GS Mains Model Question & Answer: India need a Solid waste
management plans to be implemented alongside maintenance of drainage and
sewerage networks. Discuss
Q. India need a Solid waste management
plans to be implemented alongside maintenance of drainage and sewerage networks.
Discuss (12.5 Marks)
(General Studies Mains Paper III – Science and Technology : Conservation,
environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.)
Model Answer :
In India, solid waste management needs to be planned and
implemented alongside well-maintained drainage and sewerage networks and with
the active participation of the communities. In the case of India, sustainable
solid waste management in 2011 would have provided
- 9.6 million tons of compost that could have resulted in a better
- energy equivalent to 58 million barrels of oil from non-recyclable
- 6.7 million tons of secondary raw materials to industries in the form of
recyclable materials and livelihood to the urban poor
The solid waste management component of the Smart Cities
Mission should be viewed as a bonus. Many people understand that we need more
toilets, including community toilets, to ensure that there is no open
defecation. But there is not an adequate realisation that we need connectivity
to sewerage networks and sewage treatment and/or decentralised septage
management to ensure proper sanitary conditions for Clean India. Swacch Bharat
and AMRUT together must address this challenge. Swachh Bharat addresses one half
of the problem — solid waste management, freedom from open defecation, and
street cleaning. The other half — drainage and sewerage networks and waste water
treatment — comes under AMRUT.
Solid waste management and Health
Many people understand the connection between solid waste
management and health in terms of the consequences of unattended heaps of dry
garbage which become a home for flies and other vermin. However, there is
another aspect that is not well understood, that is, what happens when
unscientific solid waste management combines with poor drainage and dumping of
untreated sewage into drains which are meant to carry storm water during rains.
The result is choked drains which are full of stagnant water breeding
mosquitoes, resulting in the spread of water-borne diseases like malaria,
dengue, chikungunya, etc.
A special challenge is posed by plastic waste which has been
increasing very rapidly in Indian cities. When plastic is present in exposed
garbage dumps, rains create little pools of stagnant water which get caught in
the plastic waste, which breeds mosquitoes and spreads disease. The problem is
compounded when garbage and/or street sweepings including plastic are swept into
municipal storm water drains, again choking the drainage system. It is therefore
not enough to sweep the streets clean with brooms but also ensure that the waste
is not dumped into the drains.
Residential Welfare Associations and Municipalties
Resident welfare associations have a major role to play in
creating awareness of the damaging impact of our approach to domestic waste.
They can help in changing mindsets of residents towards segregating garbage at
the household level, discouraging throwing of plastic waste on the streets and
reporting cases of monsoon drains clogged with garbage. The municipal
authorities should supply to each resident welfare association a list of dos and
don’ts which the association could disseminate among its members.
New SWM Rules, 2016
The SWM Rules, 2016 diminish hopes in pushing for adoption of
a decentralised mechanism for solid waste management. However, it would be
challenging to see how segregation at source shall work on the ground. A massive
awareness campaign in association with communities, NGOs, students and other
stakeholders needs to be planned to push for better implementation of these
rules. The Rules need to focus on making solid waste management a people's
movement by taking the issues, concerns and management of solid waste to
citizens and grass-roots.