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i. Composting
ii. Vermi Composting
iii. Waste to Energy
iv. Anaerobic Digestion and Biomethanation
v. Incineration
vi. Pyrolysis/Gasification, Plasma Pyrolysis Vitrification
8. Waste Management System in India

What are Wastes?

Waste (also known as rubbish, trash, refuse, garbage, junk, litter, and ort) is unwanted or
useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are
expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste; such as urea and sweat.
Basel Convention Definition of Wastes
“Substances or objects which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required
to be disposed of by the provisions of the law”
Disposal means
“any operation which may lead to resource recovery, recycling, reclamation, direct re-use or
alternative uses (Annex IVB of the Basel convention)”


Waste management (or waste disposal) are the activities and actions required to
manage waste from its inception to its final disposal.[1] This includes the collection, transport,
treatment and disposal of waste, together with monitoring and regulation of the waste
management process.
Waste can be solid, liquid, or gas and each type has different methods of disposal and
management. Waste management deals with all types of waste, including industrial,
biological and household. In some cases, waste can pose a threat to human health.[2] Waste is
produced by human activity, for example, the extraction and processing of raw
materials.[3] Waste management is intended to reduce adverse effects of waste on
human health, the environment or aesthetics.

Waste management practices are not uniform among countries (developed and developing
nations); regions (urban and rural areas), and residential and industrial sectors can all take
different approaches.[4]

A large portion of waste management practices deal with municipal solid waste (MSW)
which is the bulk of the waste that is created by household, industrial, and commercial
Solid wastes
Wastes in solid forms, domestic, commercial and industrial wastes
Examples: plastics, Styrofoam containers, bottles, cans, papers, scrap iron, and other
Liquid Wastes
Wastes in liquid form
Examples: domestic washings, chemicals, oils, waste water from ponds,
Manufacturing industries and other sources

Classification of Wastes according to their Properties

Can be degraded (paper, wood, fruits and others)
Cannot be degraded (plastics, bottles, old machines, cans, Styrofoam containers and

Classification of wastes according to their origin and type

Municipal Solid wastes: Solid wastes that include household garbage, rubbish, construction
& demolition debris, sanitation residues, packaging materials, trade refuges etc. are managed
by any municipality.
Bio-medical wastes: Solid or liquid wastes including containers, intermediate or end
products generated during diagnosis, treatment & research activities of medical sciences.
Industrial wastes: Liquid and solid wastes that are generated by manufacturing & processing
units of various industries like chemical, petroleum, coal, metal gas, sanitary & paper etc.
Agricultural wastes: Wastes generated from farming activities. These substances are mostly
Fishery wastes: Wastes generated due to fishery activities. These are extensively found in
coastal & estuarine areas.
Radioactive wastes: Waste containing radioactive materials. Usually these are byproducts of
nuclear processes. Sometimes industries that are not directly involved in nuclear activities,
may also produce some radioactive wastes, e.g. radio-isotopes, chemical sludge etc.
E-wastes: Electronic wastes generated from any modern establishments. They may be
described as discarded electrical or electronic devices. Some electronic scrap components,
such as CRTs, may contain contaminants such as Pb, Cd, Be or brominated flame retardants.

Sources of Wastes
Impacts Of Waste If Not Managed Wisely
 Affects our health
 Affects our socio-economic conditions
 Affects our coastal and marine environment
 Affects our climate
 GHGs are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing
global mean surface air temperature and subsurface ocean temperature to rise.
 Rising global temperatures are expected to raise sea levels and change precipitation
and other local climate conditions.
 Changing regional climates could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies.
 This could also affect human health, animals, and many types of ecosystems.
 Deserts might expand into existing rangelands, and features of some of our national
parks might be permanently altered.

