Municipal Solid Waste Management in India: Present Practices and Future Challenge
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15 August 2005
Due to rapid urbanization and uncontrolled growth rate of population, municipal solid waste
management (MSWM) has become acute in India. MSWM, though an essential service, is given low
priority. Lack of financial resources, institutional weaknesses, improper choice of technology and
public apathy towards MSW have made this service far from satisfaction. The current practices of the
uncontrolled dumping of waste on the outskirts of towns/cities have created a serious environmental
and public health problem.
The focus of the present paper is to evaluate the present situation of MSWM in India based on
published information and NEERI’s expertise towards MSWM. An approach to design a sustainable
MSWM system to meet the future challenge is presented. The expertise of NEERI towards MSWM
has provided extensive services to various municipal bodies in improving their MSWM system. Some
of the best practices are also detailed. The efforts by a community-based organization to promote a
sustainable integrated waste management in mega cities and lessons learnt from EXNORA’s Zero
Waste Management Scheme in South Indian cities has also been outlined.
Urbanization is now becoming a global phenomenon, but its ramifications are more pronounced in
developing countries. Natural growth of population, reclassifications of habitation and migration trends
are important in urban population in India. The population of urban India was 285 million as per 2001
census, which accounts for 27 per percent of the total population. Global experience shows that when
a country’s urban population reaches almost 25% of the overall population (as in the case of India),
the pace of urbanization accelerates (Kumar and Gaikwad, 2004).
Due to rapid urbanization and uncontrolled growth rate of...