Focusing on the theme, the conference looked at waste conversion from the end user point of view be it an industry reusing the biogas or transport sector consuming the CNG generated or how to reduce the waste generation itself. Both technology and government policies are essential components in the waste C2C cycle.
In his keynote address, Dinesh Jagdale, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy raised pertinent questions — “Can we derive to a mechanism wherein energy can be produced from the waste we create? Today, there are technologies/ solutions where one can introduce a very small & compact biodigestors in their apartment or even at bungalows. There is a need for innovation. Everybody is familiar with Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but can we Re-think before it is re-used, can we refuse before it is reused? Can we reduce before it is reused? Can we refurbish, repair, repurpose and lastly recycle? The success of ‘Waste to Energy’ lies on these 7Rs.”
With growing urbanisation, the issue of solid waste management is becoming grimmer. Is the mere announcement of the programmes like ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ enough to deal with the situation? Nivedha RM, founder of TrashCon, a Bengaluru-based start-up, thinks it isn’t. “To attend the goal of ‘zero waste’, micro-level waste segregation and management is necessary,” she explained.
In a quest to make a change, Nivedha’s organisation invented Trashbot, a machine that segregates garbage within minutes. TrashCon came up with a micro-level waste segregator which is economical, easy-to-maintain and provides a real-time solution compared with existing options in the market.
Under the existing system across India’s municipal corporations, garbage is taken to the waste processing plants and after segregation, it is sent to the wet waste and dry waste management centres. The processed waste is finally disposed in landfills. Since the whole process is centralised, there is no monitoring at each phase.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) are generally not segregated at source and are found in mixed condition. Usually the municipal corporation in various cities collect the MSW and transport it to the dump yards and dispose it off in the open ground. This open ground disposal gives rise to Foul smell to the surroundings, infections, uncontrolled methane emission to atmosphere, ground water contamination, frequent outbreak of fire at the dumpsites — emission of hazardous gasses like CO, CO2, SOx, NOx, etc. due to incomplete combustion.
Raising concern on the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), Sundar Ilango, Senior Manager, Avant-Garde Systems and Controls (P) Limited spoke about how population growth and steady economic development has been evident to increased waste generation. According to Ilango, the per capita Municipal solid waste generation in India has reached about 0.6kg. He said, “The Waste to Energy (WTE) plants are designed to dispose MSW and to produce electricity as a byproduct of the incinerator operation. They have many benefits to incineration like 70 to 90% reduction in volume of the waste, destruction of toxic materials, recovery of energy from the waste, re-use of some residues and reduces the land, water & air Pollution.”
One of the interesting panel discussions of the conference was on Waste C2C Strategies & Successes ─ Municipal Corporations pave the way Sanjit Rodrigues, Commissioner, Corporation of The City of Panaji, explained, “To deal with waste management, Smart Technologies are available at a click of the button but it cannot be solved so easily. With Panjim, we went for a change…change for mindset, change of attitude, change in the way people perceive waste. Even the administration has to change its thinking process. Today, if Panjim is landfill-free because we have set a parameter first that we will not have a landfill. Secondly, we have removed 1200 bins from the entire city, and this we have managed to achieve with the help of the people. There are no community bins in the Panjim city. We have 100% door-to-door waste collection system. Today, the city is going from four-way segregation to eight-way segregation. We could achieve this not on a day, but this parameter was set 12 years ago.”