We will soon have a solution to recycle the mountains of construction debris that is piling up in the city. In a first, the civic body has proposed centres at Mulund-Airoli landfill or at Taloja that will process the debris .
Mumbai produces about 1,500 metric tons of construction debris every day and a lot of it is found dumped illegally on the roadsides and mangroves.
While releasing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s annual budget, civic chief Ajoy Mehta said sand and other recyclable construction material will be separated from the debris at the centres.
Civic officials said the project is in its planning stages. “The debris will be converted into a form of ready-mix concrete that can replace sand. This project will lessen the burden on the landfill sites,” said a senior official from the solid waste management department.
Another official from the department pointed out that they are studying technologies available abroad for recycling construction debris, and added that a private company could be contracted for the project. “Our plan is to at least recover the production cost of construction materials through this process. It will also decrease the amount of sand being used through mining purposes,” said the official, adding, “We expect the project to commence within a year.”
The official said they have suggested that construction companies recycle debris by installing smaller recycling machines.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, welcomed the idea. “This project promises to safeguard our beaches, creeks and rivers and will also reduce the problem of dumping debris on wetlands,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
Civil engineers were, however, sceptical about how the process would be carried out. Usama Kazi, a civil engineer who runs a private consultancy firm in the city, said the most common materials that can be recycled from construction debris are concrete, porcelain, rigid plastics, tile, lumber, metals and stones.
“The civic body needs to identify what part of debris can be recycled. At present, a major portion from the debris such as cement and bricks is used for filling up roads and pavements. A large residual quantum is dumped on wetlands and in rivers and beaches. Only reducing the volume will not help the construction industry,” he said.