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Is India properly subscribing to waste management?

India - the world's second-most populous country, ranks 94th in per capita plastic waste production. India also generated around 3.2 million tonnes of e-waste in 2020. A joint report by ASSOCHAM-EY, labeled ‘Electronic Waste Management in India’ evaluated the nation's e-waste to be 5 million tonnes by the end of 2021.

Citing Wikipedia - "India generates 62 million tonnes of waste annually. Among 43 million tonnes of wastes, 70% of them are accumulated, out of which 12 million tonnes are recycled and the prevailing 31 million tonnes are ditched in numerous trash yard areas, causing hazardous side-effects to humans nearby."

The World Bank study disclosed that India was the world’s highest waste-producing nation. According to a 2016 calculation, India’s annual waste generated is aptly to reach 387.8 million tonnes by 2030 and 543.3 million tonnes by 2050.

According to exclusive data from the Union ministry of environment, forest, and climate Change, India produced approximately 56,898 tonnes of Covid-19 bio-medical waste between June 2020 to June 2021. The current Solid Waste Management systems in India are roughly ineffective, eliciting waste hurting public health, environment, ecology, and the economy.

From where does the wastes come?

A very intriguing question that is ignored by many is, from where does the waste come? Do you remember dumping your domestic waste to roadside bins or into local garbage collecting trucks? Where do you think the debris goes? Of course, dump yards, but unbelievably 77% of waste in India is disposed of in open dumps or roadside bins that are partially dirty always. Merely 18℅ of the wastes are composed, and 30% are recycled ( according to Material Recycling Association (MRAI)). India is still struggling with improper management of surplus bio-hazardous, chemical, and e-waste production.

Did you know that Municipal waste is categorized into 5 categories? They are:

1. Recyclable material (including glasses, bottles, paper, metals, certain plastic, etc).

2. Composite wastes (tetra packs, toys, etc.)

Biodegradable wastes (such as flowers, vegetables, fruits, and kitchen wastes).

3. Inert waste (humus, rocks, construction material).

 Domestic hazardous or toxic waste (e-waste, medication, fluorescent tubes, manmade chemicals, etc).

Apart from them, bio-medical and hazardous wastes are also players of ecological imbalance.

Action, taken by The Government! 

The Modi government has circulated a draft proposing a complete ban of manufacturing, use, import, sale, and handling of single-use plastic and has initiated a program to phase out single-use plastic by 2022.

In September 2021, the program initiated its first stage. The second phase is likely to begin from January 2022, and the third phase will grow by July 2022. It will focus on a complete ban on six categories of single used plastics. (A report has claimed India’s Reliance Industries as the top 10 single-use plastic among global waste producers.)

India is the only nation in South Asia with an e-waste law (since 2011) directing, that, only the authorized recyclers and dismantlers can accumulate e-waste.

The waste management division in India falls under the list of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) takes on or approves several endeavors like Pune founded Swach (since 1993), Clean Cities Championship in Warangal-Telangana, Nirmal Bhavanam Nirmal Nagaram, or Clean Homes Clean City, 14 campaign in Gangtok, Zero Waste in Bobbili - Andhra Pradesh, Waste Management in Mysore and Solid Waste, etc. Notable activists such as Almitra Patel and Nalini Shekar have contributed to surveys, support, and encouraging waste management systems.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests introduced Waste Management and Handling Rules which are yet to be considered effective, especially for the Solid Waste Management system in India.

In 2014, the Modi government launched the Swachh Bharat Mission - a five-year nationwide cleanup action. When systematic and total waste management came into public consciousness, many cities and towns in India were working by individual efforts authorized at the municipal waste collection of segregated waste, even based on citizen activism to establish sustainable systems.

Multiple stop solutions for better waste management!

There are many effective ways one can switch into for better waste management,

1) Re-use - 

Switching to the use of second-hand items or donating the second-hand items, if you're okay with it. Try to use the gadgets or junks in a new or better technique, like using torn clothes for new costumes or decors. Go for a reusable bottle/cup for beverages or boxes.

2) Re-pair -

Ensure details about repair policies while you buy electronic gadgets or any recyclable/ repairable item. Try to imagine beyond phones and laptops, be conscious of all electronic appliances - from batteries, speakers, tube lights, etc. It might be easy to throw these in the trash, but it takes your cooperation to save the planet.

3) Recycle -

One of the best approaches to manage the mass of wastes is recycling. Look for local businesses or centers that recycle items, and instead of dumping your debris give it to them for further recycling.

4) Collect -

You can easily collect waste boxes or bags and send them to recycle or reuse creatively. You can ask the companies about their waste management companies and support them.

5) Re-search -

Just spreading awareness would be a one-way approach, if, you do not consume and act in the right way, so re-search. Re-search about what is happening to the wastes around you and how you can support waste management.

6) Take help from registered collection organizations in your city, ask the organization about their procedures, recyclers, and where or how the waste is manipulated. Companies like Swach, Toxic links, TenPlus, etc. have remarkable records in many cities.

7) Composting -

Composting waste is a very lenient process and even healthy if you can learn and follow it. Also, you can ask companies or individuals to compost it for you. Many nurseries have taken the initiative to compost wastes in particular sections.

8) Swiveling waste into energy-

The rise of new methods like plasma arc recycling can help India meet surging demands. In this method, a technology can recover an enormous bulk of platinum metal found in any vehicle or object by the use of a super-hot plasma torch. Instead of mining for new ore like earlier, it can be re-used by giving such items a second life.

9) IoT: Internet of Things -

The influence of the Internet of Things and cloud computing technologies provide high-tech sensors that enable waste management in several companies to optimize transporting routes and timing data. This waste management technology even lets consumers collect waste from full containers as located by it, aiming to boost efficiency and save money by diminishing needless pickups.

10) Waste materials to raw materials -

Many companies effectively turn waste products into a source of raw materials by removing plastics and cellulose fibers from them. The procedure of Autoclave sterilization is used as heat treatment processing units to destroy microbes before any means of disposal, which is an eco-friendly measure.

There are many different ways by which you can manage or recycle wastes. But here, evidently, another fundamental question raises -

Why should we manage waste?

1) It maintains a promising ecological balance.

2) It reduces pollution, conserves energy, and reduces carbon footprints.

3) Creates employment - Recycling commerce alone creates hundreds of jobs. As more people adopt eco-friendly practices, creating and selling recycled products, rising startups initiatives, etc. helps boost their business and employment while generating hundreds of jobs opportunities also.

4) It is relatively significant to avoid and control laborers' exposure in the waste management sectors, where many hazardous biological and chemical risks exist. Exposure to such dangerous substances as microbes, gases, harmful metals, etc. can lead to a large extent of health consequences, acute/ chronic diseases, toxic and allergic infections, or cancers, which are strengthened when the waste is dealt with by technologies.

5) Despite development in social, economic, and environmental areas, India has several young innovators and activists who get a platform to express and perform their creativity in the waste management sector and lead India towards advancement.

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