November 7, 2016 2:08:17 am
FOLLOWING THE multiple fires that broke out at the Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds earlier this year flagging the poor state of solid waste management in the city, individual residents and a couple of wards have started taking up measures to process the wet waste in their area to reduce the amount of waste being sent to the overflowing landfill sites. Taking up a similar initiative on a larger scale, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to set up a waste processing unit on a 15-acre plot in Dharavi which will generate manure and electricity from wet waste collected from nine wards in Mumbai.
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The initiative was taken up by Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G North, Ramakant Biradar, who made a presentation on the project to the municipal commissioner, Ajoy Mehta, on November 5. “The nine wards collectively produce around 4,500 metric tonnes of solid waste every day of which 3,000 metric tonnes is wet waste while the remaining is dry waste. The concept is to do away with the process of dumping waste. In the presentation, we have proposed to set up a plant where we can process the wet waste which can yield three components, leachate, methane gas and manure,” he said. The wards include A, B, C, D, E, F North, F South, G North, G South (from Navy Nagar till Mahim and Dharavi).
Biradar stated that as per the proposal, the project, with an estimate cost of Rs 50 crore, is to come up in a vacant 15 acre plot in Dharavi which currently falls under the jurisdiction of the sewerage operations department of the BMC. The proposal also has a plan for the 1,000 metric tonnes of dry waste generated in the nine wards every day. “Currently, there is a dry waste segregation centre where the plastic waste is sent for recycling. However, we have proposed to set up equipment which can convert plastic waste into oil, which can be used as fuel to generate electricity,” he said.
The plot in Dharavi currently has a small plant which can process only 10 metric tonnes of wet waste. Once implemented, a bigger plant will be installed and components produced from the processed waste can be utilised for civic amenities. Biradar pointed out that the BMC is paying around Rs 12 lakh to the BEST every day for electricity supplied to the streetlights and the municipal gardens in the nine wards. “As per our calculations, processing of 3,000 metric tonnes of wet waste on a daily basis will yield methane gas which can generate electricity worth Rs 30 lakh. We can use as much as we need and still have electricity worth Rs 18 lakh in excess which can either be sold or used for the utilities in the suburbs,” he said.
Similarly, the wet waste will produce around 1.6 lakh kilograms of manure everyday which is worth Rs 8 lakh as per the current market rate. Biradar stated that the BMC will sell the manure to companies or farmers.
The project also aims to reduce the BMC’s expenditure in transporting the waste from the nine wards to the city’s three landfill sites. “The civic body pays around Rs 50 lakh every day as the cost of transportation of the waste. Once this plant is installed, we will only have to spend between Rs 10-15 lakh and can save on the balance amount,” he said. Apart from the financial aspect, Biradar added that since the plant is automatic, there will be minimal manpower required for its daily functioning. “We only need one engineer and a few labourers to manage the plant. The appointed contractor will of course be in charge of the maintenance of the plant. If this project succeeds, we hope to convert nine wards into zero garbage areas,” he said.
The municipal commissioner, Ajoy Mehta, has approved the project and has constituted a study committee headed by the deputy municipal commissioner of the solid waste management department, Vijay Balamwar, as well as four other assistant municipal commissioners. “I have instructed the committee to prepare a detailed report on the project within the next 15 days. After studying the report, we can fix deadlines for the project,” he said. Mehta added that apart from reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill sites in the city, the project also aims to target the bulk generators of wet waste, primarily the five star hotels and malls which produce around 2-3 metric tonnes of food waste every day.
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