This, says Eric Melin, president Asia Pacific for Nalco, is why paper and pulp companies worldwide should embrace best-in-class sustainable water management and conservation practices.
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) couldn’t agree more. The company is investing significant amounts of time, money and resources on initiatives that will not only help the company reduce its water footprint in Indonesia and deliver clean water to the nation’s citizens, but also provide jobs and other economic and social opportunities in communities where APP operates. These many initiatives are underway at the local, national and international levels.
On the global front, APP was the first pulp and paper company in Indonesia to join companies around the world in endorsing United Nations Global CEO Water Mandate, a public-private initiative dedicated to developing strategies and solutions that help solve the emerging global water crisis. According to the United Nations (UN) every day millions of tons of inadequately treated sewage and industrial and agricultural wastes are poured into the world’s waters, leaving 1 billion people without access to a sufficient water supply. In turn, this water contamination weakens or destroys natural ecosystems that support human health, food production, and biodiversity.
In endorsing the UN mandate, APP is working with governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to address the global water challenge. APP embraces the Global Mandate’s six core elements: Direct Operations, Supply Chain and Watershed Management, Collective Action, Public Policy, Community Engagement, and Transparency.
In Asia, APP and Nalco recently launched a two-year research and development program to map out the company’s overall water footprint across all components of its operations in Indonesia and China.
Along with exploring new technologies and other ways for APP to continue to reduce its overall water footprint, Nalco and APP will seek opportunities to create programs providing healthy, clean water to communities across Indonesia.
Melin said Nalco looks forward to working intimately with APP and hopes other companies will follow its lead.
“It’s essential for paper companies the size of APP to constantly explore new technologies and operating procedures that can potentially reduce their overall water footprint,” he said. “In our joint work with APP, we’ll start by examining every aspect of water usage in all APP facilities to benchmark current performance against best-in-class global standards to allow us to chart a course for the future.”
At the local level, APP and its pulpwood suppliers continually seek ways to not only reduce the water they draw from nearby streams, but also to return it cleaner than it was going in.
APP mills introduced the anaerobic (meaning “without oxygen”) treatment process to Indonesia’s pulp and paper industry. This water treatment process uses bacteria that do not depend on oxygen to convert contaminants in the water. The technology is unique because during conversion these bacteria produced methane gas which can be used as energy for production. The result: clean water and an efficient source of energy.
In addition, to ensure that the quality of their effluent meets or exceeds both Indonesian and world water quality standards, all of APP’s mills treat water with high-efficiency activated sludge and chemical processes. And to reduce chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels, each mill employs oxygen bleaching in the water treatment process.
Through continuous innovations of waste water treatment technologies and series of production efficiency, APP strives to reduce its water consumption as well as improve its waste water quality significantly.