Waste to energy plants for federal capital in ‘midpoint’

  • MCI project director says plant with Rs1bn has the capacity to recycle over 800 tons of garbage

ISLAMABAD: The idea of the federal capital having waste-to-energy plants after its complete success in Punjab is likely to remain in limbo due to the indecisiveness of the authorities concerned over the selection of the site for its execution.

Repeated delays may not help the civic authority to properly handle the trash generated in the capital at the temporary landfill in the Sector I-12 for another year. The Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI), which links maintaining the beauty of the capital with the installation of the plants, said that it was prepared, but required land to go-ahead.

According to MCI’s Project Director Qazi Omer, a waste to energy plant costing one billion rupees had the capacity to recycle over 800 tons of garbage. He said that the MCI had planned to install two plants having the capacity to convert 1,000 tons of garbage produced by the capital’s dwellers in the city and suburban areas, into 14 megawatts of electricity.

“Each plant will have the capacity to produce 350 kilos watt after recycling of a one-ton garbage,” he said. He said that all the paperwork had been completed and only earmarking of the land was awaited. He said that the private investors would be invited to install the plants on a build-operate-transfer basis.

He feared more delay due to some technical issues regarding the land required for the installation of the plants. Earlier, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had earmarked the I-17 sector for the project, but some months later it allotted it for building a medical city by NUMS.

Despite lapse of over 50 years, a retired CDA employee said that no permanent garbage dumping site had been set up for the capital due to mishandling of the matter by the civic body. The city had witnessed relocation of dumping site to H-10, I-12, I-14, I-15 sectors and then back to I-12 over the years.

CDA Sanitation Director Sardar Khan Zimri said that the waste to energy plants would play a significant role in bringing down littering in the capital to zero level and provide the city a civilized look. He said that some foreign companies had shown their desire to build the plants on BOT basis.

They had suggested to charge 10 to 12 dollars for converting one-ton garbage into energy and then sell it to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, he said. To a query, he said that he had recently written a letter informing the high-ups about the lack of resources to dispose of the waste piling up in the capital.

In his communication to the CDA members of planning and administration on August 27, the sanitation director apprised them about over-loaded landfill site at I-12 that would likely to be shut down in a pending case by the environment tribunal due to its hazardous impact on surrounding residential areas.

He urged the competent authorities to come up with a permanent solution of handling over 700 tons of garbage generated per day. CDA Regional Planning Director Arshad Chauhan said that they had identified a location near Sangjrani. Half of the area was located outside the capital’s jurisdiction in Taxila, he added.

Expressing his optimism, he said that the civic authority was working on the project a war footing. It was currently in the process of land acquisition. They were also in constant contact with the Punjab government in that regard, he added. Last year, audit report mentioned that CDA had failed to construct Scientific Sanitary Landfill project, approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council in 2004.