Description and salient Technical features
Textile mills generate a variety of cellulosic wastes. Willow-dust (cotton-dust) is the major solid cellulosic waste generated in textile mills processing cotton. It has been reported that the waste harbours significant population of gram negative bacteria namely, Pantoca agglomerans, Klebsiella oxytoca, Beijerinckia indica, Methylobacterium sp. and Xanthomonas sp.
On inhalation of dust by the workers in the mills, the lipopolysachharides present in the cell wall induce allergic reaction which is akin to tuberculosis. Prolonged exposure will lead to tuberculosis. The dust also contains high concentrations of toxic inorganic elements. The severity of Byssinosis has been attributed to the combination of toxic inorganic elements and gram negative bacteria. Willow-dust is a voluminous material and hence storing becomes a problem in textile mills where space is a limiting factor. Even on storage, a lot of heat is generated within the dust, making it prone to the risk of fire. The material is generally disposed off at a very cheap rate and the problem is all the more difficult during rainy season for want of buyers.
Composting: Willow - dust is sprayed with 0.1% NaOH and 10 % microbial consortium and moisture is adjusted to 50% and heaped with regular turnings once in 5 days. It is a biological process during which digestion takes place in the presence of oxygen. The work on composting willow-dust indicated that about 35 percent of the material is lost during this process. The manure obtained by this process after 30 days is of superior quality and has given excellent results based on field trials.
The biomanure obtained after fermentation can be directly used for plants, unlike the spent slurry from cattle waste based biogas plants which requires dewatering or sun drying for immediate use. Analysis of willow-dust along with that of biomanure obtained from willow-dust shows that the willow-dust manure has better NPK contents than cattle-waste.
How the new technology will impact the income of the farmers / end users:
Preparation of compost from mill waste will help in promoting use of organic manure.
This will help in keeping the surroundings clean but also improve the health of the mill workers.