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Kasturirangan Task Force on Waste to Energy submitted its report to the Planning Commission

May 17, 2014 12:19 IST

Kasturirangan Task Force on Waste to Energy submitted its report on 14 May 2014 to the Planning Commission. The report highlighted the need for an integrated approach towards Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management, stressing reduction and segregation of waste at source and also efficient utilization of various components of the waste.

The Task Force was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan to identify technically feasible, financially affordable and environmentally sound processing and disposal technologies for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).

Main Highlights of the report

•    It emphasized the need for setting up centralised or decentralised waste processing facilities keeping in view the quantity and quality of waste generated and financial viability of the processing technology.

•    The report provides guidance for the selection of appropriate technology and clearly indicates technologies that could be adopted by various classes of cities.

•    It emphasizes on converting the combustible waste into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) to be used in power plants based on RDF.

•    Urban India currently generates 170000 tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) each day. Only 19% of this waste is treated and rest goes to dump sites causing serious problems to health and environment.

•    The thrust of the task force is therefore to minimize the quantum of waste for disposal by optimal utilization of the potential of all components of MSW by adopting the “concept of 5-R” Reduce, Reuse, Recover,Recycle and Remanufacture–and through integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management, derive energy and other useful products and ensure safe disposal of residual waste.

•    The report strongly recommended Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a mode of service delivery to achieve the target set for Sustainable Waste Management. A model scheme was also detailed for setting up Waste to Energy projects through PPP mode, including a viability gap funding up to 40%.

•    Considering the projected waste generation of 165 million tonnes by 2031, the requirement of land for setting up landfill for 20 years could be as high as 66 thousand hectares of precious land, which our country cannot afford to waste.

•    The Task Force (TF) has taken a serious view and considers it imperative to minimize the wastes going to landfill by at least 75% through processing of MSW using appropriate technologies.

•    The report also guide Urban Local Bodies (ULB) for adopting an integrated approach towards MSW management with a focus on W to E and to advise Government of India and the State Governments to extend financial and technical support to facilitate optimum utilization of municipal solid waste as a resource, tapping unutilized energy potential of the MSW and ensuring proper collection, transportation, processing and final disposal.


Currently, of the estimated 62 million tones of MSW generated annually by 377 million people in urban areas, more than 80% is disposed of indiscriminately at dump yards in an unhygienic manner by the municipal authorities leading to problems of health and environmental degradation.

The untapped waste has a potential of generating 439 MW of power from 32890 TPD of combustible wastes including Refused Derived Fuel (RDF), 1.3 million cubic metre of biogas per day or 72 MW of electricity from biogas and 5.4 million metric tonnes of compost annually to support agriculture.

The existing policies, programmes and management structure do not adequately address the imminent challenge of managing this waste which is projected to be 165 million tones by 2031 and 436 million tonnes by 2050.

Further, if the current 62 million tonnes annual generation of MSW continues to be dumped without treatment; it will need 340000 cubic meter of landfill space everyday (1240 hectare per year).

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