Today we are going to talk about the solid waste management system and learn more about it.

“Will it really be a good idea for the future and help in regaining the environment ?” So without wasting much time, let’s get started . 

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Question Arises here is , What Actually Is A Solid Waste Management System ? Indeed, before we understand “Management” let’s talk about “What Is Solid Waste ?

Basically, Solid waste is the unwanted or useless solid materials generated from human activities in residential, industrial or commercial areas. For more explanation let’s categorise solid waste in three parts…

(i) Biodegradable waste or organic waste (food and kitchen waste, green waste vegetables, flowers, leaves, fruits and paper, etc.) 

 (ii) Inert and non-biodegradable waste (construction and demolition waste, dirt, debris, etc.)

 (iii) recyclable waste (plastic, paper, bottles, glasses, etc.)

The report by the Task Force of the Planning Commission places biodegradable waste at 52 percent, followed by inert and non-biodegradable components at 32 percent. The share of recyclable waste is placed at 17 percent and has seen a constant rise over the years. Based on the data available on a few cities, biodegradable waste varies between 55 to 60 percent on an annual basis.

In India, the volume of waste generation has been increasing rapidly over the last few years. According to the “Swachhata Sandesh Newsletter” by the MoHUA (Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India), as of January 2020, 147,613 metric tonnes (MT) of solid waste is generated per day, from 84,475 wards. The 2014 report by the “Task Force on Waste to Energy,” under the Planning Commission,16 estimates that urban India will generate 2,76,342 tonnes per day (TPD) of waste by 2021; 4,50,132 TPD by 2031; and 11,95,000 TPD by 2050. 

The per capita waste generation is 450 grams per day, and has increased at a rate of 1.3 percent per annum.17 The amount of waste generation in 84,456 wards varies from 32 MT to 22,080 MT per day, as of January 2020. 

Maharashtra alone generates the highest, at 22,080 MT per day (from 7,322 wards), while Sikkim generates the lowest, at 89 MT per day (from 53 wards). Amongst the Union Territories (UTs), Delhi generates the highest amount of waste, at 10,500 MT per day. Overall, Daman & Diu is the lowest waste generator in India. 

Waste collection and transport are essential elements of SWM. The MoEFCC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,

Government of India) estimates that only 75–80 percent of the total municipal waste gets collected and only 22–28 percent of this is processed and treated. 25 A large portion of the collected waste is often dumped indiscriminately, clogging the drains and sewerage systems. These also become breeding grounds for rodents and insects, which are vectors of deadly diseases. 

According to a study released by ICRIER (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations) in January 2020, Delhi has the lowest collection of garbage (39 percent) while Ahmedabad has the highest (95 percent).

However, about 40% of all MSW is not collected at all and hence lies littered in the city/town and finds its way to nearby drains and water bodies, causing choking as well as pollution of surface water. 

Unsegregated waste collection and transportation leads to dumping in the open, which generates leachate and gaseous emissions besides causing nuisance in the surrounding environment. 

Now we categorize solid waste in three ways. Let’s get more into it and gain in depth knowledge about the types of solid waste, Municipal Solid Waste or we can say MSW, Industrial Solid Waste ISW, and Biomedical waste or hospital waste. 

If we talk about the first type of Solid Waste, That is : 

  1. Municipal Solid Waste or we can say MSW 

MSW consists of household waste, construction and demolition debris , sanitation residue, and waste from streets, generated mainly from residential and commercial complexes. As per the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change it includes commercial and residential waste generated in municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excluding industrial hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes . 

  1. Second type is, Industrial Solid Waste ISW,

In a majority of cases it is termed as hazardous waste as they may contain toxic substances, are corrosive, highly inflammable, or react when exposed to certain things e.g. gases.

  1. And the third type is, Biomedical waste or hospital waste,

It is usually infectious waste that may include waste like sharps, soiled waste, disposables, anatomical waste, cultures, discarded medicines, chemical wastes, etc., usually in the form of disposable syringes, swabs, bandages, body fluids, human excreta, etc. These can be a serious threat to human health if not managed in a scientific and discriminate manner.

Now let’s get right into the Solid waste management system . 

the collecting, treating, and disposing of solid material that is discarded because it has served its purpose or is no longer useful. Improper disposal of municipal solid waste can create unsanitary conditions, and these conditions in turn can lead to pollute the environment. The tasks of solid-waste management present complex technical challenges. They also pose a wide variety of administrative, economic, and social problems that must be managed and solved. 

As long as people have been living in settlements and residential areas, garbage or solid waste has been an issue. Waste management is all about how solid waste can be changed and used as a valuable resource. Solid waste management should be embraced by each and every household, including the business owners across the world. 

Moreover, Industrialization has brought a lot of good things and bad things as well. One of the adverse effects of industrialization is the creation of solid waste.

A significant development in solid-waste treatment and disposal practices was marked by the construction of the first refuse incinerator in England in 1874. By the beginning of the 20th century, 15 percent of major American cities were incinerating solid waste. Even then, however, most of the largest cities were still using primitive disposal methods such as open dumping on land or in water.

Proper solid-waste collection is important for the protection of public health, safety, and environmental quality. It is a labour-intensive activity, accounting for approximately three-quarters of the total cost of solid-waste management. 

Public employees are often assigned to the task, but sometimes it is more economical for private companies to do the work under contract to the municipality or for private collectors to be paid by individual homeowners. A driver and one or two loaders serve each collection vehicle. These are typically trucks of the enclosed, compacting type, with capacities up to 30 cubic metres. Loading can be done from the front, rear, or side. Compaction reduces the volume of refuse in the truck to less than half of its loose volume.

Collection of refuse in rural areas can present a special problem, since the population densities are low, leading to high unit costs. Refuse collection usually occurs at least once per week because of the rapid decomposition of food waste. Ground garbage puts an extra load on sewerage systems, but this can usually be accommodated. Many communities now conduct source separation and recycling programs, in which homeowners and businesses separate recyclable materials from garbage and place them in separate containers for collection. In addition, some communities have drop-off centres where residents can bring recyclables.

Recycling is also an important part of our life . Recycling is when waste is converted into something useful. It reduces the amount of waste that needs to be treated, the cost of its handling, its disposal to landfills and environmental impacts. It also reduces the amount of energy required to produce new products and thus helps conserve natural resources. Upcycling and downcycling are two common words used when it comes to recycling. Upcycling implies upgrading of a commodity by different processes of recycling. An example of upcycling is to make roads out of cheap plastic. Downcycling implies downgrading a commodity by different processes of recycling. An example of downcycling is breaking down high quality plastics at high temperature into different lower quality plastics. There are a large set of informal waste collectors in India. They are called local waste dealers or ‘Kabadi wallas’. They collect and sort dry waste into aluminium, plastic, paper, glass, etc. Each waste has a price fixed in the waste market. 

Solid Waste Management is a state subject and it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure that appropriate solid waste management practices are introduced in all the cities and towns in the state.The role of the Government is broadly to formulate policy guidelines and provide technical assistance to the states/cities whenever needed. It also assists the state governments and local bodies in human resource development and acts as an intermediary in mobilizing external assistance for implementation of solid waste management projects.

We hope that in the future the Government and Private Sector will focus more on the Waste Management System, So that each and every person in the country will be free from pollution or loss of resources. 

So Guys, That all for today. Hope you enjoyed reading this article and we request that you’ll also contribute towards the nation and make the environment better for living.

We’ll see you in the next blog , Thanks And Have A Nice Day 🙂