Delhi sets up Biomethanation Plants and installs trommels to manage waste

Delhi is grappling with the issue of waste management in the city. At present, around 28 million tonne waste is lying at the three landfills, including 14 million tonnes at Ghazipur, 8 million tonnes at Bhalswa, and 6 million tonnes at Okhla. The Municipal Corporations of Delhi are taking several steps to deal with the increasing problem caused due to lack of waste management in the city. On one hand, the over-saturated landfills are being set up by trommels and on the other hand, in order to avoid the landfills to get over-saturated, the corporations are setting up biomethanation plants in the city. 

So far, in order to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has initiated the trial run of its first biomethanation plant at Geeta colony. This is not the only plant set up, Sandeep Kapoor, EDMC’s Standing Committee Chairman informed “Though we have already established 10 plants, each of 1-tonne capacity, in various colonies, they are small in size and, thus, can only convert waste into compost. On the other hand, the 5-tonne plants are bigger in size and can generate compost as well as electricity.” 

The plant at the Geeta Colony is spread over 600 sq.m. and will consume 5,000kg of wet waste daily to generate 250-300 units of and 750kg of compost. Mr. Sandeep Kapoor added, “At the Geeta Colony plant, we extract slurry from the segregated waste that is later boiled at extreme temperatures to generate biogas. The gas is then fed into a generator to produce electricity. It takes 8-10 hours to complete the exercise.” The problems being faced include an apt site for the upcoming plants as the public refuse the set up of even processing and segregation units near their homes. 

Swati Sambyal, an expert on waste management, Centre for Science and Environment opined that biomethanation plants were much more compact in comparison to waste-to-energy infrastructure. She insisted that the civic bodies must spread awareness and focus on the public’s behavioural change on segregation while setting up the infrastructure of this scale. 

The civic agency aims to establish another 5-tonne plant at Shastri Park and a 10-tonne facility at Yamuna Vihar. Officials said these plants could process 60-70% of the waste generated in the city every day. Sandeep Kapoor elaborated on the project saying that the project is being funded in phases. This overall waste management project has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and is being carried out under the Urban Development Fund. 

Apart from recycling waste to minimize the quantity of garbage ending up at landfills, Delhi Corporations have also planned to install 33 trommel machines at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bhalswa landfills. The plan for the same was submitted to the National Green Tribunal recently during a hearing on waste management. 

So far, South Delhi Municipal Corporation has installed one trommel machine of 300 metric tonne capacity for biomining of legacy waste at Okhla landfill. EDMC, meanwhile, has installed a trommel machine of 600 tonne capacity at hazipur landfill, while the North Delhi Municipal Corporation claims to have installed 11 machines. Three of them are operational. These are helping in biomining of 900 tonnes of waste every day. 

An EDMC official said, “The National Green Tribunal observed that the amount processed by us is too less to deal with the million tonnes of legacy waste lying at the landfills. The chief secretary submitted that the civic agencies will increase the number of trommels to 11 at each of the three landfills.” Since, the capacity of these trommels is to segregate at least 300 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, it is expected that the installation of trommels will ensure the processing of 9,000 metric tonnes of waste daily. 

Another south corporation official said informed, “We have been allotted land at Tehkand for developing a scientific landfill and a waste-to-plant at 42 acres of land. But these projects will at least take a year.” The tentative deadline for installing the trommel machines and finalising the action plan for reducing the height of the landfills is the end of January.


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