Pakistan can produce power, gas thru solid waste management

STAFF REPORT IBD: Pakistan can save a big chunk of budgetary allocations by using solid waste to generate electricity and gas that can help in overcome the persistent energy crisis in the country and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is all set to launch a pilot project to act as a role model for other cities. The successful experiments of power and gas generation in western countries have opened a window of opportunities for Pakistan where solid waste management has emerged as a major issue negative impacting the human health as well as degrading environment.

These remarks were expressed at an International Symposium on Solid Waste Management, recently organized by the Pakistan Science Foundation. Purpose of the symposium was to highlight urban, hospital and industrial waste issues that need to be addressed urgently, as inefficient disposal of waste is the main source of pest attack on economic crops and related-health problems and environmental deterioration.

“Global environment can be well protected through established ways of solid waste management that can not only resolves this critical issue but also this waste can be used for power and gas generation. Pakistan can significantly get benefit of it,” said Dr. Giulia Costa, an international expert on waste management from University of Rome, Italy, during giving her presentation on waste management.

She elaborated types and composition of solid waste in different countries and methods being used for its management. She revealed that in year 2009 about four billion tons solid waste was produced across the world.

According to her, there are two types of solid waste – hazardous and non-hazardous – and said that the best management is firstly to avoid solid waste generation and if not possible we should reduce it, recycle and treat it.

Landfill sites, biological and thermal treatments are main methods to manage the solid waste, she explained and added after treatment only residues should be disposed of at landfill sites.

At the same time, she also mentioned that waste treatment plants failed in many countries as they made a lot of mistakes due to poor designing and lake of skills. However, she said that biological and thermal treatment methods can be used in Pakistan for solid waste management.

In his remarks, Federal Secretary for Science and Technology Ikhlaq Ahmad Tarar said, “It is very unfortunate that we are unable to handle the issue of solid waste management leaving hazardous effects on human health and environment.”

He was of the view that certain governance issues and mafia involved in business of solid waste are the main reasons for inappropriate solid waste management.

While addressing the symposium, PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro said that the Foundation besides it functions to promote and popularize science and technology in the country through its programmes is also playing the role of a catalyst to take up initiative for resolving different issues of national importance by establishing linkages between academia, RandD organizations and industry.

He said that this symposium will lead them to formulate different projects on solid waste management. Dr. Soomro said that European Union is willing to work with PSF on different joint projects. He also made a mention to plan of MoU with University of Rome regarding collaboration in solid waste treatment projects.

The stakeholders, involved in waste management, from different organizations like Engineering Universities; CDA, LDA RDA, representatives from Ministry of Climate Change, PCSIR, COMSATS, NUST; UNIDO, UNDP, UNEP and UNESCO also participated in the symposium to share their experiences.

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