Disposal vs. Management

There are common practices to dispose waste from ordinary people. But disposal of
waste is becoming a serious and vexing problem for any human habitation all over the world.
Disposing solid waste out of sight does not solve the problem but indirectly increases the
same manifold and at a certain point it goes beyond the control of everybody. The
consequences of this practice such as health hazards, pollution of soil, water, air & food,
unpleasant surroundings, loss of precious resources that could be obtained from the solid
waste, etc. are well known. That’s why it is essential to focus on proper management of waste
all over the world. Waste management has become a subject of concern globally and
nationally. The More advanced the human settlements, the more complex the waste
management. There is a continuous search for sound solutions for this problem but it is
increasingly realized that solutions based on technological advances without human
intervention cannot sustain for long and it in turn results in complicating the matters further.
Management of solid waste which generally involves proper segregation and scientific
recycling of all the components is in fact the ideal way of dealing with solid waste. Solid
waste management (SWM) is a commonly used name and defined as the application of
techniques to ensure an orderly execution of the various functions of collection, transport,
processing, treatment and disposal of solid waste (Robinson, 1986). It has developed from its
early beginnings of mere dumping to a sophisticated range of options including re-use,
recycling, incineration with energy recovery, advanced landfill design and engineering and a
range of alternative technologies. It aims at an overall waste management system which is the
best environmentally, economically sustainable for a particular region and socially acceptable
(World Resource Foundation, 1996; McDougall et al., 2001). This not only avoids the above
referred consequences but it gives economic or monetary returns in some or the other forms.

