Discuss the major policy loopholes in effective Urban Solid Waste Management in India. Suggest measures to address these loopholes.

Published: April 21, 2018

World Bank calls India’s urbanisation process as messy. Improper solid waste management had immensely contributed in making the process of urbanisation messy.
Loopholes in Urban solid waste management

  • Capacity of Urban local bodies (ULBs): The ULBs which are the focal points of solid waste management are poorly equipped to deal with the solid waste collection and disposal.
  • Inefficient waste treatment: Lack of segregation and corruption at ULBs has made the treatment of solid waste a costly and economically unviable affair.
  • Plastics: Plastics were encouraged decades ago to fight against deforestation. This increased affinity to plastics has created Garbage Mountains.
  • White elephant: The process of urban solid waste management has become a white elephant eating on large chunk of resources.
  • Lack of participatory approach: People have no role to play in the waste management leading to exclusive waste management strategies.

Addressing these loopholes

  • Waste segregation at source: The segregation at household level will contribute significantly in waste management. This will aid in developing a peoples inclusive approach.
  • Promoting 3Rs: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse strategy must be imbibed in the behavior to promote responsible production and consumption. This also upholds the sustainable development goals.
  • Law enforcement: There are various laws like ban on plastics in different parts of the country. These must be enforced in letter and spirit to deal with waste management.
  • Strengthening ULBs: The ULBs which are focal points of local governance needs to be strengthened with finance, function and functionaries to deal with solid waste management.
  • Commercial models: The economic viability is of great importance is ensuring a sustainable process of waste management. The economically viable models need to be innovated.
  • Empowering Pollution control board: The pollution control bodies are often criticized to be toothless. The pollution control bodies needs to be empowered to ensure an oversight mechanism.

Waste management is an important component of urban governance. The loopholes in the waste management need to be strengthened for the success of Smart city and Amrut schemes.

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