Thermal waste treatment facility won't endanger public health - Mexico City govt

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The thermal solid waste treatment plant that is in the process of being built in Mexico City will not endanger the health of local residents, according to Jaime Slomianski, director of the local government's urban management agency AGU.

The remark was made during a meeting held between AGU officials, the government and environmental protection commissions of the local legislature, and representatives of the company in charge of building the facility, reports local daily El Sol de México.

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Slomianski said that international institutions have shown that no concrete evidence exists on the potential negative effects that the use of thermal technologies to treat solid waste can pose to public health.

"The local government's decision to adopt clean technologies to solve such a complex problem is based on the satisfactory environmental results that nations in Europe and Asia have had in the over 25 years since these plants have been in operation there," Slomianski is quoted in a local legislature statement as saying.

According to the paper, José Cázares, a representative of Pro Activa Medio Ambiente-Veolia (the winning consortium of the contract to build the plant), did admit that the thermal treating process of the waste generates around three percent of hazardous residual ashes that cannot be reutilized.

Since the launch of the tender for its construction, the project was met with opposition from some local residents and environmental non-profits, who questioned the potential health impact that the facility would have on neighboring residents. A local opposition legislator even submitted a bill requesting information on the matter to the local public works and service ministry.

The thermal waste treatment plant will be the first of its kind in Mexico and is set to become the largest one in the world. The plant will treat about 4,595t of solid waste daily, out of the 12,843t that is produced in the city every day.

This waste will then be used to generate power - up to 965,000MWh/y - for the 12 lines of the capital city's metro system.

Construction of the plant is expected to wrap up in 2018, so the facility can begin operating later that year or in early 2019.