 Composting is the decomposition of organic matter by microorganism in warm,
moist, aerobic and anaerobic environment.
 Composting of MSW is the most simple and cost effective technology for treating the
organic fraction of MSW.
 Main advantages of composting include improvement in soil texture and augmenting
of micronutrient deficiencies. It also increases moisture-holding capacity of the soil
and helps in maintaining soil health.
 It is simple and straightforward to adopt, for source separated MSW. It does not
require large capital investment, compared to other waste treatment options. The
technology is scale neutral.
 Composting is suitable for organic biodegradable fraction of MSW, yard (or garden)
waste/waste containing high proportion of lignocelluloses materials, which do not
readily degrade under anaerobic conditions, waste from slaughterhouse and dairy
 This method, however, is not very suitable for wastes that may be too wet and during
heavy rains open compost plants have to be stopped. Land required for open compost
plants is relatively large. Also, issues of methane emission, odor, and flies from badly
managed open compost plants remain.
 At the operational level, if waste segregation at source is not properly carried out
there is possibility of toxic material entering the stream of MSW.
Vermi Composting
 Vermi-compost is the natural organic manure produced from the excreta of
earthworms fed on scientifically semi-decomposed organic waste.
 Normally, vermi-composting is preferred to microbial composting in small towns as it
requires less mechanization and it is easy to operate. It is, however, to be ensured that
toxic material does not enter the chain which if present could kill the earthworms.
Waste to Energy
 Even though the technology of waste to energy (WTE) projects has been proven
worldwide, its viability and sustainability is yet to be to be demonstrated and
established in the country.
 The main factors that determine the techno-economic viability of WTE projects are
quantum of investment, scale of operation, availability of quality waste, statutory
requirements and project risks.
Anaerobic Digestion and Biomethanation
 Biomethanation is a comparatively well-established technology for disinfections,
deodorization and stabilization of sewage sludge, farmyard manures, animal slurries,
and industrial sludge.
 It leads to bio-gas/power generation in addition to production of compost (residual
sludge). This method provides a value addition to the aerobic (composting) process
and also offers certain other clear advantages over composting in terms of energy
production/consumption, compost quality and net environmental gains.
 This method is suitable for kitchen wastes and, other putrescible wastes, which may
be too wet and lacking in structure for aerobic composting.
 This plant is free from bad odor, rodent and fly menace, visible pollution, and social
resistance. It has potential for co-disposal with other organic waste streams from agro-
based industry. The plant can be scaled up depending on the availability of the waste.
 This method is suitable for only the organic biodegradable fraction of MSW; it does
not degrade any complex organics or oils, grease, or ligno-cellulosic materials such as
yard waste.
 This method, commonly used in developed countries is most suitable for high
calorific value waste with a large component of paper, plastic, packaging material,
pathological wastes, etc.
 It can reduce waste volumes by over 90 per cent and convert waste to innocuous
material, with energy recovery. The method is relatively hygienic, noiseless, and
odorless, and land requirements are minimal. The plant can be located within city
limits, reducing the cost of waste transportation.
 This method, however, is least suitable for disposal of chlorinated waste and
aqueous/high moisture content/low calorific value waste as supplementary fuel may
be needed to sustain combustion, adversely affecting net energy recovery.
 The plant requires large capital and entails substantial operation and maintenance
costs. Skilled personnel are required for plant operation and maintenance.
 Emission of particulates, SOx, NOx, chlorinated compounds in air and toxic metals in
particulates concentrated in the ash have raised concerns.
Pyrolysis/Gasification, Plasma Pyrolysis Vitrification
(PPV)/Plasma Arc Process
 Pyrolysis gasification processes are established for homogenous organic matter like
wood, pulp, etc., while plasma pyrolysis vitrification is a relatively new technology
for disposal of particularly hazardous wastes, radioactive wastes, etc.
 Toxic materials get encapsulated in vitreous mass, which is relatively much safer to
handle than incinerator/gasifier ash. These are now being offered as an attractive
option for disposal of MSW also.
 In all these processes, besides net energy recovery, proper destruction of the waste is
also ensured. These processes, therefore, have an edge over incineration.
 This process produces fuel gas/fuel oil, which replace fossil fuels and compared to
incineration, atmospheric pollution can be controlled at the plant level. NO and SO
gas emissions do not occur in normal operations due to the lack of oxygen in the
Sanitary Landfills and Landfill Gas Recovery
 Sanitary landfills are the ultimate means of disposal of all types of residual,
residential, commercial and institutional waste as well as unutilized municipal solid
waste from waste processing facilities and other types of inorganic waste and inerts
that cannot be reused or recycled in the foreseeable future.
 Its main advantage is that it is the least cost option for waste disposal and has the
potential for the recovery of landfill gas as a source of energy, with net environmental
gains if organic wastes are landfilled. The gas after necessary cleaning, can be utilized
for power generation or as domestic fuel for direct thermal applications1.
 Highly skilled personnel are not required to operate a sanitary landfill.
 Major limitation of this method is the costly transportation of MSW to far away
landfill sites.
 Down gradient surface water can be polluted by surface run-off in the absence of
proper drainage systems and groundwater aquifers may get contaminated by polluted
leacheate in the absence of a proper leacheate collection and treatment system.
 An inefficient gas recovery process emits two major green house gases, carbon
dioxide and methane, into the atmosphere. It requires large land area. At times the
cost of pre-treatment to upgrade the gas quality and leacheate treatment may be
 There is a risk of spontaneous ignition/explosion due to possible build up of methane
concentrations in air within the landfill or surrounding enclosures if proper gas
ventilation is not constructed.


 Reuse corrugated moving boxes internally.
 Reuse office furniture and supplies, such as interoffice envelopes, file folders, and
 Use durable towels, tablecloths, napkins, dishes, cups, and glasses.
 Use incoming packaging materials for outgoing shipments.
 Encourage employees to reuse office materials rather than purchase new ones.
 old books
 old clothes
 old computers
 excess building materials
 old equipment to local organizations

