10 Facts About Solid Waste Management in India
It has been more than 2 years since the biggest social media movement, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, started.
A lot has been said about the goal of this campaign, a little has been done and a very few are functioning.
But before blaming our government for anything & everything, we should focus on the role we play in this whole process. After all, this is our country, isn’t it?
We present you some facts about solid waste in India:
1. 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated by our urban cities, annually.
When we say we are a country of 1.25 billion people, we don’t realize the responsibility that comes with it. Each one of us is contributing in piling up of the landfills, but very few are working to mitigate it.
2. Out of this, 43 million tonnes of solid waste is collected and only 11.9 million is treated, rest is just dumped.
Even if we ever succeed in collecting all the waste that is generated, it is impossible, costly and harmful to process it, since it is not segregated.
3. Waste! But it has potential to give employment to 5 lakh rag pickers.
Plus, do not forget what we give them apart from salary. Food waste after storing it for at least more than 2 days which becomes filthy, smelly and contains many harmful germs.
Plastic/Solid waste which they have to segregate from wet waste with their bare hands. Imagine doing this with our sanitary waste.
May be our waste gives them food, but it is our responsibility to be respectful towards them and understand that what they are doing is commendable.
4. 80% of solid waste can be recycled in Delhi and other such cities if segregated from the source.
The rate by which our landfills are piling up, by 2030, we might need an area comparable to the city of Bangalore for our dump.
Many people have expressed their thoughts over waste segregation. We quote two of them:
• Sunita Narian, Director General of Center for Science and Environment (CSE), said “We can’t do waste management without segregation. But there is no incentive for segregation.”
• Swati Sambyal, program officer, sustainable industrialization, CSE, said
” We need to learn from Sweden, which is a zero waste country. We need to learn from countries like Sri Lanka or Bhutan where everybody is conscious to not pollute their land”
5. According to a study, municipal solid waste has potential to generate about 1500 MW electricity which can go up to 5200 MW by 2017.
While many Indian states are still suffering from power scarcity, this has the potential to be a boon for them. Also, very soon we will run out of traditional energy sources like coal and fuel, minor contribution of solid waste can be helpful.
6. Composition of MSW. It mainly consists of organic (Kitchen & Agro waste), recyclables (plastic & paper) and inert (sands & pebbles).
Composition of MSW is roughly distributed as:
• Bio-degradable – 50%
• Recyclables – 20%
• Inert – 22%
• Others – 8%
7. Solid waste in India has increased from 20 million TPD (tons/day) in 1991 to 62 million in 2014.
These figures show that our solid waste has increased manifold in 23 years, almost by 200 %.
While in 1991 solid waste generated per capita was 0.1-0.5 kg, now it has become 0.4-0.5 kg.
8. Our metro cities, which include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata Hyderabad and Chennai produced 2570 tonnes of garbage, per day, till 2011.
9. The biggest blocker for India’s solid waste management situation is segregation of waste from source.
Along with dry and wet waste it is very important to keep our sanitary waste separately and marking it differently, because nobody wants to see that in their workplace.
It is very important for us to segregate, so that our solid waste can go through the proper channel.
Not only segregating our waste, wherever we see a board of “Don’t throw garbage here” it is very common to see garbage thrown down there.
So, please don’t get used to this,
10. Providing basic necessity to people who work to manage our waste. These landfills along with our environment and people living nearby also affects the rag pickers who are forced to do their work without gloves, mask or any other basic precautions.
Efficiency of our government and municipals may vary from city to city, but no one is stopping us from keeping our street clean and segregating our waste.
Our government spent a big chunk of budget on solid waste management, this is nothing but our money and we should make sure how it is being spent and what is the end result.
Just by doing our bit, a lot can be changed, it all starts with us.