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Q. Municipal waste management: Discuss the issues involved in municipal waste management.
Nov 03, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

India is one of the fast developing countries in the global arena with second highest population in the world. The rise in the incomes of people, increased scale of urbanisation and changes in the life styles of the people have resulted in the higher levels of waste generation, but collection and disposal of waste is not on par with growing waste generation.  There is an urgent need to improve the methods of waste collection and disposal. 

Waste management in India-    

  • Waste management is directly linked to the public health system, hence waste management is an important indicator for any system.
  • Though government has undertaken various sanitation and cleanliness programmes, but on the ground waste management is not improved as it required.
  • For example we still use landfills, i.e. waste is only disposed but not recycled.  
  • In India waste management is mainly focussed collection and dumping waste at a designated site. Hence there is an urgent requirement to go beyond this traditional approach.

Analysis-

  • At present there is need of integrated approach to waste management that takes into account the entire life cycle, i.e. an approach that puts reduction, reuse, recycling and effective disposal at the heart of the system.
  • First there need to minimise the waste production in India, which requires adoption of better and efficient packaging, extending the life of products, and encouraging the reuse of stuff. 
  • Currently India has informal recycling process in the unorganised sector, hence we need to improve the process of recycling.  We need strong policies and institutional framework to make recycling more efficient and safe.
  •  After maximal salvaging of usable bits from waste, what remains should be composted or bio-digested in the case of organic refuse and incinerated, in the case of the rest, the heat being used to generate power.

Conclusion-

Currently waste management in India is still practicing traditional approach. India’s approach to waste management should be improved with more seriousness. There is need to put in place a regulatory framework that builds on its tradition of reusing and recycling, particularly in case of municipal waste. Hence we must strengthen our waste management system with various active initiatives.


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