Vol. 2, Issue 5 (2017)
Solid waste management in Indian cities: Issues and challenges
Abstract: The problem of solid waste management (SWM) is acquiring an alarming dimension in India. The high rate of industrialization and urbanization has resulted change in the life style, because of which the quantity of solid waste generated has increased significantly and its characteristics have changed. Lack of financial resources, institutional weakness, improper choice of technology and public apathy towards SWM has made this service far from satisfactory. According to the 2001 census, population of India was 1,027 million out of which 28% live in cities and it is projected that by 2050 half of the Indians will live in cities. Urban India is facing a huge challenge to cope with the infrastructural requirements of its ever-increasing population. Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) despite being the primary responsibility of the urban local bodies still remains as a major obligation that has to be improved. Various studies reveal that about 90% of MSW is disposed of unscientifically in open dumps and landfills, creating problems to public health and the environment. In the present study, an attempt has been made to provide a comprehensive review of the municipal solid waste management practices in Indian cities (generation, collection and transportation, disposal and treatment technologies). The collection and transportation system is far from satisfactory. Currently, at the level of waste generation and collection, there is no source segregation of compostable waste from the other non-biodegradable and recyclable waste. Most of the MSW in India is dumped on land in an uncontrolled manner. Such inadequate disposal practices lead to problems that will impair human and animal health and result in economic, environmental and biological losses. The current regulations (MSWM rules, 2000) are very stringent. Norms have been developed to ensure a proper MSWM system. Unfortunately, clearly there is a large gap between policy and implementation. The study pertaining to MSWM for Indian cities has been carried out to evaluate the current status and identify the major problems. The study is concluded with a few fruitful suggestions, which may be beneficial to encourage the competent authorities/researchers to work towards further improvement of the present system.