About 18 000 megawatt hours of electricity can be generated from organic matter per year in Harare alone, a study has shown.According to the preliminary calculations, the 18 000 megawatt hours of electricity is sufficient to serve a population of 300 000 people with continuous supply of electricity per year considering that the average consumption of electricity per individual is about 60 to 70 kilowatt hours per year.
In an interview, Environmental Management Agency (EMA)'s environmental officer, Mr Luke Makarichi explained the findings of the study saying it is possible to recover materials and energy from the waste refuse using technology.
"The preliminary study has shown that it is possible to generate about 18 000 megawatt hours per year from the organic fraction alone. "Our municipal solid waste is composed of a number of components which include plastics, metals, wood as well as food which is the organic part of the biodegradable portion and that portion alone can be used to generate that amount of energy if we install biogas powered generators using the digested solid waste," he said.
Mr Makarichi advised that instead of heaping the waste material at dumpsites the exercise of recovering energy from waste material is ideal in minimising the volume of refuse at dumpsites.
"Instead of just collecting the refuse and throwing it at dumpsites, why not recover material and energy from it. "The advantage is that at the end of the day we will have very little portion of the waste being discarded as refuse and there will be a good incentive to clean up our environment and collect refuse as this will no longer be regarded as waste but as a resource," he said. He also said that the nation should not only focus on renewable energy but also expand it to alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels.