In a simple term waste management is all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposition. Waste management includes inter alia collection, treatment, transportation and disposal. It also covers within itself the regulatory and legal framework that govern the gamut of waste management and also the recycling of such reusable disposed goods.
By the very virtue of its biogeochemical and physical cycle, all the living beings tend to produce by-products and waste products. Comparatively speaking phyto produced waste tends to get dumped and decomposed into the soil itself and used umpteen number of times. But due to recent phenomenon of globalization, rapid industrialisation and mass production, humans have converted itself into consumers by virtue of which they tend to produce more artificial waste and thus calls for an effective management strategy of such waste to avoid aberrations and inconvenience in the natural cycle of waste management.
In India, waste management in guided by National environmental policy 2006 which lays greater emphasis on collection and recycling of wastes and development of such systems. Moreover waste management is legally governed by umpteen number of subordinate legislations such as Biomedical waste management (rules and regulations), 1998, Batteries (handling and management) rules 2001, e-waste management rules 2011, hazardous waste management rules 2008, plastic waste management rules 2011 etc. Moreover the executing authority is the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) in conjunction with the state ministries, central pollution control board and state boards.
In Delhi, waste is collected by nearly 2500 community bins and dhalaos, that serves as secondary collection centres before departing for landfills. These are collected either by independent rag pickers or respective waste vans roaming from area to area within a municipal locality collecting waste. Thereafter such waste is headed towards 4 non-engineered landfills viz. Okhla, Ghazipur, Narela-Bawana, Bhalswa which spread on a land of massive 150 acres each which have now turned into heaps rather than fills due to over explosion of waste. Experts say that at least 50% of waste is fit for composting and another 30% can be recycled, but according to 2015 data of Central Pollution Control Board merely 4150 TDP waste in being treated which accounts for only 8% of the total waste. Hence this calls for an effective segregating strategy for recycled waste and more capital investment in equipment for recycling such waste which is definitely lacking in the capital city. Moreover it is a well known fact that over 85% of the sanitation budget goes into transporting garbage. Thus there needs to be more investment and smart management of such investment in effectively managing the ever expanding footprint of human waste.
Moreover a new separate regulatory body in the similar line such as USA and Australia which ensures effective management of waste by inputting more focus on recycling and reusing the waste products is the need of the hour which can provide the necessary expert technical advice, global best practices and necessary capital investment which will help manage the ever expanding footprint of waste whose effective management is sine qua non for making a clean and sustainable future for India of which we are embarking through Swachh Bharat mission.