The three biggest garbage dumps, at Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalaswa, are expected to yield Rs 400 crore for the cash-strapped corporation if it is successful in destroying the greenhouse gases these sites spew. MCD will earn “brownie points”, or “carbon credits” as they are called, by consuming greenhouse gases and can “encash” these “points”.
MCD has already received a $489,000 grant from Japan to carry out a feasibility study on the concentration of gases at these landfill sites. “The money has been provided as ‘Policy and Human Resource Development Grant’ and has been arranged by the World Bank,” said a senior MCD officer.
MCD has already issued tenders inviting private companies to study the concentration of greenhouse gases at these sites and suggest ways and means to destroy them. The companies are expected to give their response by July 30 after which the MCD will shortlist one of them for the job.
If garbage is dumped at a site, it starts rotting soon and, within five years, it decays to an extent that it lets out gases as a byproduct. The two major greenhouse gases produced by rotting garbage are methane and carbon dioxide. The gases continue emanating from the site for 15-20 years even if fresh garbage is not thrown there and the site is closed down. If released in the atmosphere directly, these gases add to global warming.
Developed countries buy “carbon credit” at the rate of $4-10 per tonne of gas destroyed. “As per estimates, the three garbage sites produce nearly 750 tonne of greenhouse gases everyday. Once the mechanism is in place to destroy these gases, we will earn credit for saving the environment and encash the ‘points’,” the officer said.
If there is enough concentration of gases, MCD could consider supplying piped gas to any establishment or setting up a thermal power plant. For example, MCD had once set up a piped-gas distribution network from its landfill site at Timarpur to Balak Ram Hospital. However, if the concentration is less, the gases would be burnt right away. All this would be part of the study report.
The money so earned would be used by MCD as expenses towards closure of the landfill sites, which is an elaborate and expensive process.