Civic body yet to clear over 500 tonnes of inflammable RDF

In the run up to to Deepavali, organisations managing Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs) were bogged down by uncollected highly inflammable Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). They had highlighted the very real threat of a fire breaking out.

Nearly a month has passed, but the issue is yet to be resolved. A week ago, a DWCC centre in Ward 12, Shettyhalli, that was sitting on a mass of RDF, was gutted by an accidental fire. People who run the centres said more such fire accidents are waiting to happen unless the RDF pileup is cleared.

When the matter was first raised earlier in November, the pile of RDF amounted to around 500 tonnes. This has now increased by another couple of hundred tonnes.

“The cause of the fire at Shettyhalli is not known, but there was over 15 tonnes of RDF. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had promised to clear it. Highly combustible RDF caused the fire to spread, and the entire centre was gutted. A similar fire accident happened in March this year, again due to RDF pileup,” said Mohammed Shabaz, 22, a waste-picker who runs the DWCC.

Cement factories in Kalaburagi district had initially started taking RDF to use as alternate fuel in their incinerators, but stopped claiming that it is no longer economically viable on account of high transportation costs (over 600 km). They have also asked for the RDF to be segregated. In its current form, the RDF emanates a foul smell, and has a low low calorific value.

These issues were raised on November 2 at a meeting attended by officials from the BBMP, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KPSB) and cement factories. At the time, civic officials said they would immediately shift RDF from all DWCCs to one of their waste processing plants, segregate, shred and bale it so that more volume of the fuel could be transported in fewer vehicles to reduce transportation cost.

However, this has not been done yet. Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP, said that as cement factories had issues with the calorific value of RDF, they had taken samples from DWCCs. “Cement factories are expected to get back to us by this weekend. If they approve of the RDF samples, then shifting it to a plant and shredding it is a two-day job,” he said.

He pointed to a bigger problem. “Collecting RDF from DWCCs will lead to a pileup of several hundred tonnes of combustible RDF at one place, centralising the problem, causing a bigger fire scare. The Chikkanagamangala plant was gutted in a fire caused by RDF in November 2016 leading to a loss of several crores of rupees,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 12:43:25 PM |

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