New Tech in Waste Segregation

New Tech in Waste Segregation

Some latest Waste-to-Energy (WTE) technologies don’t need dry garbage to be separated from wet, said secretary to Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), CK Mishra, at an event on Thursday, adding they are “still under examination.”

The current policy makes segregation absolutely mandatory, he stated.

In a reply to a question in Lok Sabha in 2016, then-minister Anil Dave had said India generates around 62 million tonnes of solid waste annually. Of this, a mere 43 million tonne is collected and only 11.9 metric tonnes is treated. The bulk, 31 metric tonnes is dumped into landfill sites in an unhygienic way.

Even the best cities, which have repeatedly ranked in the first five in Swachh Sarveshkans — Indore, Bhopal, Vijayawada, etc. — are unable to do 100 per cent garbage segregation. Most recently, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) adopted a ‘Plasma Gasification’ technology used by the US Army that would make a slurry of the entire waste and then extract water, fuel and electricity, rendering the need for segregation useless.

Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, reportedly, also has a WTE that uses a ‘steam pyrolysis’ technology that steams the mixed waste to produce energy through the turbine, and Bhopal plans to adopt it.

“Newer technologies are coming some of which the Department of Science and Technology and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are looking at, which actually suggest that since you have failed to segregate your waste, don’t segregate, just give it to us as it is. All kinds of thoughts are going around,” said CK Mishra at NGO Chintan’s release of a book titled ‘The State of Waste in India.’

Most experts, though, still frown at the idea of WTEs saying segregation, composting, and recycling are the only ways forward.

Mishra also underlined how most civic bodies in India have failed to implement the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Rules 2016. “Talking about waste, we tend to think big cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, but huge amounts of garbage are being generated in smaller towns and villages too. They lack both financial resources and understanding.”