South Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Fissures between Law and Policy: Reorienting Responsibilities in Urban Waste Management

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Juniper, New Building

Over 430 million urban people in India generate 71 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum. Out of this only, 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT treated and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites. Municipal solid waste has always been viewed as a ‘management’ issue to be handled by the local self-government, rather than the responsibility of an individual waste generator. This is evident in Indian waste legislation, which has inadvertently focussed only on the issues of collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of municipal solid waste while ignoring reduction and recycling as basic principles.


Municipal bodies across the board have opted for centralized solutions to cope with the scale of the waste problem, exacerbated by increasing populations and urbanization, with the predominant model being a ‘collect and dump’ system. This paper proposes a more functional, decentralized mode of managing solid waste, in legislation and practice, by diverting the focus from collection by local body towards in-situ management by generators, elimination of wet waste in the municipal stream, integration of the informal recycling sector and imposition of a strict extended producer responsibility regime, in a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable manner. The paper will explore the contradictions and inefficiencies of the current waste legislation as interpreted in practice by municipal local bodies and juxtapose it against an audacious proposal to turn a ‘smart city area’ truly zero-waste.

Harshad Barde

Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, India

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