of waste to be treated. Establish effective and sound recycling policy for plastic recycling and get in touch with authorised manufactures.

9. Coordination between hospital and outside agencies

  • Municipal authority : As quite a large percentage of waste (in India upto 85%), generated in Indian hospitals, belong to general category (non-toxic and non-hazardous), hospital should have constant interaction with municipal authorities so that this category of waste is regularly taken out of the hospital premises for land fill or other treatment.
  • Co-ordination with Pollution Control Boards: Search for better methods technology, provision of facilities for testing, approval of certain models for hospital use in conformity with standards ‘aid down.
  • To search for cost effective and environmental friendly technology for treatment of bio-medical and hazardous waste. Also, to search for suitable materials to be used as containers for bio-medical waste requiring incineration/autoclaving/ microwaving.


Medical waste is directly relevant to the practice of medicine, as it represents a misuse of resources that could otherwise be spent on patient care. Operating rooms produce a disproportionately large portion of total hospital waste. Much more can and should be done to better manage supply and drug waste resulting from surgical procedure.


Sewage a haunting problem in the city- [by OZONE group]

Sewage a haunting problem in the city

[by OZONE group]




IMK Palayam


Sewage problems in Thiruvanathapuram

In Thiruvananthapuram Corporation area covered by the underground sewerage system is only 30%. The system was installed 25 to 35 year ago. The system services a total of 75,000 connections. The households in the remaining areas depends on various on-site systems namely, septic tanks, borehole latrine TUDP and community toilets with 8% of the population do not having access to safe sanitation disposal. The sewage farm is the only existing sewage treatment facility, which is receiving very limited sewage quantity (maximum up to 50 MLD). It was originally designed for only 8 MLD in 1938 and was commissioned in 1945.The quantity of sewage waste generated in Thiruvananthapuram is increasing and will continue to do so due to the additional water supply augmentation being

implemented under the JBIC aided project. Infiltration from the sewage farm area has caused

widespread ground water pollution in and around the sewage farm and along the down stream canal


Drainage system in the city

Thiruvananthapuram receives a very high rainfall. The average annual rainfall for the city is over 1,800 mm. The city has undulating topography, with ground level rising from MSL to 75m. The city has a large network of storm water canals and drains, (722 km- only 290 km of these drains are

covered). However, the storm water drains and canals carry treated/untreated sewage and large

amounts of solid waste.

Though the natural topography of the city has adequate slope to drain storm water, poor maintenance

of major drainage outlets and frequent blockages of primary drains cause local flooding and water

logging. Normally, water logging takes place during the period of high intensity and/or for extended

duration rains. During the monsoon season, water logging in low-lying areas occurs 5-6 times and

water levels rise from 0.6m to 1.2m. Water logging persists for 12 to 24 hours in the central part of

Thiruvananthapuram, and for 3 to 4 days in the southern part of the city.

Drainage Infrastructure. In a socio-economic survey carried out in the city was  reported that drainage is perceived as one of the major environmental problems in the urban area and  vulnerable/poor population are the most affected by localized flooding.

The key issues and challenges with respect to sewerage network in the city are:


  • The existing sewerage network is very old and requires urgent rehabilitation, since frequent

overflows are common.

  • Sewage overflow from the unsewered areas of the city and adjoining areas into the water body

creates nuisance and unhygienic conditions.

  • The existing sewage farm at Valiyathura is overloaded, resulting in overflow and seepage to the

Parvathy Puthanar Canal and surrounding water bodies in the area and results in pollution of the

water bodies. This envisages the need for a modern Sewage Treatment Plant at Valiyathura.

  • New development areas need to be brought under the sewerage network.

Treatment Plant, to treat the sewage being pumped to Muttathara. The total sewage load of the

extended Corporation area is 250 Mld. Full fledged Sewage Treatment Plants are also to be constructed

to cater to the requirement of outgrowths of Kazhakkuttom, Sreekaryam, Kudappanakkunnu,

Vattiyoorkavu and Kovalam and the anticipated sewage load is 60 Mld. A Sewage Treatment Plant of

10Mld is proposed to be constructed for the benefit of Medical College Campus, and a 15Mld Sewage

Treatment Plant is proposed to cater to the need of Container Terminal Area at Vizhinjam.



