Urban garbage management crisis in India

Ques. Describe the prevailing urban garbage management crisis in India. What steps should be taken to overcome the crises.

India is in the transition towards better waste management but currently have insufficient collection and improper disposal of wastes. Disposal of wastes is commonly done by dumping (on land or into water bodies), incineration or long term storage in a secured facility. All these methods have varying degrees of negative environmental impacts with adverse environmental and health risks if wastes are improperly disposed or stored.

Prevailing urban garbage management crisis are:

  1. Insufficient collection and improper disposal of wastes, eg – The city of Bangalore generates around 4,000 tonnes of garbage, of which around 1,800 tonnes is sent to the landfills in Mandur which is a threat to communities living nearby.
  2. Absence of concrete plans for proper disposal of urban wastes.
  3. Unnecessary delay in the completion and implementation of projects initiated for urban garbage management.

Steps to be taken to overcome the crisis:

  1. Waste management must be emphasized and be linked to the creation of jobs, poverty alleviation and community participation.
  2. National policies should promote efficiency in the use of resources, emphasizing waste prevention and the productive use of wastes.
  3. Rural-urban alliance for food-nutrient exchange – Soil degradation and decline in soil organic carbon and soil fertility are widespread. The use of recycled organic products can help to counter this and at the same time reduce accumulation of organics in the city. The rural-urban alliance means that separated organic fraction from garbage and their organic carbon and nutrients can be recycled into agricultural products that are ultimately return to cities again.
  4. Alternatives to landfilling.
  5. Consumer and human lifestyles – “Customer service” marketing strategy will also foster change in lifestyles.

Clear government policies and competent bureaucracies for management of solid wastes are needed urgently. Services and programmes that include proper waste disposal for management of hazardous biological and chemical wastes, minimization and recycling are necessary to deal with the prevailing urban garbage management crisis in India

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