Emerging Challenges in Solid Waste management in India

by Sadabahar Greens Pvt. Ltd.


India is the third-largest producer of solid waste, after only the United States and China. It faces significant challenges associated with waste collection, waste transportation, treatment and waste disposal. ULBs are ill-equipped to handle the increasing quantity of waste, which is a direct result of India’s ever-increasing urban population and average income, leading to drastic changes in the consumption pattern in Indian cities. Some of the key challenges for the Solid Waste management system include a lack of waste segregation and doorstep collection, the use of inappropriate technologies for treatment, and the indiscriminate disposal of waste. A callous public attitude towards waste management further exacerbates the situation. 

Based on the source, it can be divided into various types:

  • Solid municipal waste (MSW) It is made up of garbage, sanitary waste, construction and demolition debris (CnD), and street rubbish, which are primarily produced by apartment buildings and commercial buildings.

  • Solid industrial waste (ISW) As they may contain toxic materials, be caustic, extremely combustible, or react when exposed to specific things, such gases, they are typically classified as hazardous waste.

  • Hospital garbage or biomedical waste Infectious waste is typically in the form of disposable syringes, swabs, bandages, body fluids, human excreta, etc. It may also contain sharps, soiled waste, disposables, anatomical waste, cultures, abandoned pharmaceuticals, chemical wastes, etc.

Solid Waste Types

Solid waste is defined as undesirable or pointless solid items produced by human activity in residential, commercial, or industrial areas. It can be divided into three categories. 

  • Contents (organic material, glass, metal, plastic, paper, etc.).

  •  Origin (domestic, industrial, commercial, construction, or institutional).

  •  Potential hazards (toxic, non-toxin, flammable, radioactive, infectious etc).

For a municipality, waste management successfully involves a number of procedures. These include keeping track of, gathering, moving, processing, recycling, and discarding. The amount of garbage produced varies mostly because of various lifestyles, which are inversely correlated with the socioeconomic status of the metropolitan population.

Our patterns of consumption and production have a direct impact on the quantity of waste we produce. Another difficulty arises from the large volume of goods that are introduced to the market. A rise in the proportion of one-person families is one demographic development that has an impact on how much waste we produce (e.g. packaging goods in smaller units).

It is challenging to gain a complete picture of the waste produced and its whereabouts due to the wide range of waste kinds and various waste-treatment pathways (including illegal ones).

India, presently the most populous nation in the world, encounters a number of development challenges. Solid waste management is a serious issue that requires attention. India has established institutions to take on the challenge of sustainable waste management, while many affluent nations are looking for ready-made solutions.

In India's major cities, each person generates 0.8 kg of waste every day on average. According to estimates, 68.8 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) was produced in metropolitan India each year (TPY), or 0.573 million metric tonnes per day (MMT/d) in 2008.

51% of MSW is typically made up of organic trash, 21% is inert garbage, 17% is recyclable, and 11% is hazardous.

However, roughly 40% of all MSW is not collected at all, and as a result, it litters the city or town, makes its way to neighboring sewers, and contaminates surface water. Unsegregated garbage collection and transportation results in open dumping, which not only pollutes the environment but also produces leachate and gaseous emissions. Groundwater and nearby surface water are both contaminated by leachate, while gaseous emissions cause global warming.

Challenges to Waste Management in India includes:


Data on the quantum of waste generation in India is conflicting, since there is no waste system of periodic data collection on waste generation. Consequently, the estimations and projections of solid waste management vary wildly from one agency to the other.
Research has shown that waste collection and waste management efficiency is low in India, due to non-uniformity in the waste collection system. Waste collection efficiency is complete only in those areas where private contractors and non-governmental organisations are actively involved.
Most cities and towns in India dispose of their waste by depositing it in low-lying areas outside the city, without taking adequate precautions in waste management. Research shows that there is no land available for landfill for Waste dump. Since ULBs don't have the resources to acquire new land, finding new land becomes a major challenge in waste management in india.
Local authorities lack adequate funding and infrastructure of authority. Thus, they are unable to adopt innovative and appropriate technologies for waste treatment and waste disposal management in India.
Waste to Energy (WtE) is a widely used technology in India, but it faces several problems, including unsegregated waste and seasonal variation in waste composition. Various research documents show that most WtE plants cannot function effectively due to operational and design issues in waste management.
There is a lack of proper planning and indignation of sophisticated waste management process facilities, as well as the provision of regular training to waste-collectors.
To Resolve improper document issues and design issues we can go with manual composting methods for these we can use Sadabahar composter vertical garden planter tower will help the best feature of it is self fertilizing with inbuilt composter attached with planter that is available at Urban plants

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