The drainage network of the city consists of two major rivers, few canals, their feeders and lakes. The two major rivers are Karamana and Killi which flow through the city area. There are a number of drains and leading drains in the city area like Pazhavangadi thodu, Uloor thodu, Pattom thodu, Kannanmoola thodu (Amayizhanjan thodu), Thekkenekara canal, Kariyil Thodu, and natural drains like Tettiyar thodu, Pangappara thodu, Kaimanam-Azhamkal thodu, Amathara thodu, Koori thodu, Vattakkayal Thodu. Other  important drains contributing to storm water drainage to the city canals are Choozhampala thodu, Anathanathodu, Edanada thodu, Arayalloor Ela thodu and Thiruvallom Pallathukadavu thodu.

Water Conservation is another important area that needs immediate attention. Inspite of abundant water

resources, the city is facing water scarcity. Hence conservation of water is needed to restore the water for  future needs. The developing areas surrounding the city are witnessing lot of construction activities where  large scale filling of wet lands has resulted in blockage of natural drains and reduction in ground water  recharge.

Key Issues 

  • The condition of existing rivers as natural drainage for storm water is deteriorating. Dumping of domestic wastes and non domestic waste from slaughter houses, markets, hotels, etc., discharge of  sewages directly into the rivers and unscientific and indiscriminate methods of sand mining are resulting  in the erosion of river bed and its banks.
  • Due to reduced cross sectional area of rivers, flash floods have become common during down pour.
  • Recurrent floods as a result of insufficient drainage are the perpetual problem faced by

Thiruvananthapuram city since several years. Thampanoor and East Fort areas are the worst affected with tremendous water logging.

  • Transitory measures to prevent water logging is tried from time to time to ease the graveness of the situation.  However, an abrupt rain of high intensity disrupts the city life considerably. A permanent solution to the problem is to be found.
  • Regular stagnation of water results in environment and health hazards.
  • The reclamation of water bodies and low lying areas or encroachments for development is the main reason for water logging. Most of the flood moderation zones inside the city have already been converted into concrete dwellings and apartments resulting in excessive run off.
  • Improper maintenance of the already existing drains coupled with excessive run off is the root cause of flooding inside the city. In-depth study of the present status of the drains, their carrying capacity, anticipated flood discharge and the probable routing / rerouting may be devised and implemented for restoring / enhancing the status of drainage network inside the city to solve the issue to a significant extent.

Pollution in rivers

Killi River


Lack of sufficient leading drains to take storm water to the river constantly erodes the river

Bunds. To tackle this issue, surface drains are to be constructed along the bund on the land

side to take the storm water for a length 5 km on either side at the required locations along with

inlets structure

Pollution in the surface water bodies:

The three main surface water bodies in Thiruvananthapuram are the Karamana River, Killi River and the Parvathy Puthanar, a man made canal. The Kerala State Pollution Control Board is continuously monitoring all the three water bodies. All these water bodies are contaminated with coliform indicating the contamination due to sewage. The quality of water in the lower reaches of the rivers is particularly not satisfactory.

Why does sewage pollution get so bad after rain?

The sewerage system has overflow points that act as safety valves. They are designed to protect public health by preventing sewage backing up into people’s homes if a problem occurs in the system.

In wet weather, overflows may be caused by rainwater getting into the sewer through faults in pipes or illegal connections, exceeding the capacity of the system. Overflows may also occur in dry weather due to problems such as a blocked pipe.

Why is sewage pollution a problem?

Sewage pollution carries

  • Pathogenic protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporium that are a risk to human health
  • Nutrients that can cause algal blooms and encourage weeds to grow and can kill native vegetation
  • Chemicals such as detergents
  • increased dissolved solids.

Testing for Sewage Pollution

A number of indicators are used to test levels of sewage pollution in creeks and rivers. An indicator is something that is easily tested to show that sewage pollution is present. The indicator does not tell you where the pollution came from (ducks, dogs, sewage system)

Faecal coliform are a bacteria that live in the guts of all warm blooded animals. They are not harmful to human health but are used to indicate the possibility of sewage pollution, which could mean the presence of more harmful bacteria and viruses. Methods of identifying viruses and bacteria directly are complicated and expensive, which is why indicators like faecal coliform or enteracocci are used.

Levels of faecal coliforms greater than 1,000 cfu/100 mL exceed the national guideline for secondary-contact recreational use of waterways (eg canoeing, paddleboats).

Ammonia is another substance monitored as an indicator of leakage from the system. Like faecal coliforms, this substance is found at high concentrations in raw sewage. While no specific guidelines are set for total ammonia, levels of 1 mg/L help target areas for investigation.


How can your help to reduce sewer overflows?


Tree roots can invade even the smallest cracks in pipes. As the roots grow, so does the size of the cracks. This lets in rainwater. Tree roots can also block the pipes causing sewers to backup and overflow. Cracked pipes have to be repaired or replaced. Careful thought needs to be given to the location of thirsty trees.


