Innocent amateurs identify ‘India’s most beloved neighbour’ China as a home to the world’s largest population. Little do the unenlightened know that China has far more to boast of than just their population, which will soon be overshadowed by India in the next few years. The Red Dragon is home to the world’s longest sea bridge, the world’s largest dam, world’s longest glass bridge, the world’s largest solar plant and of course the world’s largest air purifier!
You probably will run out of breath to pronounce all that at once. But China simply doesn’t know where to stop and they are already en-route building the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant!
Being built at the outskirts of the city of Shenzhen, Southern China, this massive facility is said to be capable of incinerating 5,000 tonnes of waste per day to generate 550 million kWh every year. That’s more power to the people. Shenzhen, which is home to 20 million people and produces 15,000 tonnes of waste per day, will definitely be seeing this as life-changing. And with Shenzhen’s waste generation increasing by 7 per cent every year, the Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant seems to be a boon in disguise.
Designed by two Danish architecture firms, Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Gottlieb Paludan, the waste-to-energy plant, which spans 1,12,645 square meters, is being built since 2016 and is scheduled to commence operation from 2020. This waste-to-energy plant is said to be able to convert a third of Shenzhen’s daily domestic waste into power. Besides generating power from waste, the Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant’s roof will be covered by up to 44,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels to capture solar power for the city’s use.
On the flip side, the boon comes with a bane. Since it’s inception, there have been mass protests to halt the construction of this waste-to-energy plant as people fear that incineration of wastes will emit high levels of toxic elements that will pollute nearby reservoirs and air. The residents have launched a legal challenge as well to shift the plant to a less densely-populated region of Shenzhen. This means there’s actually no threat, if any at all, to the idea plant’s existence but only to its venue.
With Shenzhen’s waste landfill capacity nearing its climax by 2021, the city’s administration wouldn’t find a more suitable option than completing this massive plant and pulling it into operation. The Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant will just add another feather to China’s cap, which is already home to the largest number of waste-to-energy plants, as it’s also the country with the highest waste generation.
If considered, such massive waste-to-energy plant can be far more beneficial for India. As per a PIB report of 2016, of the 62 million tonnes of waste generated by Indian households every year, only 42.9 million tonnes are collected. Among the collected waste, only 11.9 million tonnes of waste is treated and rest dumped in landfill sites is turning them into mountains, definitely not meant for tourism purpose! All we can do is wait for the moment of realisation to knock the understanding in the mind of the authorities that they have to do away with these hills of waste which are only adversely contributing to the environment.