Urban landfill sites are not the final answer for solid waste management. The problems caused by landfills can only be mitigated by adopting environment friendly waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies that will help in treating waste before disposal. The twin cities need three WTE plants to be able to recycle close to 3,000 metric tonnes (MT) of garbage produced on a daily basis.

“Within seven years, the 280-acre Jawaharnagar landfill site will be completely filled and authorities will have to look for a new site. Landfills pollute surface and ground water due to leaching. They are the prime source for emitting greenhouse gases like Methane,” said Junior Research Associate, Earth and Environment Engineering, Columbian University, A. K. Ranjith. As part of research, Mr. Ranjith, who is pursuing his MS in Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbian University, is on three-month-long visit to various cities in India to study the prevalent solid waste management techniques employed locally.

On Monday, the young researcher interacted with the media and shared some of the findings during the course of the research.

“Constructing WTE plant is expensive and that is why the government and private companies have to partner to sustain such projects. It is important to construct sanitary landfills that protect surface and ground water and take measures to collect the biogas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr. Ranjith suggested.

Ideal method

The researcher said that the ideal way to handle solid waste management was to recycle, compost it and then waste-to-energy conversion.

“In Hyderabad, plastic and paper recycling is done in the unorganised sector. Estimates are that of 100 tonnes, only 7 tonnes are recycled while the rest is dumped,” he points out. The waste management researcher lamented that hardly anything is done to covert waste into compost.

“This is an area where a lot can be done. Hardly any composting work is going on in Hyderabad or other cities in India. There is no magic wand solution and a concerted effort is needed by all,” he added.

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