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Jagran Josh

Solid Waste Management is one of the critical parts of the sustainable development which is a core issue of Environmental Concern world over. Civil Services (IAS) Exam always asks questions from these core areas. The number of questions is increasing from these areas in the IAS Prelims Exam as the Environmental Concern is also increasing at the societal level. As we can see in the IAS Prelims Previous Year Question Papers, the questions from this section are increasing.

Solid materials which are unworkable  and undesirable, non compostable induced from residential, industrial and commercial activities in a given area, whose biodegradation is incomplete is solid waste. Of the total waste generated only 22-28% of waste is only processed and treated. Solid waste has posed serious threat to survival of mankind. By 2030 total generation of waste is about to increase to 165 million tonnes from 62 million tonnes.

Definition: OECD defines solid waste management as “ the supervised handling of waste material from generation at the source through the recovery processes to disposal.”

Present scenario:

Total Waste generated annually: 62 million tonnes

Out of 62 million

Present scenario of waste management:

Trending Now

Classification of Solid Waste

1.    Based on its origin: domestic, industrial, commercial, construction or institutional.
2.    Based on its contents: organic material, glass, metal, plastic paper
3.    Based on its hazard potential: toxic, non-toxin, flammable, radioactive, infectious

Organic waste and Inorganic waste

Organic waste is also called as biodegradable waste. Organic waste can be disintegrated by microorganisms and other living beings into methane, water, carbon dioxide and other living organisms using composting, aerobic respiration, anaerobic respiration, fermentation and other similar processes.

The inorganic waste is composed of material other than plant and animal matter such as synthetics, dust, glass and sand.

E-waste and solid waste

Electronic waste is defined as electronic products that have turned into nonessential, redundant, non operational  obsolete and attained end of their useful life.

Solid wastes can be non biodegrable, non compostable solid, semi-solid, liquid or containerized gaseous material such as agricultural residue, demolition waste, industrial waste , mining debris, municipal garbage, and sewage slit. Dredging of liquid wastes  leaves behind  solid sedimentation, so some parts of liquid waste materials are contemplated as solid waste.

Though  less than 1/10th of solid waste is e-waste , its amount is increasing 2-3 times faster than remaining stream of waste. Only 2.3 million out of 20 million computers was put for service in 1998, i.e only around 10% was recycled.

Solid Waste and pollution

Solid waste causes pollution to environment in following ways:

Governing rules and regulations

1.    National action plan on Climate change

2.    National Environment Policy, 2006

3.    Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011
       It helds municipality responsible for  plastic waste management in following aspects

4.    Electronic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011:

5.    Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998

6.    Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001

7.    The Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008

8.    The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, amended 1988

9.    Municipal solid waste Management and Handling rules -2000

Solid Waste Management rules 2016

After 16 years Government of India has updated solid waste management rules in 2016. The salient features of SWM rules 2016 are:

 Problems of solid waste management:

At Source

At processing and recycling areas

Solutions to Solid Waste Management

•    Masses should educated for behavioural change in storage and disposal of waste
•    Penalty should be strictly awarded similar to developed countries
•    Municipal bodies should probe in media to educate masses in separation of waste.
•    Notified safe areas should be allotted for disposal of hazardous waste
•    For dry and wet waste community bins should be allotted.
•    Waste from construction and demolition site should be collected on site rather than pilferage in public places.
•    Instead of landfilling, vermicomposting should be used
•    Adequate numbers municipal employees should be recruited and trained
•    NGOs and community participation should be encouraged


    Though solid waste management is a serious theart it can be efficiently solved with behavioural change in people ,stern action of  concerned implementers of rules and commitment of government.

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