By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - Sparked by surging oil, a dramatic rise in the value of old plastic is encouraging waste companies across the world to dig for buried riches in rotting rubbish dumps.

Long a symbol of humanity's throw-away culture, existing landfill sites are now being viewed as mines of potential which as the world population grows could also help bolster the planet's dwindling natural resources.

V.R. Krishna Iyer

It is strange to learn that Kerala has no plan to generate power through alternative means.

Solid waste disposal sites are not often seen as opportunities for energy solutions. The waste that is disposed in open dumps and landfills generates methane and other gases as it decomposes, causing concerns about explosions, odours, and, increasingly, about the contribution of methane to global climate change. However, the liability of landfill gas (LFG) can be turned into an asset.

Anaerobic digestion of municipal solid waste was carried out in the laboratory at room temperature to assess the bio-energy production from municipal solid waste (MSW) with high total solids content. The total biogas production from the municipal garbage was found to be 3.2 L in 120 days.

The municipal corporation in Coimbatore, whose anti-plastics campaign has been de railed by a high court stay order, could learn something from an ongoing initiative across the country, at Guwahati. The two are based on different premises, if aimed at the same end, but this is an issue where any useful thinking is welcome. The Coimbatore initiative, as we have reported, was to ban any use or sale of plastic bags (upto a certain thickness), tumblers, plates and other throw-away items; in a welcome change, the campaign began and got going with strong all-party political backing.

HOTELS and hostels in the Union Territory are saving on LPG by cooking food with bio-gas (Methane) generated from human waste. On an average, eight to 10 LPG commercial cylinders are saved per month, users say . The advantage of bio-gas is that resources required for it are generated locally and the only probable cost is the installation expenses of the plant and the gas stove with modified burners. "The whole process is eco-friendly and there is no odour," says Project Director, Renewable Energy Agency of Pondicherry, D Selvi.

A three-day conference on "Holistic response to climate change' began at the SM Convention Centre here today. The conference is being organised by the World Environment Foundation. Around 300 experts will discuss the issue of climate change during the three-day conference. Dr Madhev Mehra, president of World Council For Corporate Government, UK, said climate change could reduce global consumption of various products by 20 per cent. That could mean GDP reduction of 5 per cent.

WOW ! That is what you would probably say when someone pays you for your garbage. It is also a new system

If everything goes well, the Model Colony ward of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) could become a 'model' before the other municipal wards for making use of the discarded garbage for a 'powerful' cause. The municipal body is planning to generate electricity by setting up a biogas plant that will use the garbage within the Model Colony ward as its fuel input and run the streetlights in the ward with the electricity generated.