We are living on this planet as if we have another one to move to. With every passing day, technological advancements are occurring for our comfort yet causing discomfort to mother nature and earth. If this exploitation is not stopped, it’s not far when humans will cause their own destruction. The time has come when we need to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and work in saving this planet.
Due to an increase in population, the generation of waste is getting doubled day by day and waste management is indeed essential in today’s society. For instance, people living in the slum area are very close to the waste disposal area. Therefore they are prone to various diseases. Hence, putting their lives in danger. For maintaining a healthy life, proper hygiene is necessary which is only possible with proper waste management.
Waste segregation at the source is pivotal in solid waste management.
According to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, it’s the responsibility of waste generators to segregate waste into three categories — wet, dry and hazardous waste — and dispose of the waste to authorized dustbins and collectors. The SWM Rules 2016, define segregation as sorting and separation of storages of various components of wastes like biodegradable wastes, non-biodegradable waste including recyclable and non-recyclable wastes, domestic hazardous wastes like mosquito repellents and cleaning agents, construction and demolition wastes.
Household waste generators should segregate waste in two dustbins. A GREEN bin should be used for wet waste that is food wastes of all kinds cooked and uncooked (including eggshells and bones), vegetables and fruits peel, juices, wastes. Soiled paper such as toilet paper, paper towels should also be thrown in a green dustbin.
A BLUE bin should be used for dry waste. The contents of the Blue bin can be papers (Newspaper, notebooks, etc.), Cardboard & cartons, Containers & packaging of all kinds excluding those containing hazardous materials, plastic, woods, clothing, rags, etc.
After successful segregation of the wastes, it is important to implement the 3Rs into action that is we need to choose to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle for appropriate solid wastes.
REDUCE refers to lessen the amount of waste generation. Carrying our own lunch boxes, water, reusable bags while shopping is just the bare minimum we can do yet it can significantly reduce the wastes.
REUSE refers to reuse waste again by finding new ways. Due to the pandemic, many have lost their jobs so donating our old clothes, devices, books, and notebooks to the needy can help them to continue their education without any obstacles.
RECYCLE refers to convert waste into reusable material. Like plastic waste can be recycled and reprocessed into useful materials. Biodegradable wastes can be used in composting, cardboard and newspapers can be recycled.
In a developing country like India, it is necessary to implement a cost-effective yet ecologically sustainable Solid Waste Management system.
Implementation of law can be achieved if residents and the administration work in tandem, rapport among all is a must for better results.
The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and urban local bodies (ULBs) play a pivotal role in bringing about the change in the behavior of the public by organizing extensive multimedia campaigns, meetings with the stakeholders, including religious leaders in the campaign, collaborating with NGOs, youth organizations like NSS. Targeting youth and school children can bring change.
ULBs should involve all municipal staff, set examples by circulating pictures of prominent faces taking part in waste segregation. Municipal corporations should ensure the procurement of suitable equipment such as dustbins, segregated auto tippers, composting machines, etc. in cities. Dry resource collection centers (DRCCs) should be set up for segregating and recycling dry waste. Municipal corporations should support ‘kabadiwalas’ and rag pickers to set up Recyclable Waste Collection Centers (RWCs) and include them in the MSWM (Municipal Solid Waste Management) system. Rag pickers should be given incentives so that they carry out the tasks more effectively.
Recently Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has launched a project to focus on waste segregation at source in 20 wards in Kolkata. According to the KMC Solid Waste Management department, councilors of different wards are contending with each other to get their wards included in the initiative.
The Tamil Nadu and Odisha governments have issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) on solid waste management.
Mysuru and Panaji cities are great examples who are able to set up the Waste Management through waste segregation satisfactorily. The residents of Mysuru, have been trained by Mysuru Corporation to segregate wastes in different colored bins. In Panaji, garbage segregation into wet and dry fractions is strictly enforced.
The disposal of waste has become a challenge around the globe. The only way to reduce waste is to have a proper waste management system is for reuse and recycling at an individual level which can only be achieved by waste segregation at the source so that we can provide our future generations a cleaner environment and stronger economy.