Rapid Generation Of Solid Waste In India, A Huge Cause For Concern

by Vikram Malik
(New Delhi, India)

Me, against a spectacular backdrop of the Arabian Sea. Location: Goa, India

Me, against a spectacular backdrop of the Arabian Sea. Location: Goa, India

As India urbanizes itself rather rapidly, one of the pitfalls of such striking growth is the rapid generation of municipal solid waste. Statistics say that this year in 2010, the levels of municipal solid waste generated in India would be to the tune of 65 million tonnes. About 90% of this is likely to be dispatched to landfills across the country.

The area of concern is the lack of remaining space in the aforementioned landfills, whereby one begins to question, where would we accommodate the increasing amounts of garbage that we are likely to generate in the future?

That said, one begins to question oneself – are we really thinking in the right direction? Is accommodating increasing amounts of garbage the problem, or is the problem more to do with steps that could possibly be taken to reduce the levels of garbage generated in the country, in the very first place?

As we ponder deeply, we realize that indeed, the long term solution lies in reducing the quantum of garbage generated. While that may seem a tough ask, considering India’s bloated population, which only seems to rise incessantly, there are ways in which the quantum of garbage generated can be reduced.

For one, we need to look at recycling in a much bigger manner, than is presently being done. This is particularly true in the case of biodegradable garbage, which can be recycled in various ways. And as far as non-biodegradable garbage is concerned, India must take active measures to reduce them in the very first place.

Take for instance the initiative of the Government of Delhi, the capital of India, to completely ban the sale of plastic bags. This is an excellent initiative taken by the administration, and more such steps need to be taken across the country.

Garbage segregation is another solution that can help tackle the problem of scarcity as far as the landfills are concerned; if garbage is segregated and recyclable items already removed from the entire garbage, the quantum of the same, headed for landfills would automatically reduce drastically.

Thus, as is clearly evident, intuitive steps taken in a timely manner can actually go a long way in resolving India’s problem of increasingly less space available as landfills for garbage.

Question is, is the administration across the entire country (and not just in pockets, such as in Delhi) listening? Is it even aware of the alarming nature of the problem?

Sadly, probably not...What do you think?

- Vikram

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