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Waste management – Is It A Wasted Opportunity?

Failure of waste management in India:RealtyMyths

by Anushree Ghosh

Failure of Waste Management In India

Solid waste is accumulating at a lightning speed and is a deadly threat to the environmental health of the people. Urban India generates around 1.5 metric tons of solid waste per day. And, the amount is increasing every year. Making people aware of segregating the waste at the time of disposal is one of the ways of managing it, but hardly any steps are taken while disposing or collecting the waste at the source.  The current system of waste management in India cannot deal with the increasing volume of waste and its ghastly impacts on the residents of this country. Only the informal system is collecting and recycling the waste to make profit out of it, but the methods are hazardous and inefficient to the workers, who are doing it manually without any precautions.

Importance of Waste Management

Waste management is critical for controlling pollution and safeguarding the environment. With the proper disposal of the waste, contamination of air, soil and water could be limited, which in turn, can help to improve the overall health quotient of the general public. Here are the various benefits of proper waste management.

Containment of Toxicity:  When toxic waste material enters the environment, it contaminates it and could be hazardous for the human health.

Recycling: Most of the products like paper are recyclable, so reusing becomes easier and the demand to cut extra trees for plant products could be dealt then.

Produce Energy: By reusing and recycling, we save the extra energy that is required to produce a new product.

Methods of Waste Management

While going green is the motto of the new age Clean India, we need to work on the various aspects of managing waste by using plates made of leaves, reusing plastic bottles, segregating waste at home, etc.

The current government has undertaken road construction projects aimed at connecting the various parts of India, which is predicted to produce great economical benefits but little has been done to manage the waste produced by such projects. Wastes like cement, scrap pipes, lubricating oil, hydraulic oil, brick, blocks, asphalt and dredging materials are produced at the site of construction. We believe the authorities should strictly follow the hierarchy of the steps of waste management to control any further consequences.

Waste Prevention: Analysing the requirement of the materials required at the site and any extra quantity must be used for refilling and landscaping. This saves a lot of time and effort in transferring the materials.

Re-use: Efficient segregating of materials to be reused at the site of construction:

Recycling: When prevention and re-use cannot be put to effect, recycling is the next best option.

Waste Management Facilities: If any of the above steps are not potential enough, then the left over waste should be sent to waste management facilities.

  • Generating Energy from Municipal Waste

Municipal solid waste can be used to produce power at waste-to-energy plants and at landfills. Biogenic products like paper, cardboard, grass, leaves and non biogenic products like plastic, glass and synthetic materials are used in these plants. Effective waste segregation can help make the plants resourceful for producing energy. In 2017, Municipal Corporation launched India’s largest waste-to-energy plant at Narela-Bawana. Although a great initiative, India needs more such plants that can deal with the overflowing garbage mountains.

Challenges of Waste Management in India

The waste management system of India has hardly changed over the years.  Most of the garbage is still dumped and not properly land filled. Inadequate facilities of waste management are the major factors in the increase of thrash in the country. Also, the sector is largely managed informally which further complicates the situation. Indian cities with toxic landfill sites include Vadodara, Jamshedpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Nasik, Allahabad, and Dehradun. The authorities have failed drastically to streamline the process and contribute positively in changing the way we dispose our waste.

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