A new waste-to-energy plant in Delhi is turning would-be landfill waste into a resource, while at the same time reducing illness, encouraging better livelihoods, cleaning the city, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Challenge

Without intervention, Delhi expects to generate about 15,750 tons of garbage each day in 2021, which will further stress the city’s inadequate waste-to-landfill disposal system, exacerbating leachate, air pollution, and disease. Meanwhile, it is estimated that 60% of the population has experienced respiratory illness due to dumpsites. To address these concerns, Delhi is changing its waste management system with the introduction of the Ghazipur Waste to Energy Plant, preventing further environmental degradation and community agitation.

 

The Solution

Established in Delhi in 2011, the Ghazipur Waste to Energy Plant is India’s state-of-the-art facility, creating energy out of would-be landfill waste and contributing to the country’s goal of achieving 40% non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030. The facility processes 2,000 tons of waste per day, generating 12 MW of power and 127 tons of fuel, which can be used in cement and power plants as an alternate source of energy. The plant has also invested heavily into air pollution control devices that conform to the European Industrial Emissions Directive, which is much more stringent than Indian norms. Estimates show that dumping of municipal solid waste at the Ghazipur dumpsite should drop by 90% within 25 years. In addition to reducing waste to landfill and generating power and fuel, the plant focuses on the community as well. The plant provided support to set up Gulmeher, a community center that provides about 200 local women, who previously earned a living picking waste at the Ghazipur dumpsite, with direct employment, capacity building, micro-enterprise support, and artisan training.

 

Environmental Benefits - In reducing the amount of waste in landfill, the plant will help reduce surface runoff carrying toxins into waterbodies.

Social Benefits - The Gulmeher initiative, associated with the plant, provides literacy programs, childcare services, and medical care to former waste collectors and their families.

Economic Benefits - It is estimated that the plant will prevent more than 200 acres of land, valued at more than $308 million, from becoming landfill sites over the next 25 years.

Health Benefits - Processing municipal solid waste will drastically reduce diseases such as dengue, malaria, as well as eye, skin, gastrointestinal, and respiratory illness, which occur due to open dumping.

 

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.