Right now, Smart City Sweden representatives are in El Salvador, investigating the possibilities for a waste-to-energy plant in the country, where solid waste is turned into clean energy in the form of electricity, heat or fuel for transport.

The capital city of El Salvador, San Salvador, is undergoing a fast population growth, which has put pressure on waste management in the city. After virtual visits to Smart City Sweden, a pre-feasibility study co-financed by the Government of El Salvador and Smart City Sweden has been started up, with a focus on the region of San Salvador. The aim is to investigate whether it is possible to build waste incineration plants in the region, to decrease the amount of waste going to the landfills and convert it into energy.

– During our visit to some of the landfills in San Salvador, we noticed that the landfills lack proper leachate treatment, which has led to groundwater contamination in nearby areas and health issues for the residents. The establishment of waste-to-energy plants will really improve the quality of life for the citizens, says Aditi Bhasin, Head of Smart City Sweden Region East and Waste expert at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

Smart City Sweden have met with government and municipal officials in El Salvador during the week to discuss the challenges they are facing with the disposal of waste. One of them was the Minister of Internal Affairs and Territorial Development, Juan Carlos Bidegain, who assured that the El Salvadorian government is committed to implementing system solutions for a more sustainable future. The meeting with the Minister of Environment, Fernando Lopez, gave insights into the environmental challenges that the country is facing today. Smart City Sweden also met with mayors of 14 municipalities in the San Salvador Metropolitan Area and agreed on possible cooperation for the development of waste-to-energy plants.

The meetings were organised by El Salvador’s ambassador to Sweden, Patricia Godínez, who also led key meetings with government agencies and companies related to the issue to gather information on the processes carried out with waste.

– Sweden is a leader in sustainable development and offers some of the best technologies for converting waste to resources. The development of smart and sustainable cities is a priority for the Government of President Nayib Bukele, and therefore this project is very important for us. We hope that this project will lead to long-term cooperation between the two countries, says ambassador Patricia Godínez.

This study will provide a roadmap for the Government of El Salvador to establish waste-to-energy value chains in the country. The roadmap will include recommendations on technical, organisational and financing structures. The results of the study will provide a basis for eventual full-scale implementation.

For more information, contact:
Aditi Bhasin: aditi.bhasin@ivl.se

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