NITI Aayog lauds Leh for using solar energy for processing solid waste

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, Dec 19: The NITI Aayog has lauded Leh for its unique technological innovation in the management and processing of solid waste management by using solar energy whereas earlier, until 2019, due to the lack of funds, the treatment of the waste was absent from the scene.
In its latest report titled ‘Waste-Wise Cities-Best practices in municipal solid waste management,’ the NITI Aayog said that in 2020, with the help of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) the municipal committee installed a 30 tonne per day capacity solar power-based solid waste management plant which is running successfully.
With that, the reports said that Leh has achieved 100 per cent source segregation and 90 per cent material recovery at the facility to generate revenue from recyclables and compost have been successful and the system works efficiently.
Under the project, a setup has been put in place to turn waste into revenue-generating goods, such as curtains, toys and cushion covers while wine or beer bottles and broken glass are reused in the construction of roads and buildings by local construction companies.
It is to be noted here that Leh produces nine tonnes of solid waste daily during winter, and 40 tonnes per day during June-August which remains the peak tourist season.
“The town has become the first city in India to establish a solar-powered waste processing facility, managing to process 90 per cent of its solid waste,” NITI Aayog states in its report.
As per the reports, until 2019, in Leh, the waste collection was poor, and community bins were over-flooded with mixed waste, resulting in a public health hazard and poor aesthetics in the hilly tourist town.
“Use of renewable energy to run the processing and material recovery facility has been a success in Leh because it has ensured that the operation of the facility is a low-cost affair,” the report stated.
The report stated that another factor for the sustenance of solar power-driven waste management plant in Leh is the availability of spare land that the government itself owns.
“Efforts to achieve 90 per cent material recovery at the facility to generate revenue from recyclables and compost have been successful and the system works efficiently. The overall processing percentage of the town is 95 per cent.”
By putting in place the technological innovation for the processing and the management of solid waste, the report stated that Leh has become the first city in the country to adopt solar power to drive operations at its waste processing facility.
“Leh secured the first position in innovation in sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission in 2018 and is one of the cleanest cities in the country because of the intervention of community-level awareness programmes for source segregation and participation of all stakeholders in waste management,” the report highlighted.
About the money flow, solid waste management services are free for households in Leh and to recover the cost of the services, the Waste Management Committee has created a tariff structure for all commercial shops and hotels.
“Annually, Rs 1,200 are collected from every shop, and Rs 6,000 from every hotel. The administration has also implemented surcharges and limitations on the sale of polluting products. In 2018, it generated about Rs 64 lakh in revenue and spent Rs 38 lakh on waste management,” the report underlines.