Employee Education
 Develop an “office recycling procedures” packet.
 Send out recycling reminders to all employees including environmental articles.
 Train employees on recycling practices prior to implementing recycling programs.
 Conduct an ongoing training process as new technologies are introduced and new
employees join the institution.
 education campaign on waste management that includes an extensive internal web
site, quarterly newsletters, daily bulletins, promotional signs and helpful reference
labels within the campus of an institution.
Waste Management System in India
Waste management market comprises of four segments – Municipal Waste, Industrial Waste,
Bio- Medical Waste and Electronic Waste Market. All these four types of waste are governed
by different laws and policies as is the nature of the waste. In India waste management
practice depend upon actual waste generation, primary storage, primary collection, secondary
collection and transportation, recycling activity, Treatment and disposal. In India,
municipality corporations play very important role in waste management in each city along
with public health department. Municipal Corporation is responsible for the management of
the MSW generated in the city, among its other duties. The public health department is
responsible for sanitation, street cleansing, epidemic control and food adulteration. There is a
clear and strong hierarchy of posts in the Municipal Corporation. The highest authority of
Municipal Corporation rests with the Mayor, who is elected to the post for tenure of five
years. Under the Mayor, there is a City Commissioner. Under the city commissioner, there is
Executive Officer who supervises various departments such as public health, water works,
public works, house tax, lights, projection tax, demand and a workshop, which, in turn, all are
headed by their own department heads. The staffs in the Public health department are as
follows: Health officer, Chief sanitary and food inspector, Sanitary and food inspectors,
Sanitary supervisor, Sweepers, etc. The entire operation of solid waste management (SWM)
system is performed under four headings, namely, street cleansing, collection, transportation
and disposal. The cleansing and collection operations are conducted by the public health
department of city Municipality Corporation, while transportation and disposal of waste are
carried out by the transportation department of city Municipality Corporation.
It is suffice to say that we require a more stringent integrated and strategic waste prevention
framework to effectively address wastage related issues. There is an urgent need to build
upon existing systems instead of attempting to replace them blindly with models from
developed countries. To prevent any epidemic and to make each city a healthy city-
economically and environmentally, there is an urgent need for a well-defined strategic waste
management plan and a strong implementation of the same in India. To achieve financial
sustainability, socio-economic and environmental goals in the field of waste management,
there is a need to systematically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the community as
well as the municipal corporation, based on which an effective waste management system can
be evolved with the participation of various stakeholders in India. The public apathy can be
altered by awareness building campaigns and educational measures. Sensitization of the
community is also essential to achieve the above objectives and we need to act and act fast as
every city in India is already a hotbed of many contagious diseases, most of which are caused
by ineffective waste management.
1. Keep ourself informed: It is important that we are in the know about what is happening on
the environment front. Read about how untreated sewage is thrown into the rivers, attend
public lectures about air pollution, & keep in touch with new policies that affect our
environment. The more informed we are, the better equipped we are to fight such issues.
2. Consume less: Motto: Refuse…..Reduce….Reuse… Recycle .This means consuming
fewer resources, reusing whatever we can and finally recycling what cannot be reused. This
process greatly reduces the garbage.
3. Say ‘No’ to plastic bags: One of the biggest sources of pollution in Indian cities is the
ubiquitous plastic bag. Refuse to accept one. Instead, carry a cloth shopping bag with us.
4. Separate our garbage: India has one of the world’s most efficient recycling mechanisms.
Use the service of our raddiwalla. Newspapers, bottle cans and other such recyclables can
fetch us money and in the process we can help to save the environment. Rag pickers, too,
perform a vital function for the city. Kitchen garbage (biodegradable) should be separated
from nonbiodegradable waste.
6. Stop burning garbage: Ask our neighbors to desist from burning solid wastes. It may seem
harmless but smoke emitted from leaves contributes to air pollution. Also, when there are
plastic in the heap, it emits dangerous toxic fumes. Leaves can be converted to fertilizer
through composting & plastic can be recycled.
In Delhi, SWM is the responsibility of three municipal bodies - the Municipal Corporation of
Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi Cantonment Board
(DCB). MCD alone manage almost 95 % of the total area of the city. The above authorities
are supported by a number of other agencies. Citing and allotment of land to MCD for
sanitary land filling is responsibility of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Solid waste
utilization projects are responsibility of the Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources
(DNES) and Delhi Energy Development Agency (DEDA) under the Ministry of Environment
and Forests (MoEF), Government of India. The Department of Flood Control of Delhi
Administration looks after the supply of soil to be used as cover for sanitary landfills by the
Delhi is divided into 12 Zones by MCD
1. City Zone

