12 January 2023: The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ), and Asian Development Bank (ADB) co-organised a hybrid seminar entitled “Latest Trends of Waste Management Technologies Contributing to Marine Plastic Debris Reduction”. This event was part of the India-Japan Environment Week, held from 12 to 13 January 2023 in New Delhi.
The seminar introduced progress made regarding policies pertaining to waste/plastic management in India, discussed potential applications of Japan’s waste/plastic management technologies, and shared relevant activities conducted by ERIA and ADB in combatting waste/plastic management challenges in India.
Mr. Binay Jha, Director of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) India, stated that urban waste generation in the country reached 143.000 tons/day. Despite the mounting waste condition, India is facing the challenge to adequately manage 100 percent of its waste by 2025, he said. He added that to achieve this target, the country will seek solutions in various methods such as composting, promote Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF), bio methanation, and waste to energy.
Mr Norio Saito, Director of Urban Development and Water Division, South Asia Department at ADB said the ADB’s support to waste management sector falls under two operational priorities, namely Operational Priority No. 3 and No. 4. The former aims to tackle climate change, build climate and disaster resilience, and enhance environmental sustainability, while the latter aims to make cities more liveable.
‘Within this framework, ADB has launched the Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Blue Economies, or known as Healthy Oceans project. In this project, we have several flagship agendas, such as coastal resilience, plastic free oceans, ocean finance, and sustainable food,’ said Mr Saito during his opening remark.
ADB also performed waste management improvement project in Bagerhat, Bangladesh, and waste to energy project in Greater Malé, Maldives, he said.
Private sector’s contribution to plastic waste reduction
During the panel that introduced innovative business approach to tackle plastic waste, Mr Raghavendra Rao Tirumalasetty, Senior Manager of Business Development and Proposals from Hitachi Zosen India, explained how the company’s Kompogas turned different organic wastes, such as food and green wastes, into electricity. Hitachi Zosen also recently constructed the largest Kompogas technology plan in Doha, Qatar, he said.
JFE Engineering Corporation has developed waste-to-energy technology as well with moving grate furnace, which enabled efficient combustion and generated minimal ash residue. Mr Soumya Bhattacharya, the company’s Deputy General Manager, emphasised that comprehensive waste management plan should include source segregation, transportation, waste supply, suitable technology, long term market of sale, and tipping fee.
‘To achieve the carbon neutral society, the bottom ash and fly ash should be safely treated,’ he said.
Mr Rio Waza, Managing Director at Daiki Axis India, highlighted Johkasou Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). Compared with other facilities, such as sequencing batch reactor and moving bed biofilm reactor, the STP was simpler in terms of operation and maintenance because it did not require human operator and consumed less energy.
Furthermore, it has received a GreenPro Ecolabel certification and was qualified as a green product by the Confederation of Indian Industry. The Johkasou-STP was also endorsed by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation as a recommended innovative technology.
Meanwhile, Shakti Plastics, Ltd, a plastic waste management company based in Mumbai, has recycled plastic waste into eco-friendly products. Acknowledging that land-based mismanaged plastic waste constituted the majority of marine plastic debris, the company has diverted more than 200,000 MT of plastic waste from landfills into 25,000 recycled products. Shakti Plastics, Ltd. also organized beach clean-up activities and has recovered and recycled 5,873 MT of ocean-bound plastic waste, said Mr Sahil Ghai, the company’s Senior Manager on Projects and EPR.
Green technology by local municipality
Fukuoka City in Japan has successfully managed its municipal solid waste with a semi-aerobic landfill technology called the Fukuoka Method. This technology was developed jointly by Fukuoka University and Fukuoka City to overcome environmental problems from the anaerobic landfill structure back in the 1970s.
Ms Naomi Mizokami, a representative from the Environmental Policy Section, Environmental Bureau, Fukuoka City, Japan, explained how the Fukuoka Method has now been implemented in 21 countries across the world for its rapid stabilization, low-cost, and simple features.
‘This method also suppressed methane generation, which positively contributed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,’ she asserted.
In addition to the final disposal technology, Fukuoka also implemented efficient garbage collection by separating household garbage into four categories: burnable garbage, non-burnable garbage, oversized garbage, and glass bottles and PET bottles. The collection of the garbage was carried out at night-time to improve work efficiency, reduce crow damage, as well as prevent crime and disaster.
Mr Michikazu Kojima, Senior Advisor at ERIA, shared good practices in improving recyclability and ensuring the quality of horizontal recycling in Japan. The recycling of PET bottles, for example, was initiated in 1992 through voluntary design guidelines by the Council for PET Bottle Recycling that set the basic requirements for PET bottles to be largely recyclable in Japan. The PET bottle could be recycled back into bottle using both chemical recycling method approved by the Food Safety Committee in 2004, and mechanical processes approved in 2012.
‘In FY2021, among 740 thousand tons of resin for PET bottle production, 118 thousand tons were from recycled resin,’ said Mr Kojima.
Besides making sure that products could be recycled, reconciling demand for recycled products with accessible supply was also critical, he said. To ensure that the level of quality between the supply and demand matches, the Japan Industrial Standard (JIS) of recycled products was developed. The standard for wood-plastic recycled composite, for instance, classified the composite into different categories depending on the content rate of recycled materials as well as various quality standards such as density, strength, water absorption rate and maximum level of hazardous substances.
Mr Kojima emphasised the role of local government in reducing marine plastic debris through comprehensive waste management. Local governments should expand waste collection services to rural areas as well as reduce waste and promote recycling. This could be performed through an inter-municipal cooperation, charging waste collection fee, source separation program, and investment in bailing machines to reduce transportation cost to the recycling companies.