Delhi moved a step closer to addressing its gargantuan problem of solid waste disposal with the laying of the foundation stone of the first-of-its-kind Rs.200 crore plant at Okhla that would not only treat 1950 metric tonnes of solid waste each day but also generate 16 MW power from it in an environment-friendly manner.

Laying the foundation stone, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said this project marked the taking of a big step towards ensuring scientific treatment of municipal waste.

Stating that the consumption habits of modern consumers was causing a huge waste problem, Ms. Dikshit said the problem was compounded in Delhi due to paucity of space. Delhi has overfilled its landfill capacities and is finding it difficult to dispose off 7,000 tonnes of municipal waste that is generated daily.

The waste treatment and power generation project is being set up under a public-private partnership between Delhi Government and Jindal Ecopolis.

Ms. Dikshit said the project is based on a scientific, environment-friendly and state-of-the-art approach to waste management. It will also address the issues of scarcity of land and shortage of power.

To be executed by Timarpur-Okhla Waste Company Limited, the project is being developed as a fully integrated waste management system with a power plant. The company has already signed an agreement to sell the electricity to Delhi at Rs.2.45 per unit.

The plant will convert 1,950 tonnes of municipal solid waste -- equivalent to nearly 200 truck load -- into 16 MW power. The waste, that would more than 25 per cent of what Delhi generates each day, would be delivered to the plant by both New Delhi Municipal Council and Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

The project would handle both bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable waste. There will be system in place to segregate hazardous material and recyclables like PVC, metal and glass. The plant will also have advance flue gas control systems to take care of dioxins, furons, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides besides other gases and particulate matter. The fly ash or bottom ash generated by the power plant will also be utilised for tile and brick making.

The project, it was informed, has already received all the requisite statutory permissions including clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest. It is currently under implementation stage and will be operational by early 2011. The contracts for all major parts of the equipments including the power plant and environmental control systems have already been awarded.

This project is registered under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and promises to generate clean and green energy. Ms. Dikshit added that generation of energy from waste follows almost a similar process as acquiring energy from fossil fuel. The solid by-product is harmless ash that can be used for various purposes like construction material, tile manufacturing and filling low lying areas.

The plant will also have an effluent treatment unit at the site and the project has also been registered for earning carbon credits.

The Chief Minister said another such plant would be set up by Delhi International Airport Limited at Ghazipur. This will produce around 8 MW power from 1,300 tonnes of solid waste.

Noting that power generation from waste will enrich and protect the environment, she said, it has also been decided that the last coal based power project in Delhi will be shut down after start of generation from the new Bamnauli and Bawana power projects.

East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit said the Okhla plant would go a long way in systematic and safe disposal of solid waste. Stating that Delhi would be marching in step with the rest of the world in opting for renewable sources of energy, he said the the project was also good as it would be supplying power to Delhi at a very reasonable rate.

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