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Environmental And Economical Implications Of Municipal Solid Waste Compost Applications To Agricultural Fields In Punjab, Pakistan

Akram, Dr. Muhammad (2009) Environmental And Economical Implications Of Municipal Solid Waste Compost Applications To Agricultural Fields In Punjab, Pakistan. PhD thesis, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

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Abstract

The application of municipal solid waste compost (MSWC) is rapidly becoming popular worldwide to enhance and sustain soil organic matter (SOM) and crop productivity. The use of municipal solid waste as compost also offers a unique opportunity for its economical disposal. Factually, this disposal prospect is even more important than upraise of soil fertility and crop yields, especially in developing countries like Pakistan where management of solid waste is a major environmental issue. Despite of its potential as nutrient source, widespread acceptability of MSWC has suffered due to the presence of heavy metals and possible risk to human being through food chain. Furthermore, the sole use of MSWC to satisfy nutrients need of a crop is not a practical approach and may result into heavy metals and phosphorus (P) accumulation in soil. Elevated P levels pose serious environmental risk such as eutrophication. To alleviate risks of heavy metals and phosphorus accumulation in soil, an integrated nutrient management scheme mounting to the combined use of MSWC and mineral fertilizers is needed. To develop a practically viable, economically feasible and environmentally safe nutrient management plan for rice-wheat and cotton- wheat cropping systems in a region of Punjab province of Pakistan, two 3-year (2002-05) field trials were conducted on a permanent layout with six different treatments comprising three management strategies and two nutrient doses. Management strategies included the application of mineral fertilizer as the sole nutrient supplement and the application of mineral fertilizer in combination with MSWC with and without pesticide/herbicide treatments. Within each management strategy, nutrients were applied in two different doses. One dose was based on standard N, P and K recommendations without site specific analysis of soil nutrient levels. For the second dose, the applied fertilizer amount was calculated based on measured, site specific, plant available soil phosphorus levels. Results revealed that an integrated application of MSWC and mineral fertilizer based on site specific phosphorus levels with the use of pesticides and herbicides was an economically viable and environmentally safe option in comparison with general practice of sole mineral fertilizer applications. The application of MSWC also led to the improvement (statistically significant) of physical properties of soil in terms of reduction in soil bulk density and penetration resistance. Soil organic matter contents were found to be sustainable over 3-year trial period and almost no significant increase and decrease in SOM was observed. Measured, site specific, plant available soil phosphorus level for surface (0-15 cm) soil was significantly higher as compared to initial status in both cropping systems for all treatments by the end of trial and was near to the target sufficiency levels. Phosphorus accumulations, important from environmental point of view, were also not observed. No potential risk of heavy metals (Zn, Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni) accumulation was ascertained. On the basis of experimental results, a combined use of MSWC and chemical fertilizer can be recommended to the farmers to reap its benefits in terms of improvement in SOM content and physical properties of soil. Consequently, higher crop yield.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Municipal, Environmentally, Solid, Worldwide,fields, Environmental, Economical, Pakistan, Agricultural, Implications, Applications, Waste
Subjects:Physical Sciences (f) > Earth Sciences(f4)
ID Code:5592
Deposited By:Mr. Javed Memon
Deposited On:25 Oct 2010 11:33
Last Modified:29 Dec 2011 10:41

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