AIT, with a population of over 4000 inhabitants, generates toxic and hazardous waste of domestic origin, from laboratories, as well as from unused medicines. Furthermore, AIT golf course also utilizes several pesticides in order to maintain a golf course free of pests. The domestic toxic and hazardous waste may contain items such as insecticides, pesticides used in gardens, solvents, used batteries, and unused medication.
This initiative is aimed to develop an appropriate collection, management and disposing system for hazardous and toxic waste generated on campus. The main activities are (1) inventory of toxic and hazardous chemicals utilized and disposed off from domestic use, research laboratories and AIT golf course, (2) to outline current collection, treatment and disposal methods for these wastes, and (3) recommend appropriate collection and disposal system for these wastes.
A survey was conducted in order to determine the type of toxic/hazardous materials being used in the campus. Four sets of questionnaire were distributed among four stakeholders namely; the campus residents (students, staff and faculty), laboratories, campus clinic and golf course.
In the survey, the community were asked the extent of their (a) understanding about toxic chemical and hazardous chemical, (b) to provide a list of toxic/hazardous chemicals used in house and its purpose of use, (c) what are the present collection system and disposal method of unused/leftover chemical products and unused medicines, and (d) safety equipment for handling toxic/hazardous products.
In the initial findings of the survey, the major hurdle is the lack of awareness about the toxic and hazardous materials amongst the campus community. This is because the students and staff come from different countries with different backgrounds and social customs. Also, the laboratories do not have a system in place for management of the toxic and hazardous materials. The task of proper management and handling of toxic and hazardous wastes in the campus will be a challenge.