Turning Chennai waste into energy
new delhi — One of the biggest issues plaguing the big cities of India is the piling up of rubbish and waste much, much faster than these can be recycled.
In Mumbai, much of the waste is used as landfills over which malls and office towers are built. Nevertheless, the waste piles up in place like Deonar in Chembur, for example, four to five-storey high.
Chennai is even more in trouble regarding waste. It is not clear why, because recycling technologies are available. In place like Sweden for example recycling plants are so efficient, they are half the time waiting for rubbish to arrive.
Unlike Mumbai, Chennai has now decided to tackle waste on a war-footing. Last week, the Greater Chennai Corporation finalised a Rs14.4 billion project to recycle waste to energy. The project would essentially tackle the mounting waste at the 270-acre site at Kodungaiyur and 228-acre site at Perungudi.
Two waste to energy (WTE) plants will be set up in these two places, now nearly uninhabitable because of the unseemly sight and unbearable stench. Once the plants start fully functioning the conversion of the waste will result in turning these sites into prime land for development, and the Greater Chennai Corporation stands to gain from it.
The idea to convert the waste to power is not new, but not widely practised in India. Kodungaiyour will generate 32MW and Perungudi will generate 26MW electricity. Tenders are scheduled to be floated next week.
The corporation hopes to privatise nearly 70 per cent of the conservancy operations through these projects. Of the total outlay of Rs14.4 billion, Rs1.4 billion would go to meet solid waste collection.
The project also means the sites will be no longer open to dumping waste. The firms selected will need to sanitise the landfills for a period of 15 years. All through this period they will be required to isolate and destroy toxic waste from the landfill and conserve the environment. How the waste is converted to energy would be the headache of the selected operating firms.
The WTE plants will meet European emission standards, said a spokesperson for the Greater Chennai Corporation.