USAID FIRE-D PROJECT
Exploring methane capture options under the Asansol Urban Area MSW Management Project (2007)
We are currently assisting the FIRE-D Project of the USAID for appraisal of risk factors and exploring methane capture options for a proposed solid waste treatment and disposal project which involves three compost plants and a regional sanitary landfill for five municipalities in West Bengal. Prima facie, the risks relate to technical, financial, environmental and social aspects. For instance (a) the project falls in a coal mining belt where domestic coal consumption is widespread and household waste is characterised by high presence of coal ash (b) there is limited agricultural activity and thus the market for compost is insignificant (c) possible objectionable odour emissions from typical windrow composting operations, and (d) resistance from community due to odour emissions and large movement of waste laden vehicles, etc. Under the given boundary conditions and the identified risk factors, the study explores a sustainable option beyond the conventional approaches. We are attempting to explore the new paradigm (under Indian context) of maximising methane capture from a ‘wet’ or a bioreactor type sanitary landfill. However, it is well recognised that the current MSW Rules, 2000, do not allow such an option and therefore, this solution may not get an approval from concerned agencies. Nevertheless, an effort is being made for advocacy on a long term sustainable option and it is expected that the proposed modifications in the MSW Rules will allow such technologies to be implemented in the country.