Waste Management in India

Waste Management in India


Waste management is one of India's most urgent problems, but solutions are elusive and there is little public awareness and cooperation.

Urban India is likely to face a massive waste disposal problem in the coming years. Until now, the problem of waste has been seen as one of cleaning and disposing as rubbish. But a closer look at the current and future scenario reveals that waste needs to be treated holistically, recognising its natural resource roots as well as health impacts. Waste can be wealth, which has tremendous potential not only for generating livelihoods for the urban poor but can also enrich the earth through composting and recycling rather than spreading pollution as has been the case. Increasing urban migration and a high density of population will make waste management a difficult issue to handle in the near future.

Developing countries such as India are undergoing a massive migration of their population from rural to urban centres. New consumption patterns and social linkages are emerging. India will have more than 40 per cent, i.e. over 400 million people, clustered in cities over the next thirty years. Modern urban living brings on the problem of waste, which increases in quantity, and changes in composition with each passing day. There is, however, an inadequate understanding of the problem, both of infrastructure requirements as well as its social dimensions. Urban planners, municipal agencies, environmental regulators, labour groups, citizens’ groups and non-governmental organisations need to develop a variety of responses which are rooted in local dynamics, rather than borrow non-contextual solutions from elsewhere.

There have been a variety of policy responses to the problem of urban solid waste in India, especially over the past few years, yet sustainable solutions either of organic or inorganic waste remain untapped and unattended. All policy documents as well as...

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