Dr. Meththika Vithanage Secured 50M Research Grant to Convert Solid Waste to Biochar

Dr. Meththika Vithanage, Ecosphere Resilience Research Center, Faculty of Applied Sciences, signed an agreement for the 50 million grant with Prof. Janaka de Silva, Chairman, National Research Council on 25th October 2018 at the NRC, Vidya Mawatha, Colombo 7. This is the first Target Oriented Research Grant received to USJP from NRC.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) has been a serious issue in Sri Lanka for many years and the recent Meethotamulla disaster, which resulted in more than 300 casualties have significantly increased the urgency to find a lasting solution for MSW disposal in Sri Lanka. At present, MSW is largely disposed in open dumps due to less cost and pre-processing involved. However, open dumping is hazardous to the environment and its negative socioeconomic impact far exceeds cost saving. Sri Lanka has around 262 dumpsites (with 25 in the Western Province) and there is no immediate scheme for rehabilitation of these sites and is a growing problem. All these sites are not managed properly to minimize serious health and environmental implications. Hence, the immediate need is there either to convert compost as a value-added product. Prior studies of PI and the team (Funded by the National Research Council and other granters) have shown that MSW derived Biochar to be a promising material, which has broader applications specifically to remediate contaminated sites. Further, we hypothesize that the biochar composite with compost may enhance its quality. It has already been proven for its ability for carbon sequestration. Hence, the proposed research aims to examine a total solution to the perishable MSW disposal in Sri Lanka through carbonization of biowaste. 

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