While Chandigarh continues to tackle the problem of management of municipal solid waste,with the city generating 350 tonne of it daily,Panjab University (PU) professor Dr S K Soni has undertaken a research project to address the problem in a cost-effective and environmental-friendly way. PU has received a grant of Rs 1 crore from the Ministry of Science and Technology,Government of India for the pilot project.
The project is based on the idea of evolving an integrated process of bio-conversion of the solid waste into bio-ethanol,which can further be used as fuel. Titled,Bio-refinery for cost effective bio-ethanol production from biodegradable municipal solid waste: Technology Development and its validation,the research,is slated to take three years for completion.
Highlighting that there has been a significant increase in municipal solid waste generation in India in the last few decades,Dr Soni said the issue has become a major environmental concern.
The only solution adopted is collection of the waste for land-filling,which is not only filthy,but also leads to contamination of groundwater. Moreover,it causes inconvenience to the residents of the near-by areas,as there is a constant fear of explosion of methane gas,which gets accumulated at the land-filling site, said Dr Soni,who is a professor in the Department of Microbiology.
The city has only one garbage-processing plant,stretched over 10 acres of land in Dadu Majra area on the outskirts of the city. It is significant to note that it has remained a cause of worry for the city residents,civic body and environmentalists,ever since it was inaugurated in 2008,because of the foul smell it generates and other environmental hazards.
Elaborating on the outcomes of the project,Professor Soni said the experiments on the subject began in the department laboratory five years back. We will validate the results achieved,through the project. The process will reduce the levels of municipal solid waste,help in reducing greenhouse emissions and increase the countrys energy security, he said.
It is also significant to note that a cheaper way of production of bio-ethanol will be evolved through the project,which can then be produced at a larger scale to reduce the demand of petrol/diesel. Many countries have successfully tackled the energy crisis through this way,then why should India lag behind, Dr Soni added.