• Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia

Review of Construction of Thermal Technology Waste Processing Facilities


Jakarta, 18 August 2020 - In the last few weeks, media reports have highlighted the construction of several thermal-based waste processing units such as the Waste Power Plant or Waste Processing into Electrical Energy (PSEL) and Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF). In the midst of a pandemic situation, the government is forcing the construction of these thermal technology projects which will actually cause long-term problems for the Regional Government and the community. The Zero Waste Indonesia Alliance reminds the government to carry out the mandate of the Law on Waste Management No. 18/2008 by promoting waste management from sources and waste minimization.


In June 2020, The Task Force of the Citarum Harum Sector 6 plans to build an incinerator stove to tackle waste in the Citarum River area. The incinerator is claimed to be able to convert waste into fuel oil. Apart from being destroyed in the furnace, the Citarum Harum Program waste management will be developed into RDF which is used as co-firing in coal-fired power plants and cement factories. In addition to the Citarum Harum Program, West Java Province will also build the Legok Nangka Regional Landfills and final waste treatment, which is one of the Waste Processing into Electrical Energy projects.


According to WALHI West Java Executive Director, Meiki Paendong, "Waste management using thermal technology in the Citarum Harum program is not a solution to solving waste problems in principle. This method will create new problems, namely air pollution, the risk to the health of citizens, and have the potential to become a project of corrupt practices. "


Meiki added that "Waste Processing into Electrical Energy projects such as incinerators and RDF will undermine existing waste management practices that are currently being built through the application of Zero Waste principles in the community. The presence of the Waste Power Plant / Waste Processing into Electrical Energy projects with an environmentally friendly label and generate electricity will make residents even more motivated to produce waste, because they think that the waste will be destroyed by thermal technology. Regardless of the type, thermal technology is a fake solution that wastes energy pollutes the environment, and has an impact on health ”.


In Jakarta, the construction of the Sunter Intermediate Treatment Facility (ITF) was stopped because PT Jakarta Solusi Lestari, a joint venture between PT Jakarta Propertindo and Fortum from Finland, admitted that there were several things that had not been agreed upon by several stakeholders, such as PLN as the buyer of electricity and the government. The project, which received funding of USD 250 million from a loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) part of the World Bank, is a false policy and a false solution because it has the potential to create new problems on the environment, health and finance.


Fajri Fadhillah, Head of the Pollution Control Division of the Indonesian Center for Environment Law (ICEL) stated that "The attention of the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government is better directed at efforts to reduce waste upstream so that the rate of waste piles can be minimized as much as possible. Wrong solutions, such as the construction of an incinerator at the Sunter ITF site which will create environmental and economic burdens, should be stopped ”.


In Cilacap, PT Solusi Bangun Indonesia (PT. SBI) inaugurated the construction of RDF Waste Processing at the Jeruklegi TPA with an investment cost of Rp. 90 billion. RDF facilities treat 120 tonnes/day or 3,600 tonnes/month of waste and will produce around 40-50 tonnes of RDF. This RDF is projected as a substitute for coal for the cement manufacturing process.


RDF has a low heating value of around 3,000 kcal/kg and is equivalent to low-grade coal. So to meet the requirements for combustion, additive materials such as plastic are needed in the RDF pellet mixture. Burning plastic waste releases harmful chemical compounds such as dioxins, furans, and mercury which can endanger human health. United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) said that burning waste will worsen climate change because the process of producing electrical energy through burning waste produces CO2 which will be released into the atmosphere.


Dwi Sawung, Urban and Energy Campaign Manager of WALHI said, "Changing the Waste Power Plant / Waste Processing into Electrical Energy incinerator project to RDF does not solve the problems that arise from the implementation of the Changing the Waste Power Plant / Waste Processing into Electrical Energy Incinerator project. RDF charges waste settlement to recipients of RDF products and shares the air pollutant load with industry or consumers. RDF does not solve problems in upstream waste management, namely reducing waste at the source according to the mandate of the law.


In Surabaya, the Waste Power Plant at Benowo Landfill will be the largest Waste Power Plant in Indonesia. Currently, the physical construction of PLTSa Benowo has reached 100 percent and is about to be inaugurated. The Waste Power Plant is designed to process 1,000 tons of waste per day and generate 12 MW of electricity. The plan is that the 2 MW electricity output will be used for the Waste Power Plant Benowo operations, 1 MW redundant (reserve), and 9 MW will be sold to PLN at a price of 13.3 cents $ / Kwh. The selling price of this electricity is too high and has the potential to increase the burden on PLN, which is experiencing financial constraints due to its debt.


The Corruption Eradication Commission study published in early 2020 confirmed that the Waste Power Plant project in 12 cities has the potential to harm the state treasury up to Rp. 3.6 trillion / year because the selling price of electricity is very high and the Waste Management Service Fee will burden the Government. Area. The Corruption Eradication Commission recommended the government to conduct an evaluation of the existing 12 cities and the Waste Power Plant National Strategic Project.


Yuyun Ismawati, Senior Advisor from Nexus3 stated that “There are four important factors that should be considered more seriously in implementing the ambitious plan of waste processing with thermal technology: first, a feasibility study and an analysis study on the environmental impact of these projects must be made public. If it is not feasible, it must be stopped and then reviewed. Second, it requires adequate laboratory infrastructure and can analyze the chemical parameters of B3 and PM2.5 so that public health and the environment are maintained."


"Third, environmental quality standards for parameters that are already quite strict, for example, fly ash as B3 waste, must not be weakened. Whereas weak environmental parameters, for example, dioxin emissions from thermal facilities, must be changed and strengthened. Fourth, waste separation at the source, information, and integration of waste recycling and the management of TPA into sanitary landfills must be improved, so that they are in line with circular economy policies, "added Yuyun.


Therefore AZWI asks the Government of Indonesia to:

  1. Review the Waste Power Plant / Waste Processing into Electrical Energy / Refuse-Derived Fuel projects that will be or have already been implemented in Indonesia and replace them with other alternatives that support sustainable living.

  2. Improve waste management in accordance with the mandate of Law No.18 of 2008 concerning Waste Management.

  3. Pressuring producers to take responsibility for the waste they produce with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

  4. Increase waste recycling, map, and integrate integrated waste processing facilities with facilities/factories that can utilize waste into a new product mixture.

  5. Implement an incentive and disincentive system. There are no tax and excise exemptions for the petrochemical and plastics industry, the use of products and packaging that are difficult to recycle, and contain hazardous toxic materials. On the other hand, the government must provide incentives to encourage the reduction of waste generation, sales of bulk or minimal packaging systems, and improve waste management at source.


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