Wasted effort: half of India’s waste-to-energy plants defunct

  1. According to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment, 7 out of 15 waste-to-energy (WTE) plants in India are not functional. It has also stated that the existing plants are working below capacity. A waste-to-energy plant is a facility which converts non-biodegradable waste to generate electricity through the process of incineration.
  2. The reasons for closure of plants are a) most of the collected waste is unfit for incineration b) inability to segregate mixed solid waste, c) high cost of burning unsegregated waste and d) lack of profit as high cost electricity produced are not bought by power companies. There has also been growing discontent about WTE plants among general public for polluting the environment.
  3. The Niti Aayog in its ‘Three Year Action Agenda, 2017-18 to 2019-20’ has recommended setting up a Waste-to-Energy Corporation of India. The body would be entrusted with installation of WTE plants through public-private partnership (PPP) model. It has also set a target set a target of constructing 800 megawatt (MW) of WTE plants by 2018–19 under the Swachh Bharat Mission.