Overcoming wasteful solutions to domestic garbage treatment

14:04 | 26/09/2020 Environment

(VEN) - Domestic waste is a problem not only in big cities but also in rural areas in Vietnam. The lack of consistent planning and policies on waste collection, transportation and treatment hamper many localities in dealing with the persistent and growing problem.

overcoming wasteful solutions to domestic garbage treatment
A waste treatment plant in Phu Yen Province uses T-Tech technology

Inconsistent policies

According to the Vietnam Environment Administration, 71 percent of domestic waste were buried in landfills last year, 13 percent were burned and the rest were treated in other ways. Scientists say each cubic meter of waste buried in the ground generates 1.3 cubic meters of leachate that contaminates groundwater sources as well as the environment.

According to Dr. Nguyen Dinh Trong, Chair and General Director of Vietnam T-Tech Technology Corporation, “Despite the interest from the Party and state in environmental protection in general and domestic/plastic waste in particular in recent years, we have not found radical solutions to this problem, therefore pollution caused by domestic waste, including plastic waste remains in alarming situation.”

Pointing to the causes, Trong said the planning of garbage treatment sites in some localities is not appropriate, unit prices of domestic waste treatment are low, while capital allocation is slow. Over time, many domestic and foreign technologies have been applied in Vietnam through Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds, but they were not suitable for treating waste in Vietnam. The diverse and complex composition of the waste was not classified at the source, compounding the problem, while state funding for scientific and technological research in this field remains limited.

In addition, under a 2017 governmental decision on the cost of domestic solid waste treatment, the unit price for treatment by burning technology is lower by 30 to 50 percent than the accepted world levels. These factors combine to undermine domestic and foreign investors in their efforts to offer effective solutions to the domestic waste treatment problem in Vietnam.

The incineration advantage

According to Dr. Nguyen Dinh Trong, the planning of waste treatment sites in each locality must be designed for collection, transportation and technology application to optimize garbage treatment capacity. “In my opinion, the suitable distance from garbage collection points to the treatment sites is less than 30 km. If it is over 40-50km, the transportation cost is high, but if it is less than 15 km, more treatment sites are required, making it difficult to apply good technologies and wasting land,” Trong said.

The cost of burying waste is only about 20-25 percent of incineration costs, but burial has serious consequences for the environment and people's health. “If we want to live in a cleaner environment, we must pay a higher cost. As waste treatment costs in Vietnam are still low, in order to be successful in the incineration technology, it is necessary to combine the burning of garbage to generate electricity with recycling of plastic particles and other things. We should apply made in Vietnam technologies, which are suitable, safe and with low investment cost,” Trong added.

T-Tech technology has been transferred to 22 provinces/cities across the country and has been exported since 2018. Its burning technology combines recycling of plastic particles and power generation in order to optimize investment. Vietnam T-Tech Technology Corporation applies various synchronous scientific principles in the research, design and production process of its incinerators. Specifically, the heat retention and insulation must be optimal for the best combustion. The generated heat is used to dry the garbage to save auxiliary fuels such as oil, electricity, and gas. The structural components in the incinerator are designed to ensure optimal burning and operating costs.

“The state needs to have consistent policies to help investors in the garbage treatment industry with timely payment of handling fees and adjustment of treatment unit prices. The state just needs to create a level playing ground and perform good management and supervision, enterprises should do the rest,” Dr. Nguyen Dinh Trong said.

Thu Huong