Caught in a paradoxical situation, Hotel Maurya Sheraton retracts its plan of
installing a pyrolator
A RECENT move by the Maurya Sheraton,
a five-star hotel in New Delhi (the only
hotel in the Asia-Pacific region to be
awarded the prestigious diploma of
excellence at the 1993 Pollution
Solutions Environmental Awards), to
further boost its 'green image' al but
blew up on its face.
The hotel had purchased a pyrolator
for reducing its organic wastes into ash
manure; the device was to be inaugurated on June 6 (World Environment
Day). The model, jp 50/1, was developed
by the Kerala-based Jaison Pyrolators,
and is reported to have cost the hotel Rs
7 to 8 lakhs. Requiring 22 Kw of energy
to heat organic waste at 600-700'c into
ash manure, it had received approval
from the Kerala State Pollution Control
Board in 1992.
Sustained efforts by Shristi, a non-
governmental organisation involved in
municipal waste technology, convinced
the hotel that installing a pyrolator was
not a good idea. Stated Ravi Agarwal,
one of the members of Shristi, "They
[Maurya] can go ahead and install a
pyrolator if they like. After all it is their
money and it is their hotel. My only
objection is that they should not do it
under an 'environmentally friendly'
heading because that wouldn't be accurate."
Maurya finally decided to stop the
installation of the pyrolator after a
meeting with the Central Pollution
Control Board (CPCB) on June 10.
According to CPCB's D K Biswas, the
board advised Maurya against installation of the pyrolator because it was concerned that the low temperatures of the
pyrolator would not sufficiently dispose
off the waste and instead release dangerous dioxins into the air.
Interestingly, a press release issued
by Maurya, extolling the benefits of the
pyrolator, did not specify whether purely
organic wastes would be used. Also
despite its green image, the hotel did not
examine locally available indigenous
technology, which is much more cost-
effective, energy producing, and an
environment-friendly way of using
organic waste as a resource.
Krishna Mohan, micro-biologist at
the Tata Energy Research Institute,
Delhi, stated that installing a bio-
digestor at a place like Maurya, would
cost just over Rs 1 lakh. "We have
installed one such bio-digestor,at the
Nirula Hotel in Noida over a year ago."
Dipak Nirula, director of the hotel,
remarked, "Methane (with which water
is heated for the boiler), sludge (for
compost) and water, is generated from
Whether scuttling the pyrolator was
a face-saving act or not, the incident
brings to the fore an obsession at tackling Waste as an end-of-the-pipe problem, and a stubborn refusal on the part
of the government and industry to try
and address the problem at the source.
What the government needs to inform
people, is whether these short-term solutions are the answers to their ecological
problems. And more importantly, why
are-we producing technologies that have
been rejected across the globe?
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