Taking Charge of the Waste We Produce
the month of April every year, Earth Day is celebrated across the globe.
I would like to take this opportunity to talk about how we can,
individually and collectively, reduce our increasing piles of waste at
the dumping grounds which result in unbearable smell, fire and smoke,
making people living near these waste dumps sick. Across India, 43
million tonnes of solid waste is collected annually. Out of this, a mere
22% is treated and the rest 72% is dumped at landfill sites. This
dumping of waste is causing serious health problems seen in the form of
breathing issues, bacterial infections and increase in cardiovascular
risks. Diseases such as dengue and cholera have also been on the rise, as
insects and rodents are attracted to the waste piles. Greenhouse gases
such as methane are produced when organic waste at landfill sites
decomposes. When these piles of waste catch fire, plastic is burnt,
releasing cancer causing dioxins in the air. Inefficient waste
management is a grave issue that needs to be addressed in India on war
In today's world, over production, over consumption, lack of
proper recycling policies, increasing practice of use and throw in our
society, along with less ecofriendly products being used, and people
buying more one-time non-biodegradable plastic and Styrofoam products
for convenience, are few, but big, concerns which should force us to think
about the impact of our actions on the earth and our future generations.
Every second, the population is growing in the world, and we all are adding
significant waste to the planet over our lifetimes.
Traditionally in India, we have always
practiced the concept of reuse and recycle, but over the last few
decades, this lovely eco-habit seems to have reduced. The good news is
that after the release of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, more
focus is being given on building awareness on solid waste management and
direct involvement of communities in waste management. Many residential
communities across different Indian cities have started segregating
their waste at source, and composting their kitchen and horticulture
waste in community level composting plants within their premises. Decentralised waste management is really the need of the hour. It will
help solve a majority of our waste woes.
The Development Alternatives Group has adopted
the 4A's approach - Assessment, Awareness, Action and Advocacy - to
awareness on waste management. We believe that an individual usually
moves through these above four stages before converting a belief into
This issue of the Development Alternatives
Newsletter focuses on the problems and solutions related to waste
management. Can we pledge to take a few small actions that will go a
long way in solving the waste mess we see all around us?
I will reduce the waste I produce in a day
by 10%, in a week by 20%, in a month by 30%, and in a year by 50%.
I will refuse one-time use of plastic and
Styrofoam products, such as mineral water bottles, plastic and
polypropylene (non-woven) shopping bags, straws, glasses and other
I will buy at least one recycled product
every three months.
I will start segregating household waste, recycling dry waste and composting kitchen waste at the
or community level.
I will stop throwing my hazardous electronic
waste such as batteries, bulbs, wires, chargers, mobile phones, etc in
the dustbin, and organise e-waste collection drives in my community and
work place, to give e-waste only to authorised e-waste recyclers who
do the job in an environment friendly manner.
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