Waste Management in India

Article Posted in: Essay


published in Vol.II, Issue.XX, September 2016


Introduction to the Author:

Meena Gomathi is a PG Scholar from Tamilnadu India.



An inexorable unease of advances and industrial progress in a nation is the generation of waste. Efficient waste management is a matter of international concern and various countries have established full-bodied monitoring waste management organizations for balancing the intents of growth and environment endurance. In India, the National Environment Policy (2006) suggests methods for controlling various forms of environmental contamination and emphasis on the necessity for assortment and handling structures for reutilizing wastes and inventing measures for ecologically safe discarding of scums. Waste management deals with deterrence and monitoring of trashes. Several measures have been taken by Indian government to dispose the waste in a proper way. It includes two sorts. They are namely: Reducing and reusing of solid waste. These methods have turned out to be the unsurpassed ones to manage the wastes. The disposal solution includes two crucial categories viz. landfills and incineration. The former is a site for the disposal of waste supplies by burial and is the ancient form of waste handling. The latter is a clearance technique in which firm organic wastes are subjected to combustion in order to convert them into residue and gaseous products. This process is beneficial for discarding of residue of both solid waste management and solid residue from waste water management.


Concerns Involved in Clearance of Waste

The metro cities and major economic hubs in India produce extreme volumes of waste, but a survey of 20 smaller cities selected to be technologically advanced as smart cities show that most are struggling to manage waste. In various cities of India, there is an enormous amount of waste being disposed. In Chennai, around 4800 tonnes of garbage is being disposed per day. As the highest score, Delhi generates 8390 tonnes of garbage every day and it is being disposed by community bins or dhalaos, which serves a secondary gathering centre before being disposed of at landfills. Plastic and metals are the major basis of the calorific value of the waste. The combustion of plastics gives rise to highly toxic pollutants. Fifty-five percent of our waste is organic, thus its calorific value is low, unlike in countries like Germany and Sweden, where the majority of waste that goes to incinerators has high content of plastic and packaging material. The state policy of our nation must discourage landfills as they can catch fire at any time and these dump sites are often difficult to extinguish since they burn through methane, plastic, and other highly flammable substances.


The Three Rs

There is a communal intonation that a lot of us where taught as children but do not always ponder of on a daily source. The mantra is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, otherwise known as the three Rs. Over the last half-century, the amount of waste created per person in the India has almost doubled. The concept and promotion of the three Rs was created to help combat the drastic proliferation in solid waste production.



The three Rs are actually a waste management hierarchy with reduce being the most important strategy. In order to reduce the quantity of waste formed, it is essential to emphasis on the source of the waste. Source reduction is when yields are designed, manufactured, packaged, and used in a way that limits the amount or toxicity of waste created. The first goal of source reduction is merely to reduce the total quantity of waste that is produced. The second aim is to protect resources by not using raw, virgin constituents. In other words, by ensuring source reduction, fewer raw materials will have to be used to produce products. Some collective industrial instances of source reduction embrace the creation of merchandise using fewer materials. For example, the waste created from disposable diapers, which has subsidised a large amount of volume to landfills over the years, has been reduced by making diapers with 50% less paper pulp. As technology improved, permeable gel was created that was able to replace the paper pulp. Aluminium cans are also a good example of source reduction as they are now made with 1/3 less aluminium than they were twenty years ago. Both of these examples not only reduce the amount of overall waste created, but they also conserve the natural resources, aluminium and paper pulp, that are used in the manufacturing. Although most examples of source reduction take place on the manufacturing side, there are several actions an individual can take to reduce the overall amount of solid waste they produce. Some examples include sending emails instead of tradition mail, cancelling unwanted catalogues subscriptions, and fixing products instead of throwing them out.



The second most important strategy of the three Rs is to reuse, which is when an item is cleaned and the supplies are used again. This notion can be problematic because we presently live in a world with many disposable items and it takes some imagination and creativity to see how items can be reused. There are two core conducts that the concept of reusing can be applied to reduce waste. First, when purchasing a new item, you can look for a product that can be used recurrently instead of a version that is only used once and thrown away. The second way to reuse is to buy an item second-hand, borrow, or rent an item, instead of buying the product new. Although the items you reuse may ultimately end up being waste, by reusing them you are decreasing the overall amount of waste produced by giving the item a second purpose and growing the typical lifespan of the item. There are many ways that you, as an individual, can reuse items.

Some common examples include shopping at thrift stores or yard sales for second-hand items. You can also donate items you no longer need to thrift stores so that someone else can use them. Another common method of reuse is to bring your own reusable shopping bags instead of using plastic or paper bags provided at the store. In addition to individual actions, there are also some industries that implement the process of reuse. Some smaller beverage companies use glass bottles to hold their products and promote consumers returning the bottles. The concern then cleans and refills the bottles for sale. It is estimated that the average glass beverage bottle can make about 15 round-trips between the manufacturer and the consumer before it must be recycled due to damage.



The third R in the hierarchy is for recycling, which in terms of waste is the reprocessing of disposed materials into new and useful products. Items that are commonly recycled include glass, plastic, paper, and metal. When recycled, some of these materials are used to create more of the same original product, while other materials are used to create entirely different products after recycling.

Write the Nation’s Future with Paper Pens

Pens have been an integral part of our school and college days. And every time our pens go out of fill, we would chuck it into dustbin without realising the plastic menace it’s causing in the world. Unlike us, Lakshmi Menon, an eco-evangelist, was extremely aware of this problem and she runs an organization in Kerala that is committed to discovering sustainable livelihood solutions, called Pure Living. A designer by profession, Menon shared her skills of designing and the love for the environment and built a pen that can aid in reducing plastic waste. At the bottom of each pen, she buried a seed of a tree. When a pen refill got over, it can be buried into the soil and the plant will sprout up from the bottom of the tree. So, if we ever lose this pen, we can be assured that we donated towards the environment as a plant might’ve grown beneath the pen. The pens are sold at the cost of Rs 12 as against ballpoint pens which are sold at Rs 5. These pens accomplish the drive of plastic waste reduction, up-cycling of paper and increasing of plants in one go. Hence, there are so many initiatives like paper pens to contribute to waste reduction, the only thing to be done as a responsible individual is to realize the hardships rendered by people in clearing the garbage and most importantly, “What we leave today is what that remains in the hands of our children, so why don’t we give them a green environment instead of a dump fill.”



Despite the numerous innovations that are emerging for solid waste disposal, landfilling still remains the most common resolution. The establishment and closure of landfills could pose a potential hazard to ground water, due to leachate seepage, and air quality due to gases released. Unless proper maintenance and administration is constant for a fairly long time, public health may be compromised as a result. Generally, business region do not have a mandate or incentive to recycle other than consumer appeal which does not necessarily prompt them to partake in these activities. Open/illegal dumping and burning of unacceptable wastes must be monitored and immediate actions must be taken by our government. There must be a significant awareness regarding the importance of recycling the waste. The public must be refined on the importance of conserving environment by managing solid wastes. It can be made possible through spreading proper methods to dispose the waste and creating awareness workshops. Inhale the pure air through your pure efforts in discarding the waste in an effective mode. Hence as a responsible individual of the nation we must dispose waste from our residences in a proper manner and recycle things as much as possible, instead of throwing them at one use.

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