Increasing volume of municipal solid waste (MSW) has necessitated the demand for using the modern technology in waste management, a crying need for the city dwellers who seek a new way of doing things to improve environment.
Living in cities characterised by the environmental crisis, standard hygiene problem and unsustainable practices, the inhabitants of the country’s cities look for a technologically-proven system for municipal solid waste (MSW), creating multifaceted problems, experts said.
Untreated dumping of MSW leads to creating land scarcity, polluting environment, and posing serious threat to animal as well as human health, they ascertained.
They advised to apply Waste to Energy (WtE) strategy for MSW because WtE not only reduces the land pressure problem, but also generates electricity, heat, and green jobs.
However, more than 40 countries including Japan, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK have been using WtE strategy for MSW management from many years ago. Bangladesh could not apply it due to various difficulties.
About the difficulties of applying WtE in MSW management of BD, urban planner Md Moinul Islam told The Bangladesh Post, “There is huge difference between household waste of Bangladesh and Japan or developed countries. Most of the MSW of Japan and modern countries contain dry and plastic materials so that they can use it for direct combustion in the incinerator. But, MSW of Bangladesh contains 65 to 80 percent moisture component which require pre-treatment.”
Challenges of Waste Management in BD
The scarcity of land is acute in Dhaka area. Life of existing landfill sites will be finished by August, 2020. So, megacity Dhaka immediately needs to introduce intermediate treatment facilities like, incineration plant, RDF, Bio-diesel, Bio-gas, fertilizer, eco-town and 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) etc.
AHM Abdullah Harun, executive engineer of the waste management department of DSCC told The Bangladesh Post, “Waste to Energy plant is an urgent need for us as the capacity of our existing Matuail and Aminbazar landfill sites has already ended up.”
He said, “We need pre-treatment of waste before using WtE plant as moisture content of waste is very high (70 to 80 percent) and waste caloric value (650-1000 kcal/kg) is very low. Besides, water source for WtE project at Matuail is only underground water and nearest source (Shitolokhha River) is about nine kilometre away from Matuail LFS.”
About cost, Abdullah Harun said, “We have to spend more than Tk 1500 crore for setting up incinerator which will be capable of burning nearly 1,500 tonnes of waste.”
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Chief Waste Management Officer Captain Md Monjur Hossain said, “We are facing many challenges in waste management including primary collection, segregation of waste, intermediate treatment, landfill management and shortage of manpower.”
He also said, “We can reuse and recycle the waste by applying modern technology.”
KM Nazmul Islam, Assistant Professor of Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, published a research report in 2016 titled ‘Municipal Solid Waste to Energy Generation in Bangladesh: Possible Scenarios to Generate Renewable Electricity in Dhaka and Chittagong City’.
He said, “Municipal waste management becomes a burning issue because of rapid population growth, fast industrialization, and urbanization. Mounting land scarcity issue around the world brands the waste to energy (WtE) strategy for MSW management in urban areas as a promising option.”
Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam said, “Municipal waste has been a serious concern for us. We have to think on how we can easily manage medical waste, construction waste and industrial waste without polluting the environment.”
The minister said, “Bangladesh has the scarcity of land. Japanese delegations and waste management experts have given their ideas according to their experience. All ideas are not applicable for Bangladesh.”
He also said, “There are organic waste and inorganic waste. The people who are engaged in waste management, suffer from various health hazards. Some new technologies need to be introduced ”.
How effective Waste to Energy plant is?
Recently, Local Government Division of Bangladesh and Environment Ministry of Japan jointly organised a workshop titled ‘Bangladesh-Japan Waste-to-Energy (WtE)’ at Hotel Intercontinental in the capital.
Experts from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental and Chemical Engineering presented their keynote paper on ‘Waste to Energy Technology’ whereas, experts from Hitachi Zosen presented their keynote paper on their Waste to Energy Technology and business.
They said that WtE plant is proven and reliable technology with energy recovery system which reduce 70 to 85 percent waste and 90 to 95 percent volume of waste to extend landfill lifetime.