Why is domestic waste management a challenge in India?

Domestic waste management in India

With increasing urbanization, waste management has become increasingly necessary in a developing economy like India. This is because, of the 62 million tons of solid waste generated by urban India, only 20% is treated while the rest is dumped at various landfill sites. 

With the expansion of the economy and the changing consumption pattern of the urban middle class, it is estimated that urban municipal solid waste will increase to 165 million tons by 2030.

Needless to say, there is a pressing need to increase our waste management capacity, and our waste treatment efforts and relieve the pressure on our landfills. This requires a concerted effort involving multiple parties, including residents, civic bodies, waste treatment and recycling agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporate bodies and industries. 

For effective domestic waste management, we need to start segregation of waste both at a domestic and an industrial level, increasing our solid waste treatment capacity and clear up our landfills by treating the legacy waste (the existing untreated waste that gets collected at the dumping sites). 

While domestic waste management remains a challenge for us, this article looks at the things that can be done to promote the usage of waste management bins in the country.

Is waste management effective in India?

Waste management in India is beset by several problems. Experts say that unless these problems are solved, waste management will continue to remain ineffective. Some of these problems are the following:

Waste segregation: 

Waste segregation is the first step in waste management. In order to facilitate waste management, waste needs to be segregated into bio-degradable or non-biodegradable waste. Alternatively, waste can also be divided into plastics, glass and organic or food waste. However, very few households divide their waste. 

A part of the problem emerges from the fact that specialized bins are not available in the market that can help households divide their waste into color-coded bins. That is why the Sheetal Group has introduced a range of colored plastic storage bins, such as blue, green and white dustbins, to help people segregate their waste products. Segregation of waste leads to better waste management.

Solid waste disposal: 

Disposal of waste is another problematic area. Residents often complain that the collection and disposal of waste are not done regularly. The problem is particularly grave in both rural and semi-urban areas. Municipalities are often short-staffed. Therefore, they cannot dispose of waste as regularly as possible. 

Lack of capacity: 

Landfills in urban areas are already filled to the brim. The National Green Tribunal in recent times has admonished civic bodies for not treating legacy waste and using landfills. The tribunal has asked civic bodies to first treat the existing legacy waste in the landfill before dumping fresh waste. 

If legacy waste is not treated, then landfills would lead to leachate pollution. Leachate is the liquid that leaches from landfills and pollutes the groundwater of the region, leading to various kinds of illnesses in the neighboring population.

What are the sources of domestic waste?

Another key area of concern is domestic waste management. Domestic waste refers to the waste that is produced domestically within a region. Domestic waste incorporates both household and industrial waste.

Household waste: 

Household kitchen waste can incorporate a motley of items, including vegetable and fruit waste, plastic items, glass products, electronic products, paper, etc. It is important that these waste items be sorted individually and put in the separate kitchen bin. However, most households fail to separate their waste, leaving the job to the civic body. 

Experts say that because of the lack of segregation, a lot of toxic waste products remain untreated. Dustbins, suggest experts, are a great way to segregate. The Sheetal Group’s color-coordinated plastic storage bins are a great way to segregate household waste, thereby expediting the process of waste treatment.

Industrial waste: 

Lack of adequate infrastructure can force many industries to dump their solid waste to landfill sites and liquid waste into the nearby river. This is not only a wastage of resources; it also leads to pollution. Pollution due to industrial waste has risen at an alarming rate in India. Segregation, disposal and treatment of industrial waste are important in order to reduce pollution.

Bio-medical waste: 

A third, but a little-known source of waste is bio-medical waste – one that is produced by sick patients in hospitals and nursing homes. During a pandemic, the percentage of biomedical waste as a part of the total amount of infectious waste generated considerably increases. This is what has happened during the ongoing Covid-19 situation in India, where the collection and disposal of such waste remain irregular.

What are the easy ways to reduce waste in your home?

Experts say that there are three ways to reduce waste at home. They are:

Reduce: Try to reduce the consumption of unnecessary items. Be it food or electronic items, reduction on a personal level helps to reduce waste on an overall scale. 

Recycle: From plastic to glass items, try to recycle your products. For example, old furniture can be dismantled to build new ones. 

Reuse: Reusing the used products rather than chucking them away can also help to reduce waste. For example, empty glass jars can be reused to store spices.

How Sheetal Group can help you in finding a solution from domestic waste?

Disposal and treatment of waste produced is the need of the hour. Disposing of solid and liquid waste in an environmentally safe manner helps to reduce both wastages as well as pollution.

From a public health perspective, waste management is the first step towards having a green and clean environment. This is because not all waste is a biodegradable waste. Much of the non-biodegradable waste is dumped at the disposal site, with little care for the environment.

The Sheetal Group has been helping domestic waste management efforts for quite some time now. We have been making quality utility products since 1989. Beginning with water storage tanks, the group has ventured into solid waste management products. 

Thanks to their innovative waste management and segregation products like color-coded plastic bins and stainless steel dustbins, the problem of waste is being addressed in the country to a large extent.