The African nation does its part to reduce the burgeoning trash crisis on the continent. One of the ways it is doing so is by building the first energy plant in Africa which coverts trash into electricity.
Ethiopia largest trash dump
For about fifty years, the largest trash dump of Ethiopia, Koshe, was the home to hundreds of people. Those who lived nearby would collect and resell rubbish trucked in, primarily from the capital Addis Ababa. However, last year, 114 people were killed after a massive landslide. The development prompted the government to rethink in alternative use for the site, which is about the size of 36 football pitches.
As Face2FaceAfrica reports, Koshe is being turned into a new waste-to-energy planet via the Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project. Reportedly, it is also the first of its kind in Africa. The goal is to revolutionize waste management practices across the country.
Waste Management Plant
According to project plans, the waste management plant will start operating in January. It will manage to incinerate 1,400 tons of waste every day. This is approximately 80% of the waste generation of the city. The plant will generate enough electricity to supply nearby residents with 30% of their household energy needs.
Last year in Nairobi, Zerubabel Getachew, the continual deputy representative of Ethiopia to the United States said:
“The Reppie project is only one component of the broader strategy of Ethiopia to address pollution, as well as embrace renewable energy across all of the sectors of the economy. We also hope that Reppie is going to serve as a model for some other countries in the region, and around the world.”
The process is similar to any steam-powered generator. The waste from the landfill burns into a combustion chamber. The heat generated from incineration will heat the water tank and turn the water into steam. The steam will drive a turbine generator that produces electricity.
Additionally, to generating the electricity, the waste-to-energy plan is going to save space. The first energy plant in Africa will also prevent the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater, as well as reduce the release of greenhouse gases (specifical methane) into the atmosphere.
What About Europe?
In Europe, waste-to-energy plants are already popular. So far, Europeans incinerate about 25% of municipal waste. In France, there are about 126 waste-to-energy plants. In Germany, there are 121 in total. And in Italy, there are 40 plants. As the Reppie plant contributes towards alleviating air pollution, it also operates within the emission standards of the European Union.
Waste management is a big challenge for a lot of African countries. Especially in poverty-stricken regions, the collection, as well as management and disposal of solid waste have not been solved. Mismanagement of the waste can also lead to flooding and the outbreak of disease, hence the importance of this latest development.
Featured Image Credit: United Nations
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