Waste-to-energy drive gets a boost in Chennai

Officials initiate steps to process at least 50 per cent of the city's 5,000 tonnes of daily garbage

Updated - May 26, 2016 05:46 am IST

Published - May 26, 2016 12:00 am IST - CHENNAI:

The Greater Chennai Corporation and the Department of Municipal Administration have revived a project aimed at using biodegradable municipal solid waste for generating huge quantities of organic fertiliser and electricity.

On Tuesday, officials led by the Municipal Administration Department started assessing the existing facilities for decentralised waste management to process at least 50 percent of municipal solid waste. Chennai generates around 5,000 tonnes of garbage daily.

The proposal received an impetus after filmmakers led by actor Parthiban started a civil society movement in the city for improving farm activity in the suburbs.

In August 2015, Mr. Parthiban met with senior officials of Greater Chennai Corporation and other line agencies of the State government to use biodegradable municipal solid waste for making agriculture affordable by developing a “network of not-for-profit stakeholders in civil society”.

The initiative ran out of steam after officials were unable to support the movement due to the floods in December and the announcement of the Assembly elections in March.

The ‘Nisargruna’ technology from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has already been adopted in areas such as Pulianthope in Chennai.

“Decentralised ‘Nisargruna’ technology offers countless socio-economic advantages and substantial environmental gains. The technology has been transferred to more than 100 entrepreneurs. It gives an attractive return on investment. A one-tonne facility costs Rs. 19 lakh,” said J. Daniel Chellappa, senior scientist, Technical Coordination Wing, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

Even as the initiatives taken by BARC and the Government involve investment and is viewed as an excellent business proposition, the movement by the filmmakers led by Parthiban claims to focus only on making it a not-for-profit initiative.

“This initiative will mobilise urban residents and support farmers in villages found close to cities. We can reduce spending by farmers on procuring fertilisers. Thousands of residents of Chennai could join hands to segregate garbage for supplying organic fertiliser free of cost to the farmer,” said Mr. Parthiban.

Filmmakers have planned to resume meeting senior officials over the initiative to promote decentralised waste management. They will also start creating awareness among farmers on the need for a network between residents of urban areas and farmers in rural belts.

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