Poor State of Waste Management in India: But getting on the track of improvement

Managing waste is still a huge rock strong task which is still to be conquered in India. In a country like India, a person can see big piles of waste on the outskirts of major cities which is still not managed properly. Especially when you go to metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai, there are areas where you can see huge mountains of waste coming from the city population. Indian waste management is basically based on three major principles- sustainable development, precaution, and polluter pay.

These principles basically mean that any municipality or waste management team must work in the boundaries of environment protection and in a responsible manner. They are paid basically to manage the huge piles of waste in a manner where the environment is not disturbed- sustainability is maintained. In recent years, the waste generation has increased which has led many legislations to make some solid waste disposal rules.

These all waste management regulations fell under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 (EPA). Moreover, you can also get knowledge of waste management from books like “Solid Waste Management: Present and future challenges” and you can easily buy this book online using Flipkart Coupons with great deals. Although the different form of waste is subjected to different rules and regulations which require different compliances and nature of maintenance.

Population and poor waste management

Waste Management

As the population has increased and so does the urbanization, this country has been facing big waste management challenges. Talking about the numbers, there are around 8,000 towns and cities in India which generate over 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste every year. More to that, over 43 million tonnes of waste is collected- 11.9 MT is treated and 31 MT is dumped.

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Basically, solid waste management is the only practice which deals with the waste and provided by municipalities to keep the country clean. All the waste is then dumped outside the city which has started to raise many eyebrows now- is it not a waste management system full of flaws? To create an effective management technique or methodology, the municipalities can segregate the waste and then the waste can go to different fields where further recycling and recovery can be done.

The final leftovers or residue can then be dumped into the landfills- sanitary landfills especially, Basically, the sanitary landfills are used to dump the solid waste which is basically residue from waste processing facilities which cannot be further recycled. The only problem with it is that transportation for such leftovers is costly.

Tonnes of waste has created employment too

Around 15,000 million tonnes of waste is generated every day in this country and it gives employment opportunities to over 5 lakhs of rag pickers. This was all found in a report of IIT Kanpur which was made in 2006. Moreover, there are people who go door to door and buy recyclables to earn some money for themselves. It is also helpful in a slight way in the sense that less waste reached landfills. Now, it is 2019 and the waste has gone tripled or further quadrupled. So, how to manage this super huge chunk of waste?

Although there have been some technical advancements for processing and treating the solid waste. All thanks to the technical advancements renewable energy are generated from the waste and organic manure are also produced from the inorganic waste. Now comes the saddest part- most of these plants (converting waste to energy) are not operating smoothly. Yes, waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants have reduced the landfill waste. Keeping the solid fact in mind that about 50% of the waste is biodegradable in India.

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Moreover, if you are looking for a multi-skilled worker job then it could be best to try it. So, it is easy to segregate the biodegradable waste from others and can reduce management challenges. Also, the widely adopted waste management concept of treating waste commonly uses waste as a resource. Hence, the waste can be used as a resource like co-fuel or co-raw material. This has also open doors for a businessman in waste management niche.

What now?

There are more than 100 smart cities in India where the municipalities have thought for the long term plans for managing solid waste. As the lifestyle is changing, so is the vision of civic bodies to manage the huge chunk of wastes. The best possible way is to reduce the landfills to dump the garbage and solid waste. Instead of that, the waste must be processed and reinvent new waste management techniques.

The solid waste must be segregated which can be further used as a resource. The Central government is looking to get rid of huge landfills in more than 10 major cities. It is believed that New Delhi’s 80% of the landfill waste will be recycled and compost pits will be built to process organic waste. All India needs to do now is to encourage recycle e-waste on a massive level.

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About the author

I am Adegboyega Tunde Temitayo. A registered Town Planner with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC).

I love to think differently and possibly on various Urban and Regional Planning issues to proffer solutions to Urban and Rural Environmental Problems. You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

As the Chief Editor of Town Planners Diary, I humbly welcome you to this platform which is about enhancing Planning Education through research on various Town Planning and Environmental issues.

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