Sunday, Sep 27, 2020 | Last Update : 11:10 PM IST

187th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra130045899280634761 Andhra Pradesh6614585881695606 Tamil Nadu5693705138369148 Karnataka5572124503028417 Uttar Pradesh3785333136865450 Delhi2644502284365147 West Bengal2410592110204665 Odisha201059165432820 Telangana1858331544991100 Bihar175898161510881 Assam167374136712625 Kerala160935111327636 Gujarat1303911105923394 Rajasthan1247301042881412 Haryana1205781012731273 Madhya Pradesh117588932382152 Punjab107096840253134 Chhatisgarh9856566860777 Jharkhand7770964515661 Jammu and Kashmir69832495571105 Uttarakhand4533233642555 Goa3107125071386 Puducherry2548919781494 Tripura2412717464262 Himachal Pradesh136799526152 Chandigarh112128677145 Manipur9791760263 Arunachal Pradesh8649623014 Nagaland5768469311 Meghalaya5158334343 Sikkim2707199431 Mizoram178612880
  Discourse   18 Sep 2017  Manage waste efficiently

Manage waste efficiently

The writer is a professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
Published : Sep 18, 2017, 3:15 am IST
Updated : Sep 18, 2017, 3:22 am IST

‘Improved consumerism’, enforcement of waste collection charge is need of the hour.

It is an undisputable fact that urbanisation and rapid economic growth are contributing to the problem of solid waste management in Indian cities.
 It is an undisputable fact that urbanisation and rapid economic growth are contributing to the problem of solid waste management in Indian cities.

India, on an average, generates about 0.5 kg of municipal solid waste (MSW) per person per day. This is certainly a low-bound value compared to the industrialised countries' per capita waste generation of 3kg. However, owing to its large population size, India's total daily waste generation is 1,27,000 tonnes. Metropolitan cities generate daily waste in the range of 8,000-9,000 tonnes, and smaller and medium-sized Class I cities generate 1,500-3,500 tonnes a day. It is an undisputable fact that urbanisation and rapid economic growth are contributing to the problem of solid waste management in Indian cities.

The approach towards waste management should be multi-pronged. All the important aspects — financial augmentation, improved citizen participation, redefining consumerism towards sustainable consumption patterns and integration of the waste management system with the recycling industry — need to be addressed at the same time.


India is a large country and so are its cities. About 70 per cent waste management costs account for transporting large quantities of waste to landfill sites. Enforcing in-house waste management systems for organic waste in all housing and commercial complexes, universities and industrial premises not only reduces the transportation cost but also the quantity of waste that needs to be handled by the municipality.

Municipalities have to improve their waste-handling infrastructure. This is better done by means of public-private-community partnerships. The Dhaka model of ‘Community-based Decentralised Composting’ is one such example. It was successful in achieving financial feasibility, community participation in segregated waste collection and — most importantly — aggressive and meaningful utilisation of waste-derived compost.


Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad are some municipalities that have tried municipal bonds to improve the financial capability of cities towards service provision. 

The urban population has seen transformational changes in certain aspects of life, including per capita incomes. The time is ripe now to introduce a waste collection charge.

For operational feasibility, it may be started in all housing societies, commercial complexes and other “premises”. This would enhance the financial abilities of MSW management units and the quality of service.

Segregation of waste is a chicken-and-egg problem. Households refuse to segregate their waste because the municipality truck subsequently mixes them in the same container. Therefore, it is important for the municipality to employ a segregated waste collection system, ideally collecting different waste on different days. An aggressive campaign at household level should also be made.


Instead of formalising ragpickers, which leads to systemic and regulatory issues, facilitating them with protective gear and improved work conditions would work better.

Unless unhealthy consumerism is addressed, no other solution would work in the long run. Hence, it is important to start an aggressive and long-term campaign against modern consumerism. This should also be coupled with promotion of 3Rs.

Waste of different types such as MSW, electronic waste and construction and demolition (C&D) waste have recyclable material streams. With segregated collection of MSW, it is important to have an integrated management plan for the recyclables coming from e-waste and C&D waste.


Such a plan for recycling should be augmented by appropriate policies to promote recycling industries and market for recycled products.

A large chain of wholesalers and retailers should be facilitated into partnerships with waste-derived energy business establishments.

‘Swachh Bharat’ aims at cleanliness and let’s hope that our honourable Prime Minister also comes up with a nationwide call for “improved consumerism”. It is certainly the need of the hour.

Tags: economic growth, waste management