Broken pipes can occur in both Sydney Waters and householders systems. Sydney Water is responsible for inspecting, maintaining and repairing the mains system, and property owners are responsible for sewer pipes and downpipes on their land. Broken sewer pipes not only let stormwater in, they can also allow untreated waste to enter the soil and create unhealthy conditions. If you suspect broken pipes, have your system inspected by a licensed plumber.


Many, but not all, properties have a boundary trap. This acts as an inspection point on the sewerage system. It also stops sewer odours from reaching the property. If the boundary trap is set below ground level and it’s lid or concrete rim is damaged, stormwater can get in. There can also be a problem if the vertical riser is cracked.


Stormwater downpipes are not allowed to be connected to the sewerage system. All water from your roof should be connected to the local councils stormwater system. Sometimes direct connection to the sewerage system may seem easier. The effect of doing so is overflows of diluted raw sewage further down the system.



Poorly fitting cracked or broken inspection holes on the mains sewer system can let water into the sewerage system.


A gully is an open pipe which is covered with a grille and found just outside your building. It is there to release any backflow from blocked sewer pipes and make sure it doesn’t overflow inside the house. If the ground around the gully is built up too high, it can let stormwater into the sewerage system. A plumber can lift the gully or lower the ground around it.


On-site versus off-site sanitation?

On-site sanitation is often (and should be) the first option when considering a sanitation intervention. Such systems have very distinct advantages, not least because they are individual systems, so the disposal of faecal material is dispersed over a wide area, and not centralized as with a conventional sewage treatment works. One of the main disadvantages with centralized facilities is that when they go wrong, the resulting problems can be very acute. From a health point of view, there is not much difference between any of the different options for sanitation (either on or off-site) — so long as they are all functioning properly. It is largely a question of convenience; an off-site system where wastes are flushed off the owner’s property is more convenient as it gets rid of the problem from the owner’s property. Off-site sanitation is usually much more expensive than on-site. There are instances, however, where off-site sanitation is deemed necessary— because of unsuitable ground or housing conditions for on-site systems,

or because of a community’s commitment to an off-site system. There is a certain amount of prestige in having an off-site connection; peer pressure is often a significant motivating force. Once the decision has been made to implement an off-site system, sewers become a necessity. Water has a large dispersion, dilution and carriage capacity, and is, therefore, used as the carriage medium in most sewer systems. Usually, potable water is supplied to the house and is used for flushing toilets, and as much as 40 percent of household water use may be used for this purpose. Some countries do use dual supply systems where no portable water (often sea water) is used for toilet flushing, but such a system requires more infrastructure and has obvious capital cost implications. Therefore, most sewer systems are

heavy users of precious potable water supplies, which should be a factor when considering their implementation, especially in water-poor areas.

Re-use, recovery

Traditionally, sewage has been seen as a problem requiring treatment and disposal. Most conventional sewage treatment options are based on approaches to Northern countries’ problems, which has usually meant a reduction in biodegradable organic material and suspended solids, plus perhaps some nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous). Treatment has involved the ‘removal’ of these pollutants, but removal is usually conversion to another product, usually sludge. The disposal of sewage sludge is a major consideration in many locations, and it is often seen as an offensive product which is either

dumped or burned.

The priorities in developing countries are often different from those in developed countries. Often the main issue is how to control pathogenic material, and any form of sanitation (on or off-site) should have this as its main objective. There are treatment options which can remove pathogenic material, notably waste-stabilization ponds.

Indian Railway Contaminating & Polluting the Environment:- “Due to discarding untreated human Excreta into the open environment”-By team Albatross

Indian Railway Contaminating &   Polluting the Environment:-

“Due to discarding untreated human Excreta into the open environment


By Albatross-

Aswin Vijayan

Prasanth Sasidharan

Jiju Justin

IMK Senate House Campus, Palayam




Since all three of us in the group are regular commuters of Indian Railway (IR) ,  the first thing that got into our mind with respect to the assignment was that of the contamination & pollution of the environment by Indian Railway due to the discarding of untreated human waste or excreta into the open environment. Which we have tried to brief up, otherwise the topic will end up like an epic”.


