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'Waste to energy for a sustainable future' offers solution to African waste management

'Waste to energy for a sustainable future' offers solution to African waste management

THERE is every indication that Africa is facing a growing waste management crisis which if unchecked could become disastrous, reported from a conference aimed at highlighting the great potential and advantages of Waste to Energy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Eco Waste Holdings Limited in partnership with Hitachi Zosen Inova AG, Atomenergomash and Rosatom held an event that aimed at changing the way city dwellers manage waste by turning it into energy under the theme “Waste to energy – for a sustainable future”.

The speakers of the event were companies-leaders in waste management, such as RenergiaZentralschweiz AG, Teichmann Ltd and AIL Structures Finance AG.

The conference aimed at highlighting the great potential and advantages of Waste to Energy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The event was opened with a welcoming presentation of the participants and a short movie, introducing WtE technologies, speeches by dignitaries from Tanzania and Zanzibar, followed by sessions held individually by speakers of the event.

Hitachi Zosen Inova AG, which is a global leader in Energy from waste solutions highlighted the priority of waste management for the continent.

 While the volumes of waste generated in Africa are relatively small, compared to developed regions, the mismanagement of waste in Africa is already impacting human and environmental health.

Africa is set to undergo a major social and economic transformation over the coming century as its population explodes, cities urbanize and consumer purchasing habits change. This is expected to lead to exponential growth in waste generation, which will put considerable strain on already constrained public and private sector waste services and infrastructure, and further exacerbate the current state of waste management. The rate of growth in waste generation in Africa is expected to be so significant that any decrease in waste generation expected in other regions globally will be overshadowed by Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa.

With population exceeding one billion people, Sub Saharan Africa generates over 140 million  tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), with 98 per cent of this waste ending up in  landfills

To create a balanced waste management system in the region at least 30per cent of MSW need to go for thermal treatment (EfW)

Weak waste collection systems in Africa combined with uncontrolled and controlled dumping of waste, often associated with open burning, are causing significant economic, social and environmental impacts.

Improper waste management has serious health and environmental consequences. If it persists, it will undermine Africa’s efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Dmitry Medvedev, Head of sales in thermal power division of Atomenergomash, shared key business products of the organization and how they help toprovide control and responsibility all over production chain.

“Atomenergomash currently is the single company in Russia providing localization for WtE equipment as per legal requirements with the economic effect for the whole industry. AEM has got experience of manufacture localization in Russia for key systems and equipment of WtE projects and intends assist Africa in achieving its localization goals as well. Such localization of manufacturing and services provides positive social and financial impact both, on WtE plant construction and operation phases”, highlighted Dmitry Medvedev.

Ryan Collyer, CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa revealed the key to controlled waste management in Africa. According to the speaker, Sub-Saharan Africa generated 174 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2016, this is expected to triple to 516 million tonnes by 2050. The growth in waste generation in Africa is expected to be so significant, that any decrease in waste generation in other regions globally will be overshadowed by Africa. During his presentation he highlighted three crucial solutions: to take action to establish waste management policy more suited to waste incineration, to develop a more efficient waste management sector and optimize waste collection.

“Africa is in line to become the next tiger of the globe; however, it is held back by a dire shortage of energy. While waste to energy may be a great solution for Africa, as it essentially takes care of two of Africa’s major issues, being effective waste disposal and energy shortages, it requires a shift in policy to make it viable. It is important to take into consideration that waste to energy is baseload power, however it emits far less pollutants than it’s fossil fuel rivals”, offered Ryan.

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Author: Dailynews Reporter

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