A Review Of Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management is a global challenge today. Urban development, population explosion, and mass industrialization are considered as some of the primary factors that contribute to waste generation all across the world. The changing lifestyle, consumerism, and lack of awareness at the individual level are secondary reasons.
According to a World Bank Report, by 2025, 4.3 billion urban residents will be generating about 1.42 kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste that is 2.2 billion tonnes per year. It includes waste from households, commercial spaces, institutions, small businesses, and yards. It is high time that governments of the different nations address this challenge and use innovative solutions to tackle it.
Uncollected waste, uncontrolled disposal, and lack of treatment at the source are identified as some of the key issues in solid waste management which end up affecting society as well as the economy. It also leads to health hazards, environmental pollution, and hurts climate. Environmentally sound and advanced solutions are urgently required.
India’s Solid Waste Management Problem
Similar to global issues, municipal waste is one of the major problems affecting the country. India is one of the most populated countries in the world. In the last 60 years, urbanization has increased to 38% and it is expected to reach 44% by the year 2026. According to a study done by IIT Roorkee, the average rate of waste generation in India is 0.5 – 0.99 kg per person per day which is higher compared to low-income countries and lower than the developed economies. Also, the growth of the urban population as per current trends will lead to a 5% increase in waste generation.
The urban population of 227 million generates a humungous 1,43,448 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste per day as per the Central Pollution Control Board. Experts believe that a small amount of this waste is collected and even lesser is treated properly. The waste is dumped on the dump-yard or landfill sites within or outside the city limits which drastically affects the community living nearby.
The waste management process consists of different stages like generation, storage, collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal. The process of storage and treatment is often completely missed in India by Urban Local Bodies and Municipal Corporations handling waste management operations.
Additionally, financial constraints, public apathy, lack of innovative solutions have made waste management complicated. Poor waste handling practices, unscientific approach, and lack of proper disposal options have led to environmental and human health problems in India.
Treatment options are almost absent in metropolitan cities of India which act as a hub for waste generated every year.
Solutions for Solid Waste Management
The flagship program Swachh Bharat Mission initiated by the government of India in 2014 is aimed to transform the solid waste management landscape in India. The mission focuses on adopting scientific methods for the collection, processing, and disposal of municipal solid waste. It has certainly changed the mindset of the country towards waste management but much needs to be accomplished at the ground level.
There are several existing methods of solid waste management which includes landfills, incineration, recovery & recycling. But all these methods have some constraints. Landfills require a large area and it is difficult in a country like India with a huge population to find such areas away from human settlement. Incineration requires costly machinery and equipment which is not economically feasible and it can cause pollution due to smoke, gaseous pollutants, and fire. The recycling and recovery process is expensive too and potential is limited.
Waste is everyone’s responsibility
Swachh Bharat Mission interestingly emphasizes the need for every stakeholder to contribute to managing waste effectively. This includes common people who generate waste, waste management authorities, and experts who design and develop waste management solutions. Therefore, it all begins with you as an individual.
Individuals need to understand that waste is his or her responsibility. You can take the first step and contribute maximum in controlling the menace of solid waste generation affecting the cities and the human population.
- People should be educated and made aware of the consequences of waste accumulation due to littering, possible diseases, and how it impacts the environment.
- Segregation of waste is key to effective waste management. Common people should be encouraged to segregate waste into dry waste and wet waste at their homes.
- Treating the waste at the source, which is home, is the best solution as it will greatly reduce the pressure faced by municipal corporations.
Why You Should Do Composting?
According to researchers in India, waste generated in India contains more organic matter which is about 50% as compared to 30% generated in developed countries. Food scraps like peeled vegetables, fruits, and yard waste mainly constitute a municipal waste. Thus, composting is one of the best methods to manage waste at source. It can be done through aerobic, anaerobic, or vermicomposting.
SoilMate from Organica Biotech is a special formulation comprising of a consortium of bacteria which helps to decompose the solid waste effectively and naturally. The rapidly acting bacteria decompose a variety of organic waste and accelerate the composting process giving nutrient-rich compost. This simple and effective technique helps in combating the solid waste management challenge. In this way, waste can be turned into a resource using composting and it is environment friendly too.