Waste management in India

Waste management in India falls under the purview of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). In 2016 this ministry released the Solid Wastage Management (SWM) Rules, 2016, these rules replaced the Municipal Solid Wastages (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 which had been in place for 16 years.[1]

Gundhar singh

Urban India (about 377 million people) generates 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste each year, of this about 43 million tonnes (70%) is collected and 11.9 million tonnes (20%) is treated. About 31 million tonnes (50%) is dumped in landfill sites.[2][3]

With changing consumption patterns and rapid economic growth it is estimated that urban municipal solid waste generation will increase to 165 million tonnes in 2030.[4][5][6][7]

Composition of waste

62 million tonnes annually averages out to 450 grams of waste per person per day. However, there is a lot of variability in per capita waste generation in India, daily household municipal solid waste (MSW) generation ranges from 170 grams per person in small towns to 620 grams per person in large cities.[8]

A 2007 study of Indian metro cities (cities with a population of over 1 million inhabitants) estimates MSW composition (by weight) to be 41% organic or biodegradable, 40% inert, 6% paper, 4% plastic, 4% textiles, 2% glass, 2% metals and 1% leather.[8]

According to a 2014 India Planning Commission MSW study 51% of MSW is organic or biodegradable, 32% is inert or non-organic and 17% is recyclable waste.[9]

E-waste in India

The global e-waste monitor, a collaboration between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations University estimated that India generated 1.975 million tonnes of e-waste in 2016 or approximately 1.5 kg of e-waste per capita.[10]

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) rapid economic growth and changing consumer behavior is likely to increase e-waste generation in India to 5.2 million tonnes per year by 2020.[11][12]According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) rapid economic growth and changing consumer behavior is likely to increase e-waste generation in India to 5.2 million tonnes per year by 2020.[13][14]


Some of the highlights of the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules, 2016 are:

  • Waste segregation at source is mandatory. Waste generators have to segregate waste into three streams - Organic or Biodegradable waste, Dry waste (plastic, paper, metal, wood, etc.) and Domestic Hazardous waste (diapers, napkins, mosquito repellants, cleaning agents etc.). Further, bulk waste generators such as hotels, hospitals etc. are expected to treat organic waste either onsite or by collaborating with the urban local body.[3]
  • Municipalities and urban local bodies have been directed to include informal waste pickers and rag pickers into their waste management process. This is the first time that national policy has acknowledged and included the informal sector into the waste management process.[15] India has over 1.5 million subsistence informal waste pickers and including them into the formal waste management system represents an opportunity for urban local bodies to streamline their operations, while provide the waste pickers with better income opportunities.[16][17]
  • FMCG product manufacturers that use non-biodegradable packaging for their products must put in place a system to collect the packaging waste generated due to their production.[3]
  • Urban local bodies have been given a provision to charge bulk generators a user fee to collect and process their waste, additionally spot fines may be levied on user's burning garbage or throwing it in a public place.[18]
  • No non-recyclable waste having a calorific value of 1,500 Kcal/kg or more should be disposed in the landfills. It should either be utilized for generating energy or can be used for preparing refuse derived fuel. Or it can be used for co-processing in cement or thermal power plants.[19]

Waste management market in India

By 2025, the waste management market size in India is projected to be worth ~USD 15 Billion with an annual growth hovering around 7 percent.[20]

Considering the current urban trends, it is not at all surprising to mention that the MSW quantum in India can see an increase of double the existing volumes by ten years down the line. In fact, it is projected to hover around 80-85 MTs by 2030, offering a business case of approximately US$20 Billion.

Growing economy, soaring urban population, rising living standards and increasing consumption levels – is what trending in the emerging economies across the globe. With India flourishing on the same grounds, an increase in the purchasing power parity has led to more affordability, accessibility to resource use and a rapid surge in the waste volumes as well.

City-based initiatives

In 2014 India inaugurated the Swachh Bharat mission, a five-year nationwide cleanup effort. Before this national consolidated effort for systematic and total waste management came into common consciousness, many cities and towns in India had already launched individual efforts directed at municipal waste collection of segregated waste, either based on citizen activism and/or municipal efforts to set up sustainable systems. Some examples are Swach [21] based in Pune (formed in 1993), Clean Cities Championship in Warangal, Nirmal Bhavanam, Nirmal Nagaram or Clean Homes, Clean City in Alappuzha, Engage 14 campaign in Gangtok, Zero Waste in Bobbili, Andhra Pradesh, Waste Management in Mysore and Solid Waste Management Round Table, Bangalore (formed in 2009).[22] Bangalore's Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike was directed by the High Court of Karnataka to implement mandatory segregation of municipal waste at the household level before collection[23] - a first for the country. This was a direct effort of citizen-based activism at a local level, and the litigation was led by notable activists such as Almitra Patel and Nalini Shekar. Following this High Court ruling, other cities in India have also followed suit to make segregation of municipal waste mandatory at the generator level, Mumbai [24] being one of the notable examples.

