IN order to meet the electricity requirements of the country,NEPRA is reportedly considering using waste for the electricity generation and in this regard, it has also sought a final plan of action from National Transmission and Dispatch Company. Since long, one has been hearing from the authorities concerned proposals under consideration for exploiting the potential of alternative or renewable energy sources but on the ground nothing much is visible. It is really time to go beyond the lip service and focus on practical work if we really want to address the chronic issues faced by our energy sector.
As regards producing electricity from waste, there is a great potential of it given the fact that the country generates approximately 49.6 million tons of solid waste a year, increasing more than 2.4 percent annually. Then our country also lacks waste management infrastructure, creating serious environmental problems. Most municipal waste is burned, dumped, or buried on vacant lots, threatening the health and welfare of the general population. It is estimated 87,000 tons of solid waste is generated per week, mostly from major metropolitan areas. Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, generates more than 16,500 tons of municipal waste daily.
All major cities face enormous challenges on how to manage urban waste. Bureaucratic hurdles, lack of urban planning, inadequate waste management equipment and low public awareness contribute to the problem. In this backdrop, using waste for electricity generation will not only reduce reliance on expensive imported fossil fuel but also address the issue of disposal of solid waste and that too in a sustainable and safe manner. If due procedures are followed, this will have an overall positive impact on our environment.
According to the US Energy Information Administration estimates, waste-to-energy facilities can reduce waste volume by around seventy seven percent. Hence, we will suggest that incentives should be given to attract investment in this sector. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also envisaged the project of generating ten thousand megawatts of electricity through solar. Work on it should also be accelerated. We have to use the indigenous resources if we really want to address the country’s economic woes. This will also help provide cheap electricity to the consumers.