GIREM recommends waste-to-energy plants in each Assembly segment

As urban India grapples with the challenge of handling municipal solid waste, GIREM (Global Initiative for Restructuring Environment and Management), an industry body, has come out with an exhaustive report which recommends setting up of waste-to-energy plants at the Assembly constituency level.

According to a press release from GIREM, the report ‘Managing Solid Waste at the Assembly Constituency Level’, underscores the benefits of WTE methods, particularly in minimising the use of landfills; generating energy from waste; cutting down on huge transportation bills; and involving the community at the Assembly level. The report has been submitted to various State Governments.

The Chairman of GIREM, Sankey Prasad, said, “The amount of solid waste generated in India is unimaginable and only technology can help resolve the problem as landfill as a solution has major limitations. GIREM recommends safe and green technologies, which are implementable across the country. Combined waste incineration methods are time-tested in developed countries and the report has cited successful models.”

The President of GIREM, Shyam Sundar S. Pani, says, “Public hygiene in India has been compromised. It is one of the most neglected areas of urban development and we are sitting on a garbage bomb which is ticking away. Considering the gravity of the situation, GIREM’s study points out how the problem can be resolved at the Assembly level and also make the legislator accountable for cleanliness and upkeep of his or her constituency. The waste-to-energy plants are safe and environment-friendly and above all have the potential to supply energy to the grid.”

The requirement

The report has pointed out that with the average Indian generating about 500 gm of waste on a daily basis, urban India is generating 703 lakh tonnes of solid waste annually. The collection and disposal of garbage in most of the cities is woefully lacking, leading to environmental and health hazards. At the same time, landfills are becoming scarce in urban areas and also prohibitive. It is estimated that at current rates of dumping/land-filling, by 2050, India will require approximately 1,400 sq. km of land or the equivalent of three Mumbai cities. Not to forget, the resistance that is building up in locating landfills in suburban or even rural areas.

In this background, GIREM conducted a study of municipal solid waste generation and management in Gurgaon and Bangalore. GIREM also studied one of the best waste-to-energy plants in the world, located in Sweden, and owned by 11 municipalities there. The waste-fuelled district heating power plant is located just 200 metres from a residential area, and is considered safe. It is one of the world’s most advanced facilities for the incineration of waste, is licensed to incinerate 550,000 tonnes of waste per year and it operates 24/7, 365 days a year.

The plant delivers the annual electricity consumption for almost 60,000 apartments and heating and hot water for approximately 120,000 apartments.

For Bangalore

In the case of Bangalore, which has 28 Assembly constituencies, the amount of solid waste generated on a daily basis is 4,620 tonnes. The same can be incinerated using the Swedish technology. The energy generated from these plants can provide lighting for 6,500 apartments. With this technology we can process 165 tonnes per day in an Assembly constituency.

“The Swedish plant can be scaled down to the requirements of an Assembly segment. The plant is based on high technology and the benefits are many specifically in terms of environment and health, outweighing all other factors, including cost. The plant is a feasible and scalable solution,” added Pani.

GIREM is focused on urbanisation, future cities and eco-socio-economic infrastructure, with a vision to be an industry platform to help create better sustainable business-eco systems and societal infrastructure through public-private partnerships.