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.

Every morning, Tony Aranha, a resident of Malad West, wakes up to find a pile of garbage right in front of his housing society. The situation is so dire that he avoids stepping out even for bare minimum errands to the nearest market. "It is difficult to walk due to the stench of garbage. The area is extremely unclean, and I feel that the machinery put up by the BMC is ineffective. Instead of going from society to society, the BMC should designate a centre for segregation at Malad," says Tony. Malad (P/N Ward) is one of the most populated…

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“Though we are enrolled by conservancy contractors to sweep dust and garbage off the streets, we end up clearing construction and demolition (C&D) waste that has been disposed of illegally in a few places which should be cleared by a separate private agency,” says Manjula*, a conservancy worker in south Chennai.  As per the Solid Waste Management (SWM) by-laws, clearing of construction and demolition waste does not fall under the purview of the routine SWM operations managed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). Despite there being fines ranging from Rs 2000 to Rs 5000 for illegal dumping of construction and…

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For more than eight years, food waste has been the main contributor towards the 6300+ metric tonnes of trash that Mumbai generates every single day. The food waste, that includes fruits, vegetables, plant waste, dairy products, grains, egg shells, meat, newspapers, is called wet waste, which is bio-degradable, that is, it’s capable of getting decomposed naturally. Food waste comprises of more than 70% of the total waste each year, says the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s latest Environment Status Report (ESR). Decentralising of waste - managing the waste at its source instead of taking it to landfills - is the ’need…

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Of the total Bulk Waste Generators (BWGs), both residential and commercial buildings, across Chennai, only 43.86% follow the Solid Waste Management bye-laws and dispose of their waste through empanelled vendors. Commercial establishments, in this case, refers to include large restaurants, educational institutions, government buildings, offices and IT parks, shops and malls and cinemas, stadiums and wedding halls.  The bulk waste generators have been mandated to engage vendors to process waste on-site and dispose of the wet and dry waste. The waste collection from BWGs does not involve the civic body and the waste generated by them is not to be…

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As Chennai attempts to decentralise its waste management system and looks to reduce the quantum of waste that is landfilled, facilities that handle wet and dry waste play a key role in the process. Any lapse in the functioning of the Micro Composting Centres (MCC) in handling wet waste and the Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) in processing dry waste would defeat the purpose of decentralisation. "After we collect the segregated waste, we deposit the dry waste in the Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) or Resource Recovery Centres (RRC). Plastic, paper, thermocol, clothes, old mattresses and pillows and even coconut shells are…

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Chennai’s decentralised waste management system has been designed with the aim of reducing the quantum of waste that reached the landfills in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur. Dumping of unsegregated waste is a serious detriment to this goal. The mixed solid waste dumped in the dumpyards generates methane, which is one of the greenhouse gases. Methane is 25% more potent than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere. With the looming effects of climate change, every stakeholder in the process must participate in managing their waste effectively. This includes the city’s many large apartment complexes and gated communities that have been deemed…

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Translated by Aruna Natarajan "ஒரு பகுதியில் இருந்து மற்றொரு பகுதிக்கு கழிவுகளை மாற்றுவது கார்பன் படிவத்தை உள்ளடக்கியது மற்றும் ஒரு இடத்தில் இருந்து குப்பைகளை மற்றொரு இடத்தில் கொட்டுவது சுற்றுச்சூழல் அநீதியாகும், இதன் விளைவாக மற்ற பகுதிகளில் வசிப்பவர்களுக்கு ஆரோக்கியமற்ற சூழல் ஏற்படுகிறது" என்கிறார் பூவுலகின் நண்பர்களின் சுற்றுச்சூழல் ஆர்வலர் ஜியோ டாமின். சமீபத்திய ஆண்டுகளில், சென்னை தனது கழிவு மேலாண்மை அமைப்பை மறுசீரமைக்க முயற்சித்து, குப்பைக்  கிடங்கில் அடையும் கழிவுகளின் அளவைக் குறைக்க முற்பட்டுள்ளது. இந்த இலக்கை அடைவதற்காக ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளப்பட்ட பரவலாக்கப்பட்ட கழிவு மேலாண்மை அமைப்பின் கீழ், பெரிய அடுக்குமாடி குடியிருப்புகள் மற்றும் வணிக நிறுவனங்கள் மொத்தக் கழிவு உருவாக்கிகள்(Bulk Waste Generators - BWGs) என வகைப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளன. விற்பனையாளர்களின் உதவியுடன் அவர்கள்  உருவாக்கும் கழிவுகளை கையாளும் பொறுப்பு அவர்களுடையதே. சென்னையில் மொத்த கழிவு உருவாக்குபவர்கள் 2016 ஆம் ஆண்டின் திடக்கழிவு மேலாண்மை (SWM) விதிகள் மற்றும் 2019…

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Waste activist Odette finds streets littered and garbage piles everywhere during her morning walks in Domlur. Nagraj, also known as Plog Raja ,continues to organise weekly clean up drives. More than 12 years after the SWM PIL got BBMP to start implementing decentralised waste management, why does Bengaluru still have garbage piles everywhere? Why do we continue to rely on illegal dumping grounds? What has the state government done in the last five years? A recap of solid waste-related developments in the recent term: Mushrooming black spots across the city (service roads, below flyovers, lake beds, storm water drains )…

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"Transferring waste from one area to another area involves carbon footprint and it's an environmental injustice to dump garbage from one place at another, resulting in an unhealthy environment for residents of other areas," says Geo Damin, an environmental activist with Poovulagin Nanbargal. In recent years, Chennai has attempted to revamp its waste management system to reduce the quantum of waste reaching landfills. Under the decentralised waste management system adopted to achieve this goal, large apartment complexes and commercial establishments that are classified as Bulk Waste Generators (BWGs) are responsible for handling their own waste with the help of vendors.…

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It has been seven years since the Central Pollution Control Board came up with the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016. But many conservancy workers like Ramesh* and Sivaraman* come across bio-medical waste in Chennai while handling municipal waste often. "There have been over 25 instances of illegal dumping of bio-medical waste in Chennai and its suburbs the last four years alone," says V Pugalvendhan, a social activist who has been tracking and reporting bio-medical waste disposal violations since 2019. Even in January 2023, there was an instance of bio-medical waste dumping in Adyar bund near Kolapakkam, which is a suburb…

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