StateCityInitiative Name [25] Implementing Agency
J&KLehProject Tsangda Rural Development Department[25]
ChhattisgarhDurg- Municipal Corporation[25]
ChhattisgarhAmbikapur- Municipal Corporation[25]
KarnatakaMysuru- City Corporation[25]
MaharashtraNavi Mumbai- Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation[25]
Andhra PradeshVisakhapatnam- Municipal Corporation[25]
KarnatakaBengaluru- Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike[25]
Madhya PradeshIndore- Indore Municipal Corporation[25]
MaharashtraPune- Pune Municipal Corporation[25]
Karnataka Bengaluru Bettahalasur Project TAICT[26]
Tamil Nadu Madurai T Kallupatti Town panchayat[27]
West Bengal Kolkata Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority[28][29]

IT initiatives

MoEFCC launched a web based application in 2016 to track and monitor waste management in India.[30] The application, Integrated Waste Management System, collects information and assists in coordinating waste generators, recyclers, operators of disposal facilities and state agencies.  

See also


  1. "Solid waste management rules, 2016". Civilsdaily. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. "Solid waste management rules, 2016". Civilsdaily. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  3. "Government notifies new solid waste management rules". www.downtoearth.org.in. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  4. "'Solid Waste Management Rules Revised After 16 Years; Rules Now Extend to Urban and Industrial Areas': Javadekar". pib.nic.in. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  5. "Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 - India Environment Portal | News, reports, documents, blogs, data, analysis on environment & development | India, South Asia". www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  6. admin (6 May 2017). "Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management - IAS prep - Sept 2017 update". iascurrent.com. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  7. "Godrej Industries - A collaborative solution to manage India's solid waste challenge". www.godrejindustries.com. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  8. Kumar Sunil; Smith Stephen R.; Fowler Geoff; Velis Costas; Kumar S. Jyoti; Arya Shashi; Rena null; Kumar Rakesh; Cheeseman Christopher (2017). "Challenges and opportunities associated with waste management in India". Royal Society Open Science. 4 (3): 160764. Bibcode:2017RSOS....460764K. doi:10.1098/rsos.160764. PMC 5383819. PMID 28405362.
  9. "Planning Commission: Report of the Task Force on Waste to Energy (Volume 1)" (PDF).
  10. "India – 2016". E-Waste. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  11. "India's e-waste to touch 5.2 MMT by 2020: ASSOCHAM-EY study - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  12. "India to generate over 5 million tonnes of e-waste next year: ASSOCHAM-EY study". The Asian Age. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  13. "India's e-waste to touch 5.2 MMT by 2020: ASSOCHAM-EY study - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  14. "India to generate over 5 million tonnes of e-waste next year: ASSOCHAM-EY study". The Asian Age. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  15. "Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 — Vikaspedia". vikaspedia.in. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  16. www.thenewsminute.com https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/oppressed-and-unrecognised-life-waste-pickers-crucial-india-s-sanitation-72426. Retrieved 26 March 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. Bharati Chaturvedi. "Mainstreaming Waste Pickers and the Informal Recycling Sector".
  18. "10 Things That You Need To Know About Solid Waste Management Rules 2016". NDTV.com. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  19. "Swachh India: Guide To Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 | Waste Management". NDTV-Dettol Banega Swachh India. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  20. "Waste to Energy and Waste Management Market in India 2018". enincon.com. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  21. https://swachcoop.com
  22. http://swmrt.com/
  23. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/high-court-notice-to-government-on-segregation-of-waste-at-source/article3708796.ece
  24. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Soon-segregation-of-dry-and-wet-waste-will-be-compulsory-all-housing-societies/articleshow/55820318.cms
  26. https://www.thebetterindia.com/113094/waste-management-bengaluru-village-recycling/
  27. B.a, Pon Vasanth (17 April 2017). "T. Kallupatti, first local body to receive ISO certification". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  28. "A Small Town in West Bengal Helped Kolkata Win a Global Award for Waste Management". The Better India. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  29. "A tiny town in West Bengal is turning waste into piles of wealth". Hindustan Times. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  30. "/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=145110". Press Information Bureau. 9 May 2016.
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