Waste-to-energy policy

At last, the concerned authorities in Karachi are diverting their attention towards the energy recovery from waste resources. Initially, the energy department has finalised the Waste-to-Energy Policy 2021 as some firms intend to generate 150 megawatts electricity and gas from waste in Jam Chakro, a landfill site. As the port city has already been reeling under a severe energy crisis, such initiatives can curtail the severity of the problem and can also lead to the positive use of waste that has engulfed almost the whole city. The generation of electricity from waste resources holds a significant role in the sustainable waste management hierarchy to support the concept of circular economies and to mitigate the challenges of waste originated problems of sanitation, environment, and public health. In today’s world, waste disposal to landfills is the most widely used methodology, particularly in developing countries, because of limited budgets and lack of efficient infrastructure and facilities to maintain efficient and practical global standards. As a consequence, the dump-sites or non-sanitary landfills have become the significant sources of greenhouse gases emissions, soil and water contamination, unpleasant odors, leachate, and disease spreading vectors, flies, and rodents. However, waste can be a potential source of energy, fuels, and value-added products, if appropriately and wisely managed.

In a big city like Karachi, over 10,000 tonnes of waste is being generated daily and about 200 MW could be generated from this waste. It seems a small initiative but can benefit a large population in many ways. Moreover, the waste-to-energy policy can help alleviate the extent of suffering of citizens. These can be especially beneficial for small communities living in far off remote areas, where the cost of laying infrastructure to connect them with the national grid is very high. Although the initial cost of such projects is high is high, the government can finance such venture for producing cheap electricity that will ultimately decrease the load on the national grid. The government needs to introduce policies to encourage the private sector to make investment in such projects. Amid the climate crisis, green energy is the best option and efforts need to be made at all levels for setting up more power projects using cheap renewable sources.