Aerobic composting, biomethanation plants mooted

The Cabinet sub-committee on solid waste management, constituted by the Department of Urban Affairs two months ago, found that advanced aerobic composting plants, which employ engineered bacteria, and biomethanation plants, which generate methane from garbage, are the most viable solutions for solid waste management in the State.

Vice Chairman of State Planning Board K.M. Chandrasekhar read out the findings of the technical committee headed by the Executive Vice President of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai on Tuesday, the second day of the workshop being organised here by the New Delhi-based think tank Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

The 10-member committee comprised experts from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Central Council for Science and Industrial Research, and noted scientist RVG Menon. Mr. Chandrasekhar said that decentralised systems of vermin-composting were also considered. However, Mr. Chandrasekhar said, the committee “did not find incineration, pyrolysis, and gasification feasible at the moment.”

Ever since the closure of the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant in 2011, the State government had put its weight behind two of these projects specifically pointed out as ineffective by this group of experts. He also raised the need to examine the feasibility of power-from-garbage models, which incur massive investment.

Pollution control

Improving decentralised waste management systems by adopting pollution control measures was mooted. These suggestions were now under the consideration of the State government, Mr. Chandrasekhar said.

A location-specific system, which took into account the quantity and quality of garbage, was the solution.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy appreciated the efforts of ICRIER in presenting platform of this sort at a time when the State government was indecisive about a model to emulate here.

“People have lost confidence in the government and the local bodies. We need to win them over with a new technology. Waste is wealth abroad but here it is the biggest problem,” he said. The government would waste no time in putting in place a proper system, replicating the isolated success stories of the Attingal and Kodungalloor municipalities.

The State needed more modern slaughterhouses and electric crematoriums. Mr. Chandy said he had spoken to Secretary of Urban Development, Union government, Sudhir Krishna on Central assistance in this regard.

Dearth of funds was not the prime issue in the State, said Mr. Chandy, promising that the State government was according high priority to implementing the right technology.


Exploring viable waste management modelsAugust 27, 2013