The National Railways of India, a statutory body and is a ministry under the Government of India. As on today it holds a monopoly in the business of railways in the country. Its railway lines spin a web through the length and breadth of the country spanning over 63,940 km. It has over 216,717 wagons, 39,936 coaches and 7,339 locomotives and runs a total of 14,244 trains daily, including about 8,702 passenger trains and transports around six billion passengers annually across twenty-seven states and three union territories. A passenger train carries 1728passengers at a time all of whom require food, water and Lavatory facilities. Most of these passenger coaches have 4 toilets 2 each on either side of the coach the defecated Human Excreta from these toilets are directly discharged into the open tracks. The human excreta or the sewerage produced by these coaches are neither collected nor treated before they are dumped into the open environment.



It is now well established in Medical Science and in general knowledge as to the hazardous nature of human excreta and the health implications of its unguarded disposal into the open environment. Human excreta always contain large number of germs, which cause diarrhea, Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, other water borne diseases and parasitic infections. The numerous parasites like the Hookworm, Tapeworm, Roundworm, and Pinworm etc which are extremely dangerous are spread mainly through human excreta and which results in communicable diseases.

Most of the passenger coaches have four toilets. The human waste from these toilets is directly discharged onto the open tracks; the unhindered dumping of waste is resulting in unhygienic conditions that cause the spread of disease.

The seemingly innocent actions of the Railways contaminate the environment and promote unsanitary conditions, the very small strides made in sanitation & community health, magnify the propensity to spread diseases including Dengue and Chikungunya, the threat of which is very real on the State of Kerala and even the whole country. The action of the Indian Railways in dumping human excreta and sewerage into the open environment is patently illegal and a direct infringement of the right to life of the People of Kerala and all over the country. Germs from human waste can find their way into food and water, carried over by insects or animals, by runoff from the tracks during the rains or because waste falls directly into rivers and streams the trains pass over. So, a sick passenger can potentially spread the disease over a large area.

The railways appear to be aware of this problem as they have put up notices in some coaches requesting passengers not to use the toilets or throw any waste when the train is stationary.

All polluters are bound by law to dispose off toxic wastes. The Indian Railways should meet standards adopted by other railways across the world and install necessary pollution control and waste disposal mechanisms.

{The railway’s action flouts the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Penal Code, 1860

The right to live in a pollution-free environment has been declared a fundamental right flowing directly from Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it said, claiming the railways build train compartments using outmoded technology and was unwilling to adopt modern practices.}

Suggestions / Solutions

Why not treat all that human excreta and food scraps through composting facilities,chemical retention tank Or a bio-digesters? Recycling could pay for the process, replacing a polluting wasteful practice with a sustainable economical system

Composting toilet

Some trains may also be fitted with composting toilet tanks, which use bacterial action to break down solid and liquid waste before releasing it to the track-bed by way of a chlorine sanitizing tank.

Chemical retention tank

Chemical retention tanks are usually present aboard in newer carriages and railcars in wealthier and more densely populated parts of the world. One issue is that the tanks need to be regularly emptied, usually when being attended at a terminal station or prolonged stop-over. If a train is required in service again within too short a period, the tanks may not get emptied. In this case, toilets may back up, which can result in toilets being closed. Another point of note is that carriages may have less “in service” time if fitted with chemical retention tanks



The bio-digesters use a special form of bacteria to treat the human waste in zero discharge toilets.. The regular cleaning with phenyl, soap, Kerosene etc will not kill these specially developed bacteria’s. The bio digesters do not require any septic Tank, Sewage Tank connectivity. (21 biodigesters have been installed under a pilot scheme in Lakshadweep). The waste treatment by the bio-digester is colourless and odourless, but, produces inflammable biogas (methane). . In zero discharge toilets, the effluent will be recycled for flushing purpose.



Indian Railway has initiated cleanliness activities in trains and stations but their efforts have not even reached grassroots level effectively.

The responsibility of maintenance of cleanliness on railway premises rests with a number of departments like, commercial, medical, engineering, mechanical, electrical etc, and the inefficiency is a result of poor coordination and co-operation between them. Inadequate infrastructure and resources and shortage of manpower in coach yards, inadequate number of dustbins and toilets in trains and improper maintenance are only some of the problem areas in managing solid waste in the IR.

Railways should expedite the process of providing ‘controlled discharge toilet system / zero discharge toilet system’ toilets in coaches to improve hygiene,” IR needs to lay down strict quality parameters for performance and pesticides used by the contracted agencies to ensure effective pest control.

To adapt the bio-digester for passenger trains, the Railways and the DRDO (Defense Research Development Organization) recently signed a MoU to co-develop a bio-digester; DRDO claims that the bio digesters are economically viable.

Indian Railways should strive to enhance the level of user awareness on a large scale and to initiate effective means of harnessing user perception to bring about improvements in the system.”