How much waste does India generate?

India produces 62m tonnes of urban waste annually, out of which 5.6m tonnes consist of plastic waste, 0.17m constitute of biomedical waste, 7.90m tonnes constitute hazardous waste while 15 lakh ton is e-waste.

The total waste generation is estimated 165 million tonnes by 2030.

43m tonnes is the total amount of solid waste, out of which only 11.9m tonnes are treated while 31m tonnes are untreated and dumped at landfill sites.

Studies reveal that India discards around 0.6 m tonnes of plastic waste into oceans annually. It has been ranked as 12th in producing plastic waste and has been ranked as 10 th for generation of municipal solid waste. It is 5th in generating e-waste.

Waste generation across cities

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report, Maharashtra tops by generating 26,820 tonnes of solid waste per day.

Mumbai produces 9600 metric tonnes of waste every year and has only 3 dumping grounds. These landfills are past its use-by date and can collapse any time soon. Mumbai comes first in generating e-waste which is an estimated 1,20,000 tonnes annually.

After Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru comes 2 nd and 3 rd by producing 98,000 & 92,000 m tonnes respectively.

Delhi produces 9000 metric tonnes and has only 3 landfills, the major one being in
Ghazipur. This landfill has been outdated since 2002 but is still under function.

Read: 17 states in India have banned plastic carry bags

Untreated waste generation

India houses almost 3 million truck-loads of untreated waste. If these trucks are laid end-to- end, it will equal to half the distance from the earth to the moon, or rather 15 trips from Mumbai-Los Angeles, says an India Spend analysis.

Read: Research says India among top 5 countries using dirty wastewater for farming

Overflowing landfills

70% of urban solid waste is being dumped into landfills. These constitute of waste
that shouldn’t be thrown into trash. As a result, these landfills are overflowing and are outdated a long time back.

The grey future- Studies show that if India continues to dump untreated garbage at its current rate, then the landfill requirement to hold waste for at least the next 20 years will boost up to a size of 66,000 hectares which is almost 90% of Bengaluru’s area.

waste-to- energy conversion

There are 2200 waste-to- energy plants globally, out of which India has only 8. If India starts collecting and treating its waste effectively then it can be used to generate a lot of energy.

Read: Govt does away with green clearance for waste treatment activities

Improper waste management leads to pollution

Due to overflowing landfills, India becomes home to major toxins and greenhouse gases (gases which absorb infrared radiation from the atmosphere). Toxins generated can leach into the soil and underground water therefore becoming major hazards.

When organic waste gets covered, it can lead to the generation of methane which is a greenhouse gas, and which is far more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Read: World now has 8 billion tonne plastic, finds study

Implementation and awareness

The solid waste management rules of 2016 has made waste segregation for disposal mandatory for every waste generator, ranging from an individual to a company. Lack of awareness is also a major cause for concern. The Swach Bharat Abhiyan Campaign stresses the importance of composting, although lack of its knowledge makes it an unsuccessful campaign.

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