2. Central Zone

3. South Zone

4. Karol Bagh Zone

5. Sadar pahar Ganj

6. West Zone

7. Civil Lines Zone

8. Shahdra South Zone

9. Shadra North Zone

10. Narela Zone

11. Najafgarh Zone

12. Rohini Zone

We further categorise them into 4 parts. The division is mentioned below.
1. Part 1 – Karol Bagh , West , Najafgarh

2. Part 2 – City , Central , South

3. Part 3 – Shahdra North , Shadra South , Sadar Phar Ganj

4. Part 4 - Rohini , Narela , Civil Line

In each part we choose one colony in each category from A to H. According to MCD,
category A has the highest property value as compared to any other category and as we go
down, the value of property also goes down implying that the residents of category H have
the lowest property value.)
Sampling of the households
In each part we choose one colony pertaining to each category. The colonies are chosen with
the help of random number generator. In this way we choose 8 × 2 + 7 × 2 = 30 colonies. The
household sample size for each colony is 3. Therefore the total household sample size of the
study is 30 × 3 = 90. The 3 colonies in part A were found to be industrial areas and not
residential, hence survey was not held there. This reduced the total sample size to 81, but the
numbers of respondents were 72. Hence the total sample size is 72. Further, in each colony a
random house is visited and then every 10th household is visited in order to collect data from
three households in each colony. If we did not get a response from a particular household, it
is skipped and the 10th household is visited. The details of the colonies visited are mentioned
Sampling of Dhalao workers and segregators/waste collectors
In the respective colonies the Dhalao workers and waste collectors/segregators were
interviewed who were found at the Dhalo/open dumping site nearest to the colony. No
sampling method is used here; the workers are identified at the site only. The total sample
size is 27 each for the dhalao workers and the segregators/ waste collectors.
The basic source of data for the study and tool for analysis is the survey done in the areas
mentioned. For the information on the collection process we conduct a household survey on a
sample of households in category A to H. This would help us to know that how and where
they dispose the wastes of their house. We then compare the results across categories and see
if there exists a significant difference between them. This is done by clubbing categories
A&B, C, D&E and F, G&H together. The significance of the results is testes for the
categories C, D&E and F, G&H and not for A&B because of the limitation of small sample
The study on the disposal and the collection process is done at three levels, that is; household,
Dhalao worker and segregator’s/waste collector’s. We find the alternatives available and
practiced by the households for the disposal of waste. The primary data is collected with the
help of survey in households. This leads to the process of collection of waste from the
households. Collection is followed by transportation, storage and segregation. In the next
stage we look at the segregation process. This is motivated by the increasing importance of
the segregation of waste. The most efficient system would be such that emphasizes on the
segregation at source, but this does not hold in reality. We look at the various stages at which
the waste is segregated; that is; is this is practised by the households, kudawala, dhalao
worker, waste collector or segregators. This also explains the various stages of waste before it
reaches its end destination, the landfill site. Qualitative nature of questions was asked from
the agents in the process of segregation of the waste to get a deeper understanding of the
existing problem in the process. We emphasize on the process of collection and segregation
because there is a significant difference between the residential areas and the slum areas. The
level of segregation in each stage depends on the incentives. The results of these surveys also
informs about the role of the authorities as well.
Mismanagement of Solid Waste has severe effects on health. These effects are seen most
amongst the waste workers. But the study focuses on the health impact on the households and
especially on the children under 5. As we move down the category, the management worsen
along with the health indicators of the residents. Simple question on occurrence of fever, cough
and cold is asked. There is also a focus on the qualitative aspect of the issue of health regarding
the availability of free facilities by the government, the proportion of expenditure on health and
the perceptions of the households on the diseases cause by the solid waste.

1. https://www.omicsonline.org/conferences-list/waste-disposal-practices
2. https://www.norcalcompactors.net/6-waste-disposal-methods/
3. https://www.omicsonline.org/conferences-list/waste-disposal-practices
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_management
5. https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/waste-management-and-waste-disposal-
6. https://www.journals.elsevier.com/waste-management
7. Handbook of Solid Waste Management (McGraw-Hill Handbooks)
8. https://data.gov.in/keywords/solid-waste-management
9. http://indiawastemanagementportal.org/