In an effort to decentralise management of waste in the city, the BMC, with technical support from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), will soon set up a 20-metric tonne biogas plant at Deonar Abattoir by year-end.
The new plant will replace the current dysfunctional four-metric tonne plant and will be used to create byproducts from animal waste collected at the slaughterhouse and waste collected from the nearby Deonar dumping ground.
Biogas is produced as landfill gas and a biogas plant is an anaerobic digester that treats farm wastes or energy crop. With the assistance of the civic body, BARC had set up two plants in 2003 on a pilot basis – at Deonar Abattoir and Shatabdi hospital in Govandi. A BARC official said a one-metric tonne plant usually costs about Rs 15 lakh.
“We have invited tenders from BARC to set up the plant in place of the existing plant which is dysfunctional. We will also demolish the existing plant soon,” said Appasing Pawra, deputy general manager, Deonar Abattoir.
At present, the civic body spends around Rs 1,400 crore annually only to transport waste from households to the three dumping grounds in the city – Mulund, Deonar and Kanjurmarg.
“Ideally, the city would need a biogas plant each in all the 24 wards. Decentralised handling of waste will reduce transportation cost, the need for dump yards and also help process waste in an effective manner. In the long run, it means that we can eliminate dump yards from the city,” said Sharad Kale, head of Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology Division, BARC.
The research centre till date has set up these biogas plants, invented by the institution in 2001, in 13 other establishments like the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, TATA Power, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Navy establishments, among others.
At present, the city generates 6,500-metric tonne waste daily. Of the 6,500-metric tonne waste collected daily, Deonar receives about 5,500-metric tonne, while Mulund receives about 500-metric tonne. These two grounds overreached capacity more than five years ago and have been due for closure ever since.
“With more plants in the city, the processing of biodegradable waste will ensure that the waste doesn’t reach the dump yard and produce hazardous gases like methane that are harmful for the environment. We can aim to change the aesthetic look of the city with the use of more biogas plants,” Kale added.