The Bloemendhal garbage mountain, very much in the news over the past few years as an ugly ‘acquisition’ in Colombo, is in the news once again with a top Malaysian renewable energy company planning to transform this waste to energy.
The company is setting up a renewable energy plant on a 20-acre land at Kahatamedawelyaya, Muthurajawela, in the Gampaha District, using tons and tons of the Bloemendhal garbage.
The 100 foot high-mountain of garbage will be discarded as waste and disposal of residue in an environment-friendly manner, according to A.M.C. Kulasekera Deputy Director General of Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI).
This garbage mountain at Bloemendhal near the Colombo Port which has been an eyesore for many years and a cause for health problems for nearby residents, will soon be removed. A Malaysian company has come forward to transform the garbage into an energy source at a renewable energy plant at Gampaha. See story below. File Pic by J. Weerasekera.
Speaking to the Business Times, he noted that the danger is when the garbage at Bloemendhal could catch fire due to the presence of methane gases but that it is not the time for arguments or more and more research to analyse how the gases are formed in it.
He said the rehabilitation of the dumping site by the the Malaysian company turning waste to energy was a timely action taken by the authorities to tackle the environmental pollution. It also brings a ray of hope for around 350 shanty dwellings of the city's poorest of the poor who have to deal with the squalor and disease that go hand in hand when living close to the mounds of garbage. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled not to dump any more garbage on the huge Bloemendhal garbage hill mountain.
The waste to energy conversion project worth US$ 230 million with the Malaysian-Bahraini joint venture Orizon Renewable Energy Private Ltd involves several phases. It will first engage in the rehabilitation of the existing Bloemendhal dump site, Mr Kulasekera said. The most important phase is the construction of an waste conversion plant that will convert 1,300 tonnes a day of solid waste to energy. The plant will be capable of generating 56 mg of power.
The main benefit to the public and to the country is that this waste will be completely destroyed without causing pollution or gas emissions. It will also ensure that no more lands will be allocated to landfills, Mr. Kulasekera said.
“To produce energy will involve 4 major stages: the collection of waste, its gasification, syngas cooling and then power generation. Sri Lanka can also benefit from carbon credit qualification by introducing the environmentally friendly facility. We have scheduled construction work on the project to start in October 2010 and are confident that once the project is operational, people in Sri Lanka will feel the difference it will make in their lives,” he said.
In addition to these benefits to the country, it will create many opportunities for the training of skilled local workers. Since this is a new area that has not existed in Sri Lanka, it will result in a certain quantum of technology transfers to local communities.
Mr Kulasekera said that the BOI has taken the lead role in establishing this project but the stakeholder agencies such as the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, the Sustainable Energy Authority, the Public Utilities Commission and the Land Reclamation Authority have also contributed towards this initiative. "The key to success is team work involving all stakeholder agencies," he said.