A major share of waste generated in the world is Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) originating from urban centres. Waste pile-ups are not only eyesores but also cause disease and release greenhouse gas Methane. Burning solid waste emits CO2 and pollutes the air with aerosols and toxic chemicals. The problem is magnified when some of the waste (organic and inorganic) is dumped in rivers and water bodies.
The rural and tribal areas in India still produce hardly much waste. However, overall the magnitude and diversity of wastes have multiplied, with new materials such as plastics and e - waste discarded indiscriminately. The government has now launched Swacchh Bharat Mission to tackle the problem of littering and waste management.
The culture of repair/recycle and reuse is ingrained in Indian lifestyle. There exists a thriving informal recycling network, with a strong door to door collection system as well as forward linkages to the recycling industry. Newspapers, plastic, metals, woollens, cartons, batteries and electronic products are recycled extensively.
In their day to day life, Indian households try to minimise waste generation through material reuse. For instance, metal, plastic, and glassware used for food packaging are reused to store food grains and other groceries in the kitchen. Also, old clothes, furniture, books, