Sunday, December 01, 2013

115,000 MT of Solid Waste are Generated Every Day in India

Solid waste management accounts for over 50% of overall municipal budgets and manpower, but municipal authorities collect only 50% of the waste and recycle a negligible 5%. Technology and privatisation are the solutions being proposed everywhere. But public-private partnerships are turning out to be more about using public money for private profit. Is integration of informal sector wastepickers into the management of domestic and commercial municipal waste the solution?

Link to the full article on Info Change India.

Some excerpts from article are below.

Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur, Ropar, Tiruvananthapuram, Erode, Allahabad, Ludhiana, Ranchi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Gurgaon have all been in the news for problems related to solid waste management.

What a Waste?

An estimated 115,000 MT of solid waste are generated every day in India, increasing every year by 5%. Almost three-fourths of the total waste (83,378 MT) is accounted for by seven mega cities, 38 metro cities, and 388 Class I cities (2005). Conventional modes of municipal solid waste management (MSWM) required waste to be collected, transported and dumped on unsuspecting villages by municipal governments as part of their constitutional obligations.

City governments spend between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 per tonne on solid waste collection, transportation, treatment and disposal. However, the expenditure is unevenly distributed, with waste collection accounting for about 60-70% of the expenditure being spent on collection, the rest being on transportation with hardly any expenditure on waste treatment and disposal (DEA, GOI, 2009). MSWM accounts for over 50% of overall municipal budgets and manpower. Yet, municipal authorities are unable to collect more than 50% and to recycle a negligible 5% of the total waste generated in their jurisdictions.

Waste Management Problems in Tourist Resorts of India

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) initiated by the Government of India in 2005, with the twin broad objectives of upgrading urban infrastructure and improving basic service-provision in cities with million-plus populations, shaped many of the changes taking place in solid waste management. Under JNNURM, costs of urban renewal are to be shared between central, state and local governments. Grants were conditional upon the preparation of inclusive city development plans and a set of mandatory and discretionary reforms to be undertaken by local and state governments.

Composting Wet Household Waste for Green Surroundings !!


Recyclable materials constitute between 17.5% of municipal solid waste and the informal sector retrieves 56% of that (Annepu 2012). Most of the recyclable materials collected and handled by the informal waste sector fall within the broad categories of paper, plastic, metal, glass and rags. For the purposes of this article, the authors look at the consumption and recycling of just two commodities -- paper and plastics.
Paper (India)
  • The import of waste paper has increased from 5.1 million USD in 1980 to 1 billion USD in 2011.
  • India imports around 4.0 million tonnes of waste paper annually, which is about 57% of its requirements.
  • Post-consumer paper or waste paper is an important renewable raw material for the paper industry.
  • 3 million tonnes recovered annually reduces imports.
  • The recycling process offers an opportunity for the generation of additional income and employment.
  • 95% of waste paper collection is carried out by the informal sector.
  • Estimated that recycling 1 tonne of waste paper results in a saving of 70% of raw material, 60% of coal, 43% of energy and 70% of water, as compared to making virgin paper from wood.
  • According to some estimates, 1 tonne of recycled paper saves approximately 17 trees, 2.5 barrels of oil, 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity, four cubic metres of landfill and 31,780 litres of water.

Plastic (India)
  • Per capita consumption in India: 5.8 kg.
  • Between 2000-01 and 2009-10, the demand for plastic raw material more than doubled from 3.3 million metric tonnes to 6.8 million metric tonnes.
  • Plastic processing capacity more than doubled from ~8.2 MMT in 2001-02 to ~19 MMT in 2009-10.
  • Number of organised recycling units: 3,500
  • Number of unorganised recycling units: 4,000
  • Major types of plastics recycled: PE, PP, PVC, PET, PS, ABS and PMMA.
  • Manpower directly involved in plastics recycling: around 600,000.
  • Manpower indirectly involved in plastics recycling: around 1,000,000.
  • Quantum of plastics recycled per annum: 3.6 million metric tonnes.
  • Estimated investment in indigenous plant and machinery for recycling industries (mostly Tier I): about Rs 150.00 crore.
There is a good deal of doublespeak and inherent contradiction in policy and practice and a frightening absence of coherence between policies of different government ministries and departments.

The Government of India and well as state and municipal governments are treading the path of the economically developed world in the matter of managing urban solid waste. Centralised, capital- and technology-driven waste management will spell the death of the informal waste recycling sector. India has a rich history of re-use and recovery which should, in fact, be strengthened by promoting source segregation of waste; registration, integration and upgradation of wastepickers and itinerant waste buyers; reserving space for flea markets, junk markets and scrap materials markets; decentralised composting and bio-methanation and other eco-friendly options.

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