The connection between solid waste and polluted groundwater is ominous. analyses some trends in solid waste management.
What is the scope of your work in India?
We are a company that manages 300,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. Unlike in developed countries where people segregate their wet waste from dry waste and put it into separate bins, in India, we put it all together. If you separate this waste, it can be recycled.
Therefore, in India, the first step required is segregation and we are a specialist at segregating the waste since it is not segregated at source. We then convert this into energy. We convert waste plastic and waste tyres into diesel.
So, we are present in a big way in two sectors of waste management, recycling and energy recovery. We see huge gaps in these areas as this energy recovery segment doesn't exist in India right now. What people do is in case they cannot recycle the waste, they put it in landfills.
How big is the problem?
In developed countries, they recycle 80 per cent of the waste and not a great deal of wasteland gets generated. If you consider developing economies like India, Africa and China, huge quantities of wastelands are created like ulcer patches on earth.
These patches release methane gas which is 10 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It's also the cause of the foul odour you associate with dumping yards. Around 5-10 per cent of global warming is happening because of methane coming out from dumping yards.
In case you consider waste generation per year, in India around, 1.3 per cent of land is getting converted into wasteland every year. Around four-five years ago, we didn't have the problem of finding space for landfills. Now, there is a shortage. Now, what people are doing is they have started stacking up the waste above each other. The height of landfill has now gone up to a height equivalent to the fourth and fifth floors of buildings.
What technologies do you use to deal with this?
The key technologies for managing waste include composting where you covert a major part of the waste into compost. This compost can further be converted into fertilisers or can be used as compost, as it is.
The second technology is refuse-derived fuel (RDF). We have this technology operational in Chandigarh.
In Navi Mumbai, we use composting technology and in Chandigarh we use RDF. The third technology available is bio-methanation but this technology is risky.
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