Solid Waste Management


  • 62 million waste produced annually.
  • Only 70% collected
  • The sewage treatment capacity in cities would have to be expanded by 63 per cent.
  • Only 28 per cent of solid waste can be treated scientifically at present.
  • As of now wastes are transferred to landfills and untreated sewage is released into hidden waterways.
  • Best Practices : Solid Waste management practiced in Alleppey, Kerala. The municipality bears no cost for collection and transportation. In this unique model, every household segregates its waste, composts it, or makes biogas out of its wet waste. The municipality collects dry waste weekly. For households that cannot treat their waste in-house, every ward has community sheds, where people come from 7-9 in the morning to give their wet waste and deposit the dry waste


New Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 by MoEFCC.

  • All waste generators will have to segregate and store the waste generated by them under three separate categories – bio-degradable, non-bio-degradable and domestic hazardous waste, in suitable bins before handing it over to authorised rag pickers or waste collectors
  • Manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers will now on have to provide separate pouches along with the products for their proper disposal
  • The ambit of the rules has been expanded beyond municipal corporations to include railway stations, industrial townships, airports, ports etc. 
  • Local bodies can charge a certain fee from generators for proper management of such waste while provisions have been included for spot fine for littering at public places
  • Integration of rag pickers and waste dealers (kabadiwalas) into the formal system through facilitation by state governments
  • Burning of solid wastes and biomass has been categorically prohibited and will be dealt according to the provisions off the Environment Protection Act
  • Obligation for the organiser of an event or gathering of more than 100 persons at any licensed or unlicensed place to ensure segregation of waste at the source and its handing over to a waste collector
  • The developers of special economic zones and industrial estates and parks will also have to earmark at least 5 per cent of the total area of the plot or minimum five plots or sheds for recovery and recycling facility
  • A Central Monitoring Committee under the chairmanship of the environment secretary will monitor the overall implementation of the rules


Municipality Body’s role:

  • Garbage Management responsibility.
  • Can levy charge on user for collection.
  • Fine for littering and non-segregation.


Recent Initiatives:

  • The Central government has issued a circular to all power distribution companies stating it was mandatory for them to buy electricity from power plants fuelled by solid waste. In case the companies brush aside the instructions, the government would impose severe penalties on them, an entitlement that comes from the recent amendment of the Electricity Regulatory Act (2013)
  • Why it is done?
    • four solid waste-run power projects across the country had to be shut down because power distribution companies would not buy electricity from them. No private power company was interested in investing in such power plants
    • The Centre now aims at generating 700 megawatts of electricity from solid waste-run plants in the next five years.
  • The Centre’s decision  to ask fertilizer companies to sell municipal compost is among the more promising initiatives to stem the rising pile of trash.


SC Verdict:

  • The Supreme Court has banned construction activity in states and UTs that don’t have Solid Waste Management Policy.
  • The court ordered that further construction activities be stopped in some States and Union Territories that remained unmindful of the interests of their people to live in a clean environment.
  • Imposed fines on some States and the Union Territory of Chandigarh for not placing on record their respective policies under the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.


  • Communities  can be encouraged to create food gardens in every area possible using this resource.
  • Residents can start segregating their waste at home, and municipalities acquire the systems to manage it.
  • Swachh Bharat Cess can be utilised for this purpose.
  • Convert waste to Biogas (or biomethanation) or convert it to other fuels and harness heat energy.
  • elderly people being made observers of cleanliness in their areas
  • MPLAD MLALAD fund to bring out ideas from people
  • citizen participation in Municipalities Citizens Charter
  • social awareness campaigns using short movies and nukkad natak
  • promoting startups in waste management sector
  • polluter pays penalty regime
  • apps to report location of wastes
  • nirmal gram/ward puraskar

Critically analyse various aspects of solid waste management in India such as its magnitude, cost on environment and lives, different models, policy measures etc. and suggest what needs to be done to manage solid waste efficiently. (200 Words)

Solid waste consists of everyday items discarded by the people. It does not include electronic or medical wastes. With Urbanisation and increase in population, solid waste generated is bound to grow. The government‘s vision of creating smart cities and rejuvenating existing cities and also providing urban services in rural areas mean that solid waste generated in India will grow tremendously.

Solid waste has economic, environmental, social and health consequences.


Environmentally, poor handling of solid waste results in contamination of ground water reduces soil fertility, polluted water bodies and indiscriminate incineration results in air pollution and release of greenhouse gases. These environmental concerns result in health consequences especially for the vulnerable and poor sections that are more exposed to this problem. Health issues increase the out of pocket expenditure of the people and have detrimental effect on their social security.

There are different models for solid waste management. South Africa outsources the work to private players and makes them accountable through concrete data analysis mechanism. Scandinavian countries are known for their expertise in producing huge amounts of energy from solid waste. In India, municipal bodies are responsible for managing the waste. Waste to energy is still in nascent stages. Landfill and incineration are major methods. Recycling has not been encouraged sufficiently.

Moreover, an informal economy thrives in the recycling business of solid waste. Presently, the policy guidelines for solid waste management are haphazard, over lapping and lack clarity. No clear delineation of work is done. Accountability mechanisms are minimal. Economic analysis of solid waste management is not done and as a result most of the burden borne by the municipal bodies. Instead polluter pays principle should be adopted. Emphasis on recycling through formalising the informal sector. Building awareness among people. The swatch Bharat abhiyan is a right move in this direction and this has to be channelled into effective solid waste management.


In your opinion, what are the effective and scientific ways of garbage management? Discuss. (200 Words)

Garbage management has become an important task due to the increasing population, pollution, consumerism, impact on climate. Effective scientific ways must be adopted for garbage management.

  1. Using incinerators to burn the garbage and usage of components like Catalytic converters to convert gases like CO to CO2 etc. for low harmful gases emission.
  2. Proper segregation of types of garbage like domestic organic waste, plastic, electronic items, chemical compounds, metals etc. This helps in reusing or recycling along with proper disposal techniques for few types.
  3. Usage of organic waste especially in rural areas for preparing compost which is rich in nutrients and can be used in organic farming.
  4. Setting up of recycling and sewerage treatment plants at industrial waste outlets, rivers etc. for effective management of waste from the industries and also treating sewerage for eliminating garbage.
  5. Plastic recycling must be done as laying plastic roads, preparing pipes etc. for better usage and re-usage.
  6. New small scale industries to segregate parts within electronic items which need careful separation of harmful elements for reuse and also using new technology for recycling.

Garbage management is a key part in the new mantra of Sustainable Development which is the focus of today world with problems of climate change, pollution, diseases, and calamities looming around.


Sewage management issue is one of the most important aspect to achieve the dream of “Swacch Bharat”. Discuss the magnitude of the problem and solutions to tackle this problem. (200 Words) - Solid Waste Management

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