Singapore's first vertical waste treatment plant ready in Feb

The Tuas South Incineration Plant showing trucks about to dump their refuse into the main refuse chamber. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore's first vertical waste incinerator, designed to dispose of hazardous and chemical waste while saving more space than conventional incinerators, will be ready in February next year.

The conveyance system is the only one here with a vertically designed combustor, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Mr Tay Beng Boon, director of Yamato Technologies and a contractor for NEA's waste treatment plant maintenance, sees the vertical design as a benefit as it can help land-scarce Singapore save space.

Said Mr Akio Yoshinari, managing director of Dowa Eco-System, the company bringing the technology into Singapore: "The chute was designed and built in Japan, and after the earthquake in 2011, we treated disaster debris in the Tohoku area using this incinerator."

He was referring to the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami that affected nuclear plants in Fukushima.

"In comparison to conventional kilns, the fuel consumption and ash produced are reduced during the incineration process," said Mr Yoshinari.

The treatment facility will be able to process 72 tonnes of waste daily, treating not only toxic industrial waste but also pharmaceutical and chemical waste.

There is a need for proper facilities to support biomedical and pharmaceutical waste, noted Ms Melissa Tan, the chairman of the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore.

"There is clearly a need to manage biomedical and pharmaceutical waste carefully in Singapore because if not properly disposed of, they could pollute the environment and become health hazards to the communities working or living in the vicinity," she said.

"This risk is especially heightened in our small and crowded country," Ms Tan added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline Singapore's first vertical waste treatment plant ready in Feb. Subscribe