Uttarakhand to start disposing of over 28 lakh metric tonnes of legacy waste

The Uttarakhand government has also started working on the process of generating electricity from solid waste
Solid waste dumped near a river and forest site in Uttarakhand.(HT File)
Solid waste dumped near a river and forest site in Uttarakhand.(HT File)
Published on Sep 22, 2020 05:22 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Dehradun | BySuparna Roy

The Uttarakhand government has now set a one-year deadline to dispose of around 28 lakh metric tonnes of ‘legacy waste’ that has been piling up over 20 years.

The state government is opting to treat the waste in different ways, by using it to generate electricity, biogas, etc.

Madan Kaushik, minister for urban development in the state, said that different methods are being followed in different places in the state to treat the solid waste accumulated over the years.

“We have around 28 lakh metric tonnes of waste that has accumulated over 20 years and it is a major challenge to dispose of it. We aim to treat all the waste in one year’s time. The main objective is to reduce the burden as new waste will add to the existing pile-up of so many years,” said Kaushik.

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The minister explained that the legacy waste consists of almost everything, including solid waste, e-waste and plastic waste.

“For the treatment of legacy waste, we are working on this initiative in Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district where solid waste will be segregated with the aim of making manure and selling it, along with recycling it. We are in talks with a Pune-based company which makes manure from solid waste,” added Kaushik.

The Uttarakhand government has also started working on the process of generating electricity from solid waste. Last month the minister had announced that the state government is working to set up six plants to generate electricity from solid waste in the state. These plants will be set up in Roorkee, Rudrapur, Kashipur, Haldwani, Rishikesh and Kotdwar.

Vinod Kumar Suman, the director of urban development, said that the department is currently at the planning stage and choosing different initiatives to manage waste efficiently.

“We have started work in Srinagar, Muni ki Reti, Rishikesh and Rudrapur through different initiatives to dispose of this waste. After segregation, organic waste is being composted, plastic waste is being sold for recycling. As a pilot project, we will soon launch a waste-to-energy initiative in Roorkee,” said Suman.

He added that the segregation process for legacy waste has already started in Rudrapur.

“It will take a little time to dispose of all the waste as we also have to study and understand whether the different methods used to treat the waste are causing any environmental impact or not,” added the director.

As per the pollution control board records, around 300 megawatts of electricity can be generated from the waste.

According to the latest State of Environment Report released by Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, “It is estimated that about 900 metric tonnes/day solid waste is being generated from the urban local bodies in Uttarakhand. Currently, two waste management plants are working in Haridwar (Sarai) out of which about 50% of waste is being lifted and dumped at unidentified locations.”

The report further states that “No urban local body has defined collection, segregation, transportation and disposal mechanisms to comply with the Municipal Solid Wastes Rules, 2000.”

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