Unfortunately, metro cities including Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune are no longer able to cope with these mountains of trash. Mumbai alone is generates over 5,500 tons of garbage every day while smaller cities are touching the 1,000 tons per day mark. The problem is equally acute across states.
Lack of garbage management has driven high-end tourists away from Goa, according to the data.
Waste experts consulted by the ministry of urban development point out that solid waste can be divided into biodegradable and inert waste. With the earlier policy of dumping waste in land fills located outside cities no longer viable, environmentalists including Gopal Krishna of Toxics Watch Alliance, believe the main obstacle is the unwillingness of municipalities to implement a policy of segregation of biodegradable waste.
“The Suryapet municipality in Andhra Pradesh and Nammakal in Tamil Nadu have been trendsetters in showing that municipalities can deal effectively with segregated waste,” said Mr Krishna.
The ministry of urban development statistics reveal that kitchen waste, which comprises 45 per cent of all waste, can be converted into manure at the ward level. The remaining waste (like paper) should also be recycled if possible. Unfortunately, the ministry of urban development and the ministry of new and renewable energy have been at cross purposes with the former believing biological methods like composting are preferable to the waste-to-energy policy being promoted by the other ministry. The Integrated Plant Nutrient Management has also recommended the setting up of 1,000 compost plants.
The ministry of environment has also observed in its white paper on pollution that, “thermal treatment methods such as incineration or conversion of waste to briquettes... is not feasible due to the low heat value of the municipal solid waste in the MCD area”.
Nov 20, 2012 - Rashme Sehgal | Age Correspondent |