Saturday, June 27, 2015

Solid waste Management

Solid waste consists of everyday items discarded by the people. It does not include electronic or medical wastes. With urbanisation and increase in population, solid waste generated is bound to grow. The governments vision of creating smart cities and rejuvenating existing cities and also providing urban services in rural areas mean that solid waste generated in India will grow tremendously.
Solid waste has economic, environmental, social and health consequences. Environmentally, poor handling of solid waste resukts in contamination of ground water, reduces soil fertility, polluted water bodies and indiscriminate incineration results in air pollution and release of green house gases. These environmental concerns result in health consequences especially for the vulnerable and poor sections who are more exposed to this problem. Health issues increase the out of pocket expenditure of the people and has detrimental effect on their social security.
There are different models for solid waste management. South Africa outsources the work to private players and makes them accountable through concrete data analysis mechanism. Scandinavian countries are known for their expertise in producing huge amounts of energy from solid waste. In India, municipal bodies are responsible for managing the waste. Waste to energy is still in nascent stages. Landfill and incineration are major methods. Recycling has not been encouraged sufficiently. Moreover, an informal economy thrives in the recycling business of solid waste.
Presently, the policy guidelines for solid waste management are haphazardous, over lapping and lack clarity. No clear delineation of work is done. Accountability mechanism are minimal. Economic analysis of solid waste management is not done and as a result most of the burden borne by the municipal bodies. Instead polluter pays principle should be adopted. Emphasis on recycling through formalising the informal sector. Building awareness among people. The swatch Bharat abhiyan is a right move in this direction and this has to be channeled into effective solid waste management.

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