A peek into a trash management plant

A peek into a trash management plant

A small contingent of riot police with a van guard the 29 acres garbage processing facility at Kannahalli, a powerful model of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) approach to end the garbage problem in a scientific way.

The Palike has earned so much notoriety in handling the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) that people hardly rely upon its efforts, however sincere it may be. It spoilt Mavallipura, Mandur, villages near Terra Firma and the MSGP landfills to the extent that people had to resort to vehement protests. Use of force to suppress the agitation helped aggravate the unrest.

Bengaluru has extended up to Kannahalli, with houses coming up too close to the facility and driving up real estate prices. Given the poor track record of handling waste, the protests are obvious. Adding fuel to the people's fear are the power struggle within the State cabinet, ego clash among ministers and the fear among the garbage mafia of losing their job.

The facility inside the Kannahalli garbage plant is proof that the Palike has learnt the lesson hard way. That, it cannot continue with its model of dumping waste on the outskirts of the City and spoiling the environment.

The government provided land to the BBMP, where the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) has set up a unit on 24 acres with help from Alpha Therma, the machine supplier. Five acres has been given to the Noble Exchange Environment Solutions to set up bio methanation plant for the Bruhat Bengaluru Hotel Association. The IL&FS is also looking after two other plants – Seegehalli, which is adjacent to Kannahalli, and Lingadheeranahalli near Kengeri.

These facilities are basically compost plants, where the bales of Residual Derived Fuel (RDF) are prepared and sent to the cement factories as a substitute for coal. The plant is a trammel net where the waste is filtered into the various categories of 200 mm, 100 mm, 32 mm and the 16 mm.

The 200 mm and 100 mm waste paricles are the RDF, which is sent for baling. These waste products are shredded into pieces and made into tightly packed square bundles. The 32 mm and 16 mm waste are converted into manure.

Leachate originated due to the spraying is channeled into a pit. The liquid is pumped into a tanker and taken to the Mylasandra Sewage Treatment Plant everyday. Plant engineer Sri Harsha M V explains that up to 35 per cent of the RDF can be used along with coal.

The fully covered plant reeks due to the huge pile-up of garbage and the decomposing process. The muck attracts bats, flies and other worms. The Palike sprays a solvent of Innoculum and citronella, which helps bacteria digest the garbage and control the stink. It takes 40 days for the garbage to completely decompose and become compost manure.

For an outsider, even a minute inside the plant proves tough. But about 100 people work tirelessly in that atmosphere. The plant engineer says, “It is difficult to stay here but somebody has to get into the muck to clean up the City.”

Sixty-per cent of the raw material comes out as RDF and the manure. BBMP pays Rs 517 per tonne of the end product of the garbage process to the IL&FS as the tipping charge. Palike executive engineer says there are no tipping charges at the entry of the raw garbage whereas the payment is made based on the total quantity of the end product, namely the RDF and manure.

The Palike says it sends nearly segregated waste to these plants. Segregation does not happen at source but at collection points within the City at open spots, even on the roadsides.

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