If TM Has the Will, Kahrizak Landfill Can Be Put to Good Use

If TM Has the Will, Kahrizak Landfill Can Be Put to Good UseIf TM Has the Will, Kahrizak Landfill Can Be Put to Good Use

Tehran’s only landfill at Kahrizak is accumulated with different kinds of waste. Every day loaders are busy transferring part of the garbage to recycling lines. The workers say everything can be found among the waste that is placed on recycling machines including “hospital waste, food waste, e-waste and even construction debris.”

There is also a deep black pit of leachate, or liquid that, in the course of passing through matter, extracts soluble or suspended solids, or any other component of the material through which it has passed, near the landfill, says an article in Khabaronline.

Birds like gulls feed extensively on the landfill and are the only creatures happy with the accumulation of garbage at the site.

But workers in the recycling center are unhappy with their potentially harmful and noxious job. After a short term of working, many are forced to stay home due to various infectious diseases and hepatitis.


The recycling center starts work in the morning and separating wet and dry material and placing it in different containers is a routine task.

Some of the sorted “dry” waste goes directly to garbage incinerators; some others like glass fragments are sent to be melted into new glass products.

But, “wet” waste is buried in a special site to be converted into compost and “help increase the soil fertility.” While all over the world, strict protocols have been set for conversion of waste to compost and fertilizer.

If garbage is mixed only for 48 hours, it cannot be recycled and turned into compost, said Javad Nasiri, an official of the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran. International standards are virtually impossible to observe in the country, as the plan of “waste separation at source” is not implemented.

With waste separation, the municipality’s labor and transportation costs increase significantly. “Each truck can only carry 130 kg, while a garbage truck which is filled with glass fragments should have a capacity of at least 2 tons,” he notes.

Raising people’s awareness to cooperate in segregating organic waste can help reduce labor cost, and also produce healthy soil for agricultural production.

The project to separate waste at source was supposed to be implemented years ago by the Department of Environment (DoE), but the plan was not executed.

Heavy metals (including lead, cadmium, and mercury) in the compost produced have adverse effects on human health. It is one of the main sources of air pollution in the area.

Experts say gas extraction from Kahrizak not only will improve the quality of the air and environmental standards in the area but also can be a good source of revenue (if used as a source of renewable energy or registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project as per the 1997 Kyoto Protocol) for the Tehran Municipality, which is in charge of municipal solid waste (MSW) management.

To accomplish such projects it would be essential to have a sound plan of the extractable gas from landfills.

  Compost ‘Not Used’

Meanwhile, Hassan Pasandideh, director general of water and soil office at the DoE, says that the compost is not distributed on the market.

“Every day, about 5,600 tons of solid waste enters Kahrizak (Aradkouh) landfill, of which 12% to 15% is converted into compost (700-800 tons per day).” The compost produced needs to be processed and granulated to meet the requirements for use in the city’s green spaces and agriculture. In other words, complementary lines should be added to the current composting system.

Pasandideh believes that the non-standard compost is stored and not used for farming.

But, if as he said, the plant produces 700-800 tons of compost per day or more than 21,000 tons per month, then since his tenure (202 months till now), “over 4.2 million tons of compost should be stored  in Kahrizak,  which doesn’t seem feasible.”

The landfill, 24 km from the southern part of Tehran, has been in use for 45 years and has received over 35 million tons of waste.