- Population growth and rapid urbanization means bigger and denser cities and increased MSW generation in each city. Faced with rapid population growth, disorganization of city governments, a lack of public awareness and limited funding for programs, cities have struggled for years to find a way to responsibly manage the country’s ever-increasing amount of trash.
- Trash and garbage is a common sight in urban and rural areas of India. It is a major source of pollution. Indian cities alone generate more than 100 million tons of solid waste a year. Street corners are piled with trash. Public places and sidewalks are despoiled with filth and litter, rivers and canals act as garbage dumps. In part, India’s garbage crisis is from rising consumption. India’s waste problem also points to a stunning failure of governance. Door-to-door collection is virtually non-existent in India. Dustbins are unevenly distributed, and there are too few of them per number of households. It’s common for individuals to have to carry their trash long distances in order to reach the closest dumpster. In some areas, people are permitted to simply dump their trash on the streets, creating a dangerous mix of rotten food, harmful chemicals and human and animal excreta. This contributes to flooding, breeding of insects and rodents and spreading of diseases. The Dustbins have no lids, leading to trash overflow and creating highly unsanitary conditions in neighborhoods. So when wind blows the heap of solid waste get carried away by wind and spread in large areas and when there are rain the problem get aggravated. Instead, the official method for primary collection is called “street sweeping”. A street sweeper is usually assigned a particular area or distance, which could be as small as one kilometer of road, or as large as 32,000 square feet. Given the fact that the sweepers are tasked with covering an impossible size of ground, it’s easy to see why not all streets are swept every day — some are swept only every other day, a few times a week or very rarely. When sanitation workers transport waste from the bins out of residential areas, they use open trucks or tractors, which they load manually, often without wearing protective gear. Trash often falls out of these trucks during transport, making the process that much more time-consuming, inefficient and unhygienic. More than 25% of the Municipal Solid Waste is not at all collected. The vast majority of cities have little funding available for waste management and therefore can’t afford as many sanitation workers as are needed to sweep the streets and collect and transport waste from community dumpsters.
- According to the Supreme Court report, most cities spend 70% of the funds on collection, 20% on transportation and only 5% on disposal. The fact that so little money is invested in the treatment and disposal of waste signals that, this is going to become a very big issue in the near future. Ideally, trash that makes it to the final disposal stage should be responsibly incinerated or undergo mechanical-biological treatment before being sent to a landfill. But in India, 94 percent of waste is disposed of unsafely, either burned in an uncontrolled manner, or dumped in untreated landfills, where contaminants can leach into groundwater. Most of the wastes are disposed by the concerned agency at an open dump without going in to the details. There is no adherence to any standards or norms for disposal and the disposal sites are not scientifically managed. The land filling practice in most Indian cities is one of the most unhygienic practices with serious environmental implications. Dangerous gases are given off from landfill sites that cause local air pollution and contribute to global warming. The land fill sites are mostly accessible to scavengers , animals and vectors. If we do not dispose of the waste in a more systematic manner, more than 1400 sq. km of land, which is the size of the city of Delhi, would be required in the country by the year 2047 to dispose of it. Given the size of India’s population and the size of the country itself, finding enough land that meets the state pollution board criteria and can hold 20 to 30 years worth of waste is extremely difficult.
- The waste sector – which includes solid waste disposal, biological treatment of solid waste, incineration and open burning of waste, and wastewater treatment and discharge – is responsible for roughly 124 million TCO2e of emissions or 6.7% of total Indian emissions. This is nearly double the Asian average, implying we need to improve how we handle waste in India.
- Out of the total MSW, 15-20% can be recycled and 40-50% can be composted, but only less than 3% is composted.
- There are not enough recycling units, waste to energy plants and mechanical biological treatment facilities. This sector is dominated by the private industries, and lacks government initiatives.
- The majority of city legislation also does not, clearly prohibit citizens from littering.
- Almost a billion people go hungry as 1/3 of the food we produce is wasted.Composting is a method of recycling organic food and yard waste from households and commercial establishments. The addition of compost promotes healthy soil and plants while preserving landfill capacity. Compostable materials break down into a soil-like substance that is a good fertilizer and soil additive for planting. Compost also offers economic benefits by reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides
- Sweden, the Scandinavian country has achieved a “recycling revolution” which has reduced the garbage in its landfills today to a mere one percent. Indeed, the waste management system of Sweden has reached such a zenith that it now imports garbage from the UK, Italy, Norway and Ireland to feed the county’s 32 waste-to-energy (WTE) plants. Incineration is widely used in Europe and Japan without any known adverse health impacts. Switzerland – a country with high environmental standards- incinerates about 75% of waste and Japan over 50% of the total waste. 367 recycling facilities in india, Chuwastar Smokeless Fire Incinerator