Use of biodegradable waste in WTE plants unviable: SLMC

Proposal included in supplementary report submitted to NGT

Updated - July 14, 2022 12:02 pm IST

Published - July 13, 2022 08:24 pm IST - KOCHI

File picture of heaps of legacy waste lying at the dump site of Muvattupuzha municipality in Valakuzhi

File picture of heaps of legacy waste lying at the dump site of Muvattupuzha municipality in Valakuzhi | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on Solid Waste Management has pointed out that the segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste at source is inevitable, as biodegradable waste that contains around 80% moisture is unviable for use in waste-to-energy (WTE) plants owing to the huge expenditure involved in the process.

“There should be secondary segregation of non-biodegradable waste at material recovery facilities, as Solid Waste Management Rules prescribe recycling of valuable and reusable non-biodegradable waste. Non-biodegradable waste having no recyclable value alone needs to be processed in waste-to-energy plants,” said SLMC Chairman A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai. The proposal against the use of biodegradable waste in waste-to-energy plants has been included in the supplementary report of the SLMC on the status of solid waste management in the State submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

While processing biodegradable waste at source, proper records related to the quantity of waste treated at source and its final disposal should be ensured. All bulk generators, including industries, apartment complexes, gated communities, and commercial establishments should set up compulsory in-house biodegradable waste management systems with technical assistance from agencies like Haritha Kerala Mission and Suchitwa Mission, and under the supervision of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, he said.

The report pointed out that unauthorised disposal methods under the pretext of treating waste at source must not happen under any eventuality. Mr. Pillai said several local bodies were not effectively carrying out the segregation and door-to-door collection of solid waste. The performance of Pathanamthitta, Idukki and Kottayam districts is far below average.

Statistics showed that a sizeable percentage of waste generated by households and commercial establishments was left unattended and disposed of in an unscientific manner. Biomining of legacy waste in select sites also has not attained the expected pace, the report said.

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