When it comes to managing huge piles of waste, Indian metros have a monumental task in hand. Lessons from other countries show that these mountains of waste will only grow bigger as India gets richer. And with this, how we manage our waste is going to change as well. The Central Pollution Control Board pegs the country’s waste generation at 52 million tons a year in 2016. Given the lifestyle transitions, the composition of waste to is changing. We, therefore, need to reinvent waste management in our country, and, more importantly, we need repeating & focussed awareness drives to sensitize our huge and burgeoning population to this!
While currently the informal sectors. rag-pickers and kabadiwallas (waste collectors) – continue to work on our waste recycling and management, the general public at large is to great extent quite ambivalent! Clearly, our municipal waste services do not have the capacity to operate a recycling system. Our landfills are becoming colossal and the land to dispose of the waste is shrinking. This is prompting some cities to go for the ‘magic’ solution of converting waste to energy. In Alleppey, the withdrawal of the municipality from waste management forced people to segregate and compost what they can. The five-way segregation system in place in Panaji, Goa, is also a model which other cities can emulate.
The challenge of managing waste efficiently and sustainably is going to rest on a horde of factors, be it legislation or finance. Public policy and regulations on waste management are not enough and large-scale awareness is the key! And this is where we at EcoTrash want to make a difference – starting with our campaign to sensitize people to the necessity for Waste Segregation – the critical requirement to separate the household waste at unit level into dry/recyclable and wet waste!