Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What a waste

As a city like Bangalore struggles to tackle its 5000 tonnes of waste generated daily, with residents near landfills up in arms, it seems a logical solution to turn this waste to wealth. In the UK a 60MW energy-from-waste plant in Cheshire backed by Tata Chemicals and E.ON has just been given government approval. Consent was required for the construction of the £250m plant at Lostock, Northwich, after taking into account concerns around its potential health and visual impacts, as well the implications for traffic safety and the local environment. The Lostock plant deals with about 600,000 tonnes of waste-derived fuel a year. This waste has had all the economically recyclable materials removed and would otherwise be sent to landfill for disposal.
There are already umpteen such plants around the world generating power and it would make sense to study the pitfalls and learn well in time. Plans are on in Bangalore to set up a biogas plant among some other waste to energy plans with biomethanation plants taking 3 months to set up. Even these will not be effective if segregation is not done. Supreme Court guidelines say WTE can be an option only if the waste cannot be recycled or composted. Much of the waste, if segregated, can be composted. Segregation will have to start at homes.
So what is a better option – to compost or generate power? Any ideas?

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