New Delhi: Noting the decrepit state of slaughterhouses in India, the country's top pollution watchdog has suggested a series of measures to ensure safe disposal of solid waste generated from them and check pollution. A report released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Monday also pointed to the need to upgrade old slaughterhouses on modern lines for overall improvement in sanitation and hygiene and wholesome meat production.

“Most of the slaughter houses in the country are very old and still in primitive condition. These units operate with inadequate basic amenities such as proper flooring, water supply etc. Further, many slaughter houses are much smaller and widely scattered. To equip such units for effective processing of waste is a challenge," the CPCB report said.

The report titled Revised comprehensive industry document on slaughter houses was prepared in consultation with the Central Leather Research Institute and recommends various ‘best practicable methods for different categories of slaughter houses’ to deal with the problem. 

India has more than 1,176 slaughterhouses and 75 modern abattoirs, apart from hundreds of illegal slaughterhouses. The focus on the sector will only grow as India, the world’s second largest exporter of meat products, is expected to become the world leader.

The CPCB report noted that though India’s domestic market for meat is also growing with the increase in number of fast food outlets, the meat sector is still one of the poorly organized sectors.

“Though the consumption of meat is on increase, the quality aspects have not been adequately addressed so far," it added.

The report stressed that “municipal slaughterhouses are under the control of corporation / municipal authorities and no effort has been made to make meat production as an important economic activity."

“Lack of awareness, poor private participation and environmental problems are some of the constraints in providing hygienic meat and meat products … effluents and solid waste generated from slaughterhouse are disposed without proper treatment. Solid waste is disposed along with municipal solid waste in open dumping in most of the cities and towns," it highlighted.

Waste from slaughterhouses largely includes stomach and intestine contents of animals, dung, animal matter like meat trimmings and bones. Liquid waste like blood from animals, urine and internal fluids often gets mixed with water used to wash the place, leading to water pollution.

The report suggested several measures to tackle the problem.

For large slaughterhouses (mostly in cities and in congested areas), the report said that they generate substantial quality of solid wastes which needs to be processed in an environmentally acceptable manner.

“For the large slaughter houses, biomethanation of Type-I waste and rendering for Type-II waste are suggested. Biomethanation for Type-I waste and rendering for Type-II waste should also be considered for medium size slaughter houses with an alternative of composting," said the report.

Type-I waste includes vegetable matter such as rumen, stomach and intestinal contents, dung, agriculture residues while Type-II waste includes animal matter like inedible offal, tissues, meat trimmings, waste and condemned meat and bones.

But for small slaughterhouses, the report said, sophisticated and capital-intensive technologies are unviable due to low volume of wastes and non-availability of other infrastructure facilities.

“For small slaughter houses, a more pragmatic approach would be to make use of natural process such as composting. This would be financially and technically viable and should be acceptable for the small slaughter houses," it added.

It stressed that proper solid waste management will improve sanitation in and around slaughterhouses and it is beneficial to the slaughter houses in the long run due to returns on account of recovery and use or sale of the secondary by-products.

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