Fairway Waste Management to transform Colombo into a waste-free clean city

In the aftermath of the recent unfortunate incident in Meethotamulla, the ‘Waste Free-Clean City project in Karadiyana, which has been awarded to Fairway Waste Management (PVT) Ltd, is a timely measure towards ensuring that such a national calamity will never occur in future again. Following the launch of this Project by the government, Fairway Waste Management has begun the task of putting their plans into action.

Fairway Waste Management has come up with a proposal to develop a solid waste processing facility at the Thumbowila-Karadiyana landfill site located in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. This will be an integrated waste processing facility to process 500 tons per day of fresh municipal solid waste received at the site. The proposed facility is designed to maximize energy production while having minimum environmental impact by optimizing the recovery of energy and nutrients in the waste stream. The processing facility will reduce the amount of waste diverted to landfills by as much as 80% by mass and 90% by volume, whilst the fraction, which will be disposed in a suitably prepared landfill is mostly inert with no ill effects on the environment.

The design consists of a biological treatment plant that will process the fast degradable, high moisture content organic waste in a wet fermentation anaerobic digestion system. This system will treat a maximum of 115 tons of fast degradable organic waste per day. The remaining waste will be diverted to an incinerator facility having a capacity of 425 tons per day.

The project will supply a total of 79,000,000 kWh of electricity to the grid per year.  This is sufficient to supply the demands of 35,000 households (based on the World Bank per capita energy use in Sri Lanka).  In addition to electricity, the plant will generate liquid and solid fertilizer from the biological treatment of the organic fraction of the waste.  It will produce 40,000 tons of liquid fertilizer per year, which will be processed to a high quality bio-fertilizer for the local market.

Currently the mixed municipal waste as well as the source segregated household and commercial waste from eight local authorities is disposed at the Karadiyana waste-processing site. A small fraction of the source-segregated waste is processed as compost. All of the mixed waste is land filled. While the landfill is a managed landfill it does not meet the modern standards for a landfill by any measure. The site, which has been operational for several decades, contains more than 2,000,000 tons of waste that is polluting the surrounding waterways, ground water sources and the air. The environmental externalities due to open dumping caused by the site are palpable. Fairway Waste Management has estimated the monetary cost of the externalities, to the public, due to air pollution, GHG emissions etc. to be approximately LKR 6000/ton. The actual cost to the Country is much higher due to the negative social impact, cost of health care (attributed to negative effects of the dump on surrounding communities), present value of future cost of remediation, cost for law and order arising from public protests, opportunity cost of the land etc. 

This is an initiative by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development to reduce waste as well as to find better and modern waste disposal solutions. The basic idea is to implement and enforce the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse Recycle) principal and to effectively implement sustainable and environmentally sound end-of-the-pipe waste solutions, such as mass burn incineration and biological treatment facilities. Sri Lanka has a long way to go.

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