How to manage solid waste? (Learn from these cities)

Wed, 2016-12-07 11:12 -- SCC India Staff

Manage waste

Managing solid waste is a daunting task for every urban local body (ULB) in India. The irony is such that out of 400 municipal corporations and councils in India, only a handful of ULBs are managing their solid waste management, while reinventing some of the age-old garbage disposal methods with a touch of new technologies. The Council has listed some of the proven examples that can be considered for tackling such a sensitive issue.  

Take Pune’s example. The city has managed to tackle the waste of over 1,700 tonnes that it generates daily, while ensuring minimisation of land fill, freeing up urban land for more productive purposes. At present, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has combined an integrated approach with decentralised waste management by installing 25 bio-methane plants that produce 600 kW of electricity and compost as a by-product. 

The 300 TPD plant by Noble Exchange Environment Solutions Pvt Ltd (NEX) that converts food waste to bio-CNG, is a 300 tpb (total plumbum) vermi-compost project by Ajinkya Biofert and Disha. It uses the Rochem Separation System that processes mixed waste to produce 300 TPD of refuse derived fuel (RDF). This DBOT project by NEX, which converts food waste into valuable bio fuel, has already started producing 45 TPD of bio-CNG and 150 tonnes of organic manure, based on the anaerobic digestion system. At maximum capacity, it can process 300 tonnes of waste, making it the largest biogas plant in India.

Another example is Jabalpur. With the installation of a 600 tonne per day (TPD) municipal solid waste plant, the Jabalpur Municipal Corporation has become India’s first to install a Smart WTE facility producing 11 MW of energy. The plant, installed by Council’s lead partner Essel Infraprojects Ltd, has used refuse-derived fuel (RDF), bio-methanisation and an advanced technology called combustion. Although these technologies work differently, all of them eliminate waste and produce energy.  

That apart, although technology has played a major role in arresting the waste menace, some manual intervention has came in handy as well. To cite an example, Alleppey Municipal Corporation in Kerala, which was grappling with a garbage dumping issue, has now transformed the city’s waste disposal scenario. The focus of the initiative was segregation and treatment of wet waste at source. The pilot project, which was started in just 12 wards, has now spread over 52 wards, covering 40,000 households. The corporation has installed biogas plants, both portable and fixed, with a pipe composting system. 

Today, the corporation is still handling vast amounts of solid waste, but this initiative has led to a saving of nearly Rs 11 lakh on transportation alone, coupled with a huge reduction in LPG bills. 

Another inspiring example is the city of Panaji. The city has truly adopted the method of segregation that is designed to collect household waste on different days for various waste streams. This ensures separation of garbage. CCP has been successful in a number of initiatives — this includes moving towards a zero-waste, landfill-free city. Panaji is presently a 100 per cent bin-free city with 100 per cent success in door-to-door collection of garbage and segregation of garbage at source. Garbage segregation into wet and dry fractions is strictly enforced.

Similarly, residents of Mysuru, one of the cleanest cities in India, have been trained by Mysuru Corporation to segregate “wet” organic waste from dry waste and to use different coloured bins for each. The door-to-door collection starts at 6.30 AM and is carried out by community workers. The waste is neatly segregated into over 24 categories, labelled, and sold to scrap merchants who sell it to recyclers and industries that can reuse the material. Nothing goes to waste, not even bottle caps. The biodegradable waste is subjected to composting and converted to manure within 30-45 days. 

To sum up, if the current 62 million tonnes of municipal waste generated annually continues to be dumped without treatment, landfill space to the tune of 340,000 cubic metres will be required everyday (which works out to 1,240 hectares of landfill space per year). Considering the projected waste generation of 165 million tonnes by 2031, the requirement of land for setting up landfills for 20 years (distributed over 10-metre high waste piles) could be as high as 66,000 hectares.

A government task force set up by the Environment Ministry has taken a serious view of this situation, and considers it imperative to minimise the waste going to landfills by at least 75 per cent, through processing of MSW, using appropriate technologies and methods at the source of waste generation