The year 2020 has opened a Pandora’s Box of natural and man-made disasters for the world. Most of these are a consequence of utter callousness and negligence by humankind. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have led to exploitation of limited natural resources and land. It has also led to severe pollution problems. As a result of this, efficient solid waste management is one of the greatest challenges the world faces today.
Solid waste management could be described as the collection, treatment and disposal of generated waste. Better understanding of waste and keeping abreast with the latest technologies allows us for efficient waste management by reusing, recycling and upcycling of solid waste.
Despite all the available technologies there are several challenges faced for effective solid waste management like administration, social problems, and financial sustenance.
With the uncontrolled rise of industrialization and human population, the rate of waste generation has grown exponentially. Over the past few decades, any material that served its purpose would be disposed off without a second thought and eventually end up at a municipal dumping site – unsegregated. This lack of segregation and appropriate disposal / treatment has led us to one of the greatest crises we face today. So how do we tackle the Goliath that is solid waste management today? Currently, many countries seek innovative solid waste management strategies that are low cost, easy to implement, decentralized, effective and can be implemented with ease in the existing situation. Not just this, all solid waste management strategies must be able to cope with and accommodate the possibility that waste generation may still keep increasing in the future.
With rapid urbanization and archaic solid waste management strategies, the country is facing a massive solid waste management challenge. India has a population of roughly 1.3 billion out which nearly 440 million people live in urban localities. A cumulative total of 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste is being generated in India per annum. Only 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected out of which a staggering 75% of segregated waste is dumped in landfill sites.
The honourable Prime minister’s ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan’ aims to drive the country’s citizens, municipalities and industries towards being more environmentally responsible and encouraging them to move towards sustainable waste management. Solid Waste Management (SWM) today is an intrinsic component of keeping our cities, towns and villages clean. However the biggest obstacle in this system is the lack of discipline in waste segregation the most critical component in ensuring the rapid conversion of landfill garbage into composted material. Poor waste segregation has led to rapid saturation of land filling sites, along with a plethora of related issues.