“Waste isn’t waste until we waste it.”- Will. I. Am
Today, India is facing major environmental challenges due to waste generation along with:
- Waste transportation
- Inadequate waste collection
- Waste treatment
- Waste disposal
According to a study, urban India produces 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum.
Yes, the number is enormous!
The same report also predicted waste production to go up to 165 million tonnes in 2030.
Surprisingly! Out of that, only 43 million tonnes of the waste is collected and 11.9 million tonnes of the waste is treated.
So what happens to the remaining 31 million tonnes?
You must have seen the dump yard within or outside the cities where this solid waste is deposited. There is where these 31 million tonnes of waste are dumped.
And the worst part- we are running out of these landfill areas.
The good news is there are some steps we can take on how to manage waste, such as:
Waste Management Through Segregation
Segregation of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass at the source is a must to effectively achieve success in waste management.
Waste to Energy Plants
However, for producing energy from waste, only waste of high calorific value can be used.
And thanks to proper waste management! Due to lack of segregation as mentioned in the previous point, the mixed waste can’t be of much use for waste to energy plants.
If we can set up a proper segregation process then some of the benefits that stand out in waste to energy are:
- Decrease the amount of waste
- Generate electricity power
- Landfill usage and landfill expansions can be greatly reduced
Worth mentioning it prevents the production of methane gas too.
I rather not talk about how extremely flammable it is!
Municipalities Should Cover More Areas
Waste management has not reached every part of the country yet. It is still limited to urban regions.
A higher participation by municipalities will result in a positive impact in reaching out to diverse areas in India.
Awareness to Be Responsible
Everyone should be made aware of various waste management techniques such as dos and don’ts.
Especially the big industries that are producing tons of waste every year.
According to the report, IIT Kanpur (2006) found the potential of recovering at least 15 per cent or 15,000 MT of waste generated every day in the country. The same report also mentioned, it can provide employment opportunities to about 500,000 rag-pickers. The report further added that despite immense potential in big cities in this area, participation from non-profits or communities is limited.
So, industries should not miss following basic protocols that ensure proper segregation of waste. Additionally, assurance that the waste generated passes through different stages of recycling and resource recovery. Then, the remaining final residue should be deposited scientifically in sanitary landfills.
Setting Up a Proper Waste Management
How will it help?
Listed below are some of the benefits to the environment and humans:
- Improve ocean health and peace of breath for underwater life as the plastic disposed of in the oceans causes a serious threat to their life when ingested
- Decreases the risk of infectious diseases spreading and hence promote the health of the people
- Employment opportunities for various people involved in the process
Last but not the least, make everyone realize it is everyone’s responsibility to manage the waste if they know how to produce it. Cheers!