Waste Management a Serious Concern for India : Indian Waste to Energy Conference - Potential for 6 GW Capacity

india waste to energy

A one day conference in India has heard that Waste to Energy (WtE) projects could play a critical role in achieving safe and integrated solid waste management in an environmentally sound, socially accepted, and economically feasible manner – and generate between 4GW – 6 GW of energy.

Rapid urbanisation and industrialisation over the recent decades has resulted in increased waste generation in Indian cities.

The country’s latest Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report indicate the discharge of 144,165 tonnes per day (TPD) in the country, and this is projected to go up to a whopping 265,834 TPD by 2017 (MNRE, GoI estimate).

The situation is causing health hazards and has become a priority for the government

In view of the above, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change recently reviewed the MSW (Management and Handling) Rules 2000, and issued the draft Solid Waste Management Rules 2015.

The conference was inaugurated by Shri Prakash Javadekar, Hon. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change,Government of India, who was the Chief Guest. Speaking at the inaugural session of the conference, Mr. Javadekar said that the topic of waste to energy is close to his heart.

Speaking on the technologies available for waste to energy, the Minister said that current Municipal Waste processing practices are ‘contract-driven’ and not subject to proper assessment with regard to technology and processes.

To tackle this problem, Mr. Javadekar said that the Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India, has established a separate cell, which, with the network of all the scientific establishments will verify, check, assess the appropriate technologies for processing the waste. It was claimed that this will provide a major boost to the sector.

He also said that 86% of sewage was going untreated and entering water bodies, causing water pollution and related health problems.

Thus ‘responsible’ waste management is the need of the hour he said. The new draft Solid Waste Management Rules, 2015, envisages facilitation, construction, operation and maintenance of solid waste processing facilities and associated infrastructure in-house or with private sector participation. The final aim, he said, was reduction of the carbon footprint.

The Hon Minister went on to add that the government has introduced some unique programmes for countering the waste problem in the country. First was introducing waste management in schools.

Four bins have been provided for each school for segregation of plastic, petro, tin, and glass waste. Children are encouraged to bring waste and drop it into the bins.

The waste is then recycled and money obtained from this is used for carrying out various activities of the school. Another unique intervention was recognising the value of the ‘unrecognised’ class or ragpickers who play an important role in segregation of waste in the country. The Minister said that henceforth, these ragpickers will be duly felicitated every year for their work in the sector.

Concluding the session, Mr. Javadekar said that going by the model example of the city of Surat, which is a clean city today, courtesy the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, he said that the campaign had ‘clicked’ with the society and was proving to be a boost for overall health as well as tourism in the country.

Mr. Praveen Prakash, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), GoI, who was the Guest of Honour at the inaugural session, stated that the Government of India has set a target of generating 700 MW energy from waste by 2019. For this, many concrete steps have been taken by the government. These are as follows:

Purchase of power by the Distribution Companies from any city generating power from waste is now Mandatory.

The Ministry of Fertilsers has made it mandatory for co-marketing of city compost by the fertiliser marketing companies and they would be entitled for an incentive

Rs.1500 per tonne ($22 per tonne) of compost, the notification of which has been made on 10 Feb 2016.

All companies marketing urea to verify how much composting has been done by them. This was notified on 22 January 2016.

Thermal plants located within an 80 km radius of a sewage treatment plant should compulsorily use the treated waste water for their plant.

Mr. Prakash added that there is an urgent need for reducing interest rates for loans for waste to energy projects. He concluded that the deliberations/conclusions derived from the conference will be affirmatively taken up by the Ministry of Urban Development with the objective of enhancing the growth of the sector.

Also present at the Inaugural Session were Mr. G M Pillai, Founder Director General, WISE, and Mr. Mahesh Babu, Managing Director, IL&FS Environment Infrastructure and Services. Mr. Mahesh Babu said that the ILFS Ghazipur waste to energy plant is on trial run and necessary measures to control emissions within the prescribed Euro norms have been taken by the plant.

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