Waste Management

Read our substantive coverage of urban waste management policy and practice to know more about waste segregation, reduction and recycling of waste, avoidance and management of plastic waste etc. Assess the efficacy of government policies such as waste to energy plants and stay informed about alternative solutions such as composting and zero waste initiatives. Case studies on successful and effective waste management at a local level, through a combination of citizen action and government policy, inspire readers and provide practical tips.

Recently, when I drove through Varale-Ambethan Road in Pune, I saw a worrying sight near the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial area. Piles of garbage lined the roadside, set ablaze in the afternoon sun. The burning garbage consisted of a hazardous mix of chemicals, metals, and food waste. The air, filled with the pungent smell of burning refuse, was a cocktail of impurities. During my visit, the acrid smoke lingered for at least two hours, permeating the air and infiltrating the air conditioning vents of industries and vehicles passing by. It was difficult to breathe easily while travelling through that road.  The garbage…

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The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) recently released the results of the 2023 Swachh Survekshan, a cleanliness survey conducted as part of the Swachh Bharat (Urban) campaign that covers 446 cities. The evaluation parameters covered the cleanliness levels of residential and commercial areas as well as public spaces, water bodies, parks, schools and waste management arrangements. Indore and Surat shared the first rank while Navi Mumbai bagged third place. As for our State, the survey results are rather tepid – no city in Tamil Nadu made it to the top 100 clean cities list. Trichy was named the…

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Gift-giving is a time-honoured tradition that helps us celebrate special occasions, express our love and appreciation for others, and foster strong social connections. However, the way we approach gifting can have a significant impact on the environment. Many gifts end up unused, discarded, or contributing to environmental pollution. In this article, I will share the consequences of gift-giving and suggest options for sensible gifting. As I have observed numerous gifts accumulating beneath Christmas trees or even being discarded in the ground, only to be unearthed as waste, I have become aware of the pressing issue of gift-related waste. Additionally, working…

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In 2019, a new underground drainage pipe (UGD) was installed to clear an earlier blocked sewer that erupted, leaked, and contaminated the land. The culprit – output from the unplanned growth of commercial kitchens in 5th block, Koramangala, which have been pumping these effluents into the UGD. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) moved the UGD from the carriage way to the side of the road, where all the utilities were planned, as part of the whitetopping procedure. They found that the discharge from the line that was attached to a restaurant was entirely filled with oil when…

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"There isn't much garbage coming to the landfill now," says Rahim, 36, a waste picker working in the vicinity of Bhalswa. "Earlier, we would retrieve e-waste alone worth 500-700 rupees, but now it's dwindled to a mere 150-200 rupees." Saira Banu, 40, another waste picker, says "Whatever waste gets dumped these days, the trucks pick them up at night, leaving almost nothing for us. It's no longer as profitable as it used to be in the past years." Saira has been working for over two decades around Bhalswa. "I used to come here from Jahangirpuri to collect waste before marriage,…

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In November last year, it was reported that the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) removed 600 tonnes of garbage and 250 tonnes of debris from water bodies over four months. The operation was a part of the desilting works undertaken by the administrative body to enhance the stormwater flow capabilities of the main canals. While it is not the sole reason for flooding during heavy spells of rain, indiscriminate waste disposal leads to clogged drain inlets and polluted water bodies that increase stagnation. Healthy water bodies can help tackle both water scarcity and flooding crises. The GCC oversees 33 canals totalling…

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Part 1 of this series traced the journey of raising awareness about waste management and facilitating behavioural change in phase 1 of #TeamLBTC’s (Let's Be The Change) efforts in Mestri Palya. In part 2, we look at the process behind empowering the community members to create products out of waste as well as what more can be done to replicate the same model of waste management in other slums in the city. Waste to wealth initiative Soon after the successful implementation of Phase 1 of the project, we gradually moved into Phase 2. Before the initiation of Phase 2, an…

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Bengaluru is experiencing  a surge in migration, due to rapid urbanisation and population growth, leading to the rise of  urban poor settlements or slums. These slums face daily challenges, including improper housing, inadequate access to water, sanitation, waste management, and other basic facilities. The prevalent unhygienic conditions in these settlements contribute to health issues, notably a surge in  diseases like dengue while nearby government hospitals often lack the necessary facilities.   A critical issue is improper waste management in these areas. There are disparities in opportunities for dumping, collecting, and disposing of waste. This further compounds the challenges faced by the urban poor.…

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Citizen Matters Chennai organised a Citizen Clinic on how to become a zero-waste household on November 29 with a panel of experts. The online clinic provided answers on how to segregate waste at source; how to avoid plastic and what are some eco-friendly alternatives; how to find recycling units near your home and how to get help with composting in Chennai. The panel had three experts who shared the best practices and personal experiences in moving towards minimal waste generation. The panellists included P Natarajan, founder of Namma Ooru Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation engaged in solid waste management, rainwater harvesting,…

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Mumbai is facing a significant challenge with garbage dumping and burning, adversely affecting the city's air quality this year. To address the escalating air pollution, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently imposed a ban on open-air garbage burning citywide. This action came on the backdrop of the air quality index (AQI) frequently deteriorating to the 'poor' category. Under the Guidelines for Air Pollution Mitigation, endorsed by Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, the BMC emphasised a complete prohibition on open burning within its geographical jurisdiction, especially at garbage dumping grounds and potential sites for trash incineration. Garbage disposal Disposal is a…

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