Waste to Energy: Market & Policy
“Just because people throw it out and don’t have any use for it, doesn’t mean it’s garbage.”
A well-said quote by Andy Warhol telling every throw item thrown in a dustbin doesn’t mean it is garbage or unusable. The things which are thrown in the garbage can be resources if used in a proper manner. Today with growing demands and lifestyle, one more thing that has been arising is the major question of the maintenance and disposal of garbage in a safe and efficient way which has aroused the waste to energy strategy.
In a country accounting for nearly 138 crore people in 2020, the waste generating every day is 188,500 tons per day (TPD) of waste at an average rate of 0.5 kg of waste per person per day. With this handling of huge waste comes the responsibility of handling this enormous amount of waste. Most of this waste is being dumped at landfills where they are burnt to ashes releasing harmful gases into the air till with new technology emerging. India also started converting waste into energy which started in 1987, still it hasn’t reached half of its potential.
Many major and minor projects have been started from 1987 but most of them have been closed due to different faults. After 33 years of starting this movement still currently as per Energy Statistics 2015, waste-to-energy potential in India is estimated to be 2,556 MW, of which only 150 MW (around 6%) has been approximately possible to be harnessed till March 2016. Due to various reason such as
1.lack of available fund: Many plants are being installed but the deficient fund is a problem for the maintenance of the plant.
2.lack of coordination: Municipal corporation and government coordination are still not in a way for proper implementation and working.
3.lack of proper support from the community: still garbage is not getting segregated into different types. Swatch Bharath Abhiyan has a strong impact on helping this still this problem has not been completely eradicated. One of the plants in Lucknow failed due to this problem.
4.Expensive technology: This technology has been considered expensive due to complex types of machinery. Also, this technology needs to be high tech to harness clean energy without any pollution.
5.Garbage mafia: Garbage mafia with the cooperation of the MLA, co-operators and officials are creating cracks in the system thereby causing heavy losses.
Governments should improve on their policies to concentrate more on waste management from the collection level. Due to the poor management of the waste huge losses are being faced by the government for processing and citizens risking their lives by living near the landfill. The focus should be on more projects and better allocation of the fund. They should introduce new research centers for low-cost innovation in this field. Also, the policies should be in a way that ragpickers and other middlemen don’t get affected due to this. As almost between 1.5 million to 4 million ragpickers live hood depends on this. They are estimated to give economic worth about 3200 crores to our economy. They are a major frontline keeping the areas clean without demanding anything. They could be also hired in this project for segregation and others work as this can benefit them by getting them a job as well this government by getting their work done.
Also, the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan has been a boon to the waste to energy for increasing scope for many start-ups like Attero, inTarvo, let’s recycle, etc. These are some of the topmost funded start-ups in India. These start-ups are bringing innovative methods for collection and disposal in cost-cutting ways. Inefficient disposal of garbage in India such as the dumping of more than 50% of waste in landfills is giving new opportunities to start-ups. Governments should start more and better schemes to promote start-ups like this which will give rise to better ideas making the market to energy more efficient and reliable strategy. Currently, the most required area to concentrate on is the collection and segregation where almost the majority of problems are having roots here. There is a strong need to use the latest technologies to limit emissions and control pollution.
“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value ”
As said by Buckminster Fuller the resources which are hidden in this garbage if not are extracted to its fullest its almost the pollution we are causing and losing some of the cheapest resources available in the country. As accordingly only 30% of 75% recyclable waste is being recycled in India due to poor management of waste. For the betterment of the waste to energy plans, the government should concentrate on considering as an important issue and reform its policies making waste segregation and other processes out of the influence of corporators, Municipal officials to curb corruption and making it more efficient. Also, with the development of these many lives which are in danger due to living nearby landfills will be saved from diseases like respiratory illness, cancers and premature deaths, etc. Now, it’s a need to expand the waste market to a new end to bring the best opportunities and feasible expenditure on this garbage.
There have been improvements for the waste to energy market still it is not up to its mark as till now we have only extracted 6% of total potential. With the increasing waste, there should be different important reforms in policies to give importance to waste to energy and considering it as a major issue. Whereas the new reforms in policies should not rob the people of their live hood. Also, there is a strong need to curb the corruption lying on the ground level between the corporators, municipal officials and garbage mafia to keep new low-cost new tech plants to process out clean energy to better extents and keep them running. Proper policies and correct waste management in India can solve the question of this huge amount of waste.