Why waste-to-energy plants aren’t the ideal solution for managing our trash

The government’s plan to set up a waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerator plant at the city’s Bandhwari landfill has brought into debate the effectiveness of such plants in managing solid waste. Setting up incinerator plants is “illogical” in the Indian scenario, according to several experts. Most cities, including Gurgaon, are facing a huge challenge in handling waste as they are following a “flawed” system of waste disposal and management, they said.

According to experts, waste management in Indian cities is solely based on collection and transportation methods, which leaves out the opportunity for segregation and recycling. While producing energy from waste is a crucial element of solid waste management as it reduces waste volume and also helps in converting it into renewable energy, WTE plants should ideally come into the management model after segregation, collection and recycling, experts pointed out.

Dr Shyamala K Mani, senior advisor at the Centre For Environmental Health, Public Health Foundation of India, said 6.2 crore metric tonnes (MT) of solid waste are generated in urban areas in India annually, which will occupy 3,40,000 cubic metres of volume, or 1,240 hectares of area, in landfills per year.

ET Energy World
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