Waste Management In India

X factors on why waste management in India deficit?

In a year, around 62 million tonnes of waste are produced in India. Of which only 43 million tonnes (MT) of waste are collected, and the remaining waste is left over on the streets. Of the collected 43 million tonnes, only 11.9 (MT) of waste is treated and processed for a recycling operation, and the residual 31 (MT) of waste is dumped into landfills. With 31 million tonnes of valuable resources being dumped, we must rethink and reutilize our waste management strategies. Every action creates Waste. So where does the Waste go? Everywhere except the right place (Recycling). What if all the Waste meets landfill instead of recycling treatment. Waste has a fertile value to reuse, recycle, and reutilize multiple times. So why leave such resources without responsibility? Waste management rules in India aim to prevent waste creation at the initial stage through source separation and recycling operations to take us through Sustainable living. Proper waste management in India is crucial for developing a “Circular Economy” and “Sustainable living” to create a clean and green tomorrow. Mandating segregation at source and giving local bodies powers to penalize violators with due diligence makes the recycling process systematic to achieve a “Zero-waste” Eco-system. Before getting started with the Smart waste management practices in India, Let’s check the past statistics on the Waste management crisis in India.

Waste – A Tour to the Past

As per reports, the world population is increasing at a rapid rate, and this is leading to a serious waste management crisis in the future. The world’s population will hit 9 billion by 2050, requiring a better waste management system to formulate waste without getting wasted. With nearly 62 million tons of Waste (both recyclable and Non-recyclable) generated every year, only 60% is collected, and 15% is processed for recycling measures in a country that is 12 times as dense as the United States. The evolution of Corporate culture and metropolitan cities accelerates India’s focus on necessary services such as water, electricity, and food and neglects the Waste generated by these essential services. The waste Management problem impacts every place on earth, but it’s particularly acute in India. This study describes how the situation got so bad and the rise of waste management policies. Waste is not a local phenomenon anymore to leave without acknowledging. Instead, waste Management has become a global issue to resolve and recycle without delay.

Segregation at Source

“End at the Start” – the basic principle of Source Segregation. Segregation at the source is the process of segregating or identifying the waste at the initial stage or location of its generation. Waste collected needs to be separated based on the classification of waste. With proper segregation of waste at the source, the Waste can be recycled easily. However, due to improper segregation, the Waste is getting mixed up, making it hard to recycle. Identifying and locating the places of waste generation is the key to Source segregation. In many countries, the source separation rule has been implemented and mandated to segregate waste at the place of generation. According to the world bank estimation, if the waste generation goes at the same rate, it will increase by 70% and become 3.40 billion tons by 2050. Sorting out the Waste collected requires a huge amount of manpower and wastage. Source-Segregation eliminates secondary segregation; thus, the Waste, once collected, is ready for recycling. Reducing waste sorting costs and improving the recycling substratum activates the source-segregated waste collection and diversion programs to increase the recycling number and thus reduce waste generation.

Collection of wastes

If the same amount of Municipal Solid Waste is dumped, by 2047, it will take 1400 Sqkm of landfill space to dump the waste generated. Configuring waste collection plays an important role in achieving Zero Waste in landfills. However, waste collection is a challenging job that requires hard work. Therefore, rag collectors and kabadiwallahs work hard to collect waste from each corner of the country, which demands a systematic solution to drive a sustainable ecosystem for better living. The struggle is real for these people in the fields due to their working conditions and lack of appropriate channels for selling their waste for value addition. The collection of waste starts with the municipal organization’s urban local employees. They’re assigned to perform door-to-door collection and transportation of wastes in all the household, residential and commercial sectors. Waste collected from the urban sectors is transported to the dump yards and dumped with unmanageable waste. Moreover, dumping waste into the land affects health and the environment, increasing the distance from achieving sustainability goals. An alternative method to Illegal dumping of Waste The collected waste should be processed efficiently to minimize the environmental impact caused by toxic waste disposal. For example, disposal of various categories of Waste in landfills causes loss of soil fertility and pollutes land and underwater resources. Some of the ways to manage Waste wisely are, Recyclable waste should be recycled with proper measures Incinerating the Waste and transforming Waste into power (electricity) Reducing the One-time use of products and reusing products till end-of-life. Minimizing commercial Waste through reutilizing techniques. Organic waste should be disposed of through chemical and biological treatment (such as Composting process).

Workflow of Waste collection

Collection of waste (Door-to-door) Local Urban bodies are involved in properly collecting unsegregated waste from the home, residential, and community sectors.

Segregation of Waste

The collected waste is then separated into categories based on its type, size, and manufacturing raw material. Finally, these segregated wastes are transferred to recycling plants without getting mixed.

Dumping of wastes

Waste is a global problem, and the main cause of this problem is dumping all the waste into landfills. Those dumped waste gets mixed up and causes severe environmental effects on the land, soil, and ecosystem.

Recovering landfill space & resources

Recyclable waste is collected & processed with recycling operations, and the remaining wastes are dumped into landfills or burned to reduce the landfill space occupied by the waste.

Waste Management Rules by EPA

As per the Umbrella legislation by the environmental protection Act (EPA) passed in 1986 to regulate improper waste management, illegal dumping and littering of industrial wastes should be managed legitimately. To Overcome Unmanaged Waste, the Environmental protection ministry came up with the Umbrella framework legislation to regulate waste management policies rigorously and sternly to achieve Sustainable Eco-system. The Umbrella legislation will dictate the structure flow of how the waste should be handled properly.

Waste – City-based Initiatives

Each city in India comprises a massive landfill for dumping or disposing of the collected waste. Under the Swachh Bharat mission, many cities and towns have started practicing smart waste management, such as implementing automated collection and disposal of waste. However, waste Collection and management policies vary from city to city to manage the resourceful waste effectively. Bangalore was the first to initiate the segregation of municipal solid waste at the commercial and household level for easier recycling operations as per the mandatory segregation rule passed by the Government of Karnataka. To Appreciate the waste management practices of each city, the Government of India, with the Swachh survekshan organization, selected the top 20 cleanest cities in the country and offered them appreciation and acknowledgment certifications.

Solid Waste Management by Urban local bodies

To Organize the solid waste management effectively, the government of India imposed the Municipal Solid Waste Management rules of 2016, according to which, Segregation of Municipal solid Waste should be achieved before collection of Waste. To prevent improper segregation, each city or town has provided infrastructure provisions and awareness campaigns organized by the urban local bodies. Community bins should be hygienically maintained and follow proper waste disposal without overrunning waste along the streets. No Individual should burn or bury solid Waste in water bodies or on the land. Mandatory source segregation has been implemented to channelize the waste to the wealth recovery system by reusing, reducing, and recycling waste.

Waste Management Market in India

The Waste Management market is going upscale with increased consumption, distribution, and collection. With Smart waste management, India’s waste management chart seems to expand significantly. By 2025, India’s waste management market will forge tremendous growth with more than15 a billion worth of smart waste treatment plants concerning the increase in living standards, socio-economic trends, and growth in the consumption level. Going with the current trend of consumption of resources in India, municipal solid waste management will enlarge its volume by double the times in the upcoming 10 years.

Waste Management – a systematic solution

Waste is not a hitch. When Waste meets proper recycling measures, it can be a vital resource to the environment. Recycling and Reusing as much as possible is the only way to reduce the amount of waste produced. Waste disposal is the final stage of a product’s life cycle, where it is discarded and disposed of. Waste disposal has been implemented in the last century due to rapid industrialization, population increases, and urbanization. The goal of WEEE is to reduce & reuse the amount of Waste by using resources again. Bringing back the Waste of life products into use is one of the best ways to meet the resource depletion rate. Waste is a valuable resource, and only when taken care of properly it be used to produce energy, maintain sustainability, and improve our environment. The responsibility to deal with Waste must be shared by everyone: from the manufacturer or producer of a product to the home or firm which uses it. Waste has a prolific resource value. Let’s utilize the vibrant resource efficiently.