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11 Dec 2023, Edition - 3072, Monday

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Smart City ideates for waste, hopes it won’t be dumped

Umar Sharieef


With half of India’s waste-to-energy plants defunct, the idea to set up a similar plant in Coimbatore to incinerate garbage draws flak.

Waste generation in cities is fast becoming a problem with mega implications. Segregating waste at collection point is one solution to minimising the problem. Waste disposal now needs attention. With landfills beginning to choke, think tanks are trying to come up with ideas to find lasting solutions.

Grithika, an independent director of Coimbatore Smart City Limited, has come up with an idea to set up a waste-to-energy plant at the Vellalore dumping yard to incinerate solid waste and produce power. On Saturday last, she addressed reporters here saying that the plant will be a feasible way to manage the solid waste being dumped in the landfill here.

“The City Corporation faces a big challenge in managing the wastes that flow into Vellalore,” she told the reporters. With representatives of a China-based firm giving their nod to the proposal of setting up a plant at Vellalore dump yard, Grithika said that she would bring this proposal to the knowledge of the State Government and the Coimbatore Smart City Limited Board for its approval.

However, her idea to set up plant has drawn flak from environmentalists. According to environmental activist Piyush Manush, the idea to set up a plant in Coimbatore city is a foolish one. He said the plan will not help at all.

“Whom are they trying to fool? The idea to set up the plant will not help unless there is first a proper step to segregate the waste. Most of the plants in India are working below capacity due to their inability to segregate the wastes,” he told The Covai Post. First, segregation of wastes has to be implemented. Only then can the plant achieve its objectives, he added. It is believed that almost half of the 15 such waste-to-energy plants in the country have shut down.

While the proposal has drawn its fair share of flak and support, a main area of concern is gas emissions from the plant. Air pollution from the incinerators will likely pose a big risk.

According to another environmental activist, who did not wish to be named, the City Corporation should first, procure reasonable tonnage of waste everyday in order to incinerate and produce energy. However, the City Corporation at present, gets around 200 tonnes a day, which is not sufficient for a plant to process.

“If it is a plant that produces 5MW power, then the quantity of waste needed would be around 5000 tonnes,” he stated as an example. Besides this, there will be the changes in the cost of power production from the plant, he noted.

Pointing out that most of the plants in the country are defunct because of lack of proper segregation of wastes, senior journalist RK Radhakrishnan told The Covai Post that plants in our country are forced to shut down owing to improper segregation of solid wastes which are needed to incinerate to produce power. The elected representatives are least bothered about it unless they stand to benefit from it, he alleged.

Meanwhile, the Coimbatore Smart City G Krithiha has placed the idea before the City Corporation and has planned to meet officials in Chennai shortly.

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