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Waste Management Problems in India and Solutions

India is facing a huge waste management crisis. As a developing country, this is a big set back to India. Poor waste management leads to decline in quality of life in the aspects of health and hygiene. Instead, it can be used as a potential source of energy, if utilized properly. This article is a discussion on the problems & solutions of waste management in India.

Socio-Economic Conditions

The amount of waste generated in rural and urban areas of any country depends on the population and economic conditions. Increased usage of electronic components like laptop, computers and mobile phones is a key cause of flooding e-wastes. Very few people utilize their electronics for its full lifespan, the concept of upgrading is a problem nowadays. With an intention to increase sales volume corporate do advertisements for their new arrivals this tends to repeated purchases of gadgets in the greed of possession. Consuming over packaged products is also an important cause for growing plastic wastes. As the economy grows, urban per capita income is also growing which in turn increased purchasing potential of people. This leveraged purchasing potential is one of the leading cause of the increase in garbage produced per person.

Waste Classification

Wastes are accumulated from different sources including sewage, agricultural wastes, Industrial wastes, Electronic wastes, Medical wastes and wastes from packaged products. Sewage or domestic wastes are collected using sewage channels laid across the streets. Major classification of wastes in a simpler perspective is biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes. Biodegradable wastes are easily decomposable wastes which need no big processing and can be utilized for generating power or gas which is considered as a green energy. Non-biodegradable wastes include plastics and toxic electronic substances. There are also certain groups of recyclable wastes like papers and glasses which can be re-utilized after processing.

Problems of Poor Waste Management

Wastes dumped in the yards are mostly not segregated properly. Organic and Inorganic wastes are treated in the same way, it leads to loss of potential energy generated using organic wastes. Plastic bags which is not treated properly stagnates water on it gives an opportunity for dangerous parasites like mosquitoes to reproduce. Open burning of the wastes without considering the environmental distress is another problem need to be addressed. Toxic gases like ammonia produced from the domestic waste dumps will cause numerous breathing problems. Cattle feed plastic refuses will cause a severe threat to consumers of milk and puts the lives of 'life stocks' also in danger.

Solutions for better waste management

Tonnage of wastes produced in India is far higher than most of the other developing countries. Utilization of proper methods and implementing better policies will convert wastes into usable energy. Below are the few things which will help our nation to be successful in managing solid wastes to produce more local jobs and generate more power or gas which in turn can be utilized for local needs.

    Waste collecting methods: As of now garbage is collected in doorstep in most of the municipal corporation in India. This method fails due to lethargic employee mindset as they always evade their duties. There should be a working system in place to get feedback and take action on irresponsible employees.

    Waste Segregation: It is the very important area where each and every citizen need to show their due responsibility. The new government movements like "Swachh Bharat" provides more awareness on source separation. Source separation of degradable and non- degradable wastes is a vital step in the whole process.

    New Policies and Acts : New policies and acts need to be passed to enforce strict regulations on dumping bulks wastes in public.

    Private Partnerships: Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) should be encouraged so that private players work along with government to ensure the implementation of technological advancements in the area of waste management.

    Voluntary Involvement: NGOs should actively take part in spreading awareness on waste management. Private and Government organisations should do CSR activities to create interest among the public to support cleanliness and garbage management programs.

    Distributed Management : Household garbage can be converted into biogas and can be utilized for cooking purposes in home. This will reduce amount of waste generated by each families which helps in planned ,distributed waste management solutions.


Although we discuss a lot about waste management and its consequences, it is very important to understand that the whole waste management process starts from home. Every citizen should be careful always when it comes to disposing of the wastes. Every little negligent mistake we make creates a huge impact on society.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao19 Feb 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

Waste management is a real problematic issue these days. The pollution is increasing day to day due to the improper handling of waste generated in the Industrial Sector. Many small and medium scale industries does not give that much importance to the effluent and waste treatment methods and leave the waste into the public system which is causing a major havoc in the society. Even though there are many rules and regulations in place, these industries manage by making friendship with local enforcement agencies. The waste management in a manufacturing industry is very important. But the management always feels that it is a non-productive expense and try to avoid. This thought process and mindset should change. Each and every person should think of waste management in a proper way and see that the environment will not get spoiled. The open burning of crops around Delhi is the main reason for the pollution problems in Delhi. This open burning should be stopped and alternative methods are to be worked out. Then only New Delhi will become a good place for staying. The concept of environment upkeep should be taken as an individual responsibility and everyone should see that their actions are not going to create any problem to the atmosphere. Unless the individuals realize this important point nobody can ensure any proper waste management. The government should try to educate the people through their networks about the importance of waste management and see that they get adopted to the requirement.

Author: T.M.Sankaran20 Feb 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 7

Waste management is a very serious problem faced by every developing nation. India is also facing this seriously. For a nation like India, a centralized solution is almost impossible in this matter. Only decentralized approach can be thought of. Even within a city itself the decentralisation has to be introduced. Such approach will help in choosing the suitable method.
In cities, every house and every flat must identify the suitable method to manage their waste. Bio-degradable waste can be managed by small biogas units which can be managed independently by the households. Additionally, the gas produced can be used in the kitchen. This will help to reduce the LPG use, thereby a reduction in monthly expenditure.
There must be a project by the Local Self Government to collect the non-biodegradable wastes and process the same. That also can be selected based on the existing conditions there. Electronic wastes must be gathered by the producers, if possible, since they will have some methodology to process the wastes in their firms.

Author: K Mohan27 Apr 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Yes, waste management has been a great problem in India. Especially in big metros, the waste, either dry or wet, is generated in huge quantity and people are dumping both in one garbage can. That being the reason, the Telangana government has sincerely taken the project of segregating dry and wet waste to be collected in earmarked containers so that at the source itself such waste is separated and the dry garbage goes for manufacturing electricity from waste. Likewise, all the governments should undertake to separate the wet waste and dry waste so that waste management could become a reality.

Author: T.M.Sankaran07 May 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 5

In continuation to my post above, I would like to add something more. In the case of biogas plants suggested to process biodegradable waste, the gas produced can be used in the kitchen. But there will be another byproduct, called slurry, which comes out from the biogas plant through an outlet. This can be used as a bio-fertilizer after diluting with water. With further dilution, this liquid can be sprayed over the plant as a pesticide. So the use of biogas plants not only help removal of biodegradable waste but also help develop a kitchen garden. Those who stay in flats can grow vegetables in earthen pots in open verandahs utilizing kitchen waste.
Biodegradable wastes can be converted into manure using other methods such as virmi composting, windrow composting, pipe composting etc. It is always better to consult an expert in this field before introducing a particular method.

Guest Author: Amit29 Jun 2019

I think you should explain some techniques like how waste management can be achieved individually in the social culture in cities like Pune/Mumbai/Bangalore etc. I would like to do it but I am not aware of the ways to do it and I am sure that there are so many people like me.

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