Turning waste into energy in Lanka not feasible

Previous attempts at converting waste into energy in the country had proven economically unviable, Secretary to the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, Nihal Rupasinghe said yesterday addressing a press conference in Colombo.

It was mainly due to the high concentration of moisture in waste found in Sri Lanka. It would costs Rs 35.10 to produce a unit of electricity from waste, which was almost as expensive as purchasing emergency power. Therefore the government would incur an additional cost of around Rs 3,000 to produce electricity from a tonne of waste, he said.

Rupasinghe said the moisture level in local waste ranged between 70 and 80 percent unlike in countries in Europe or Singapore, where waste-to-energy projects were implemented successfully.

Social Specialist of the ministry Nimal Premathilaka who also attended the conference refuted the claims of some environmentalists that the Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill would lead to environmental issues. "The ministry will take 100 percent responsibility for the sanitary landfill project," Premathilaka said.

He also rejected the claims made by some members of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) that it would be expensive for the CMC to transport waste from Colombo to Aruwakkalu. "The CMC had spent around Rs 215 million to dump waste at Meethotamulla in 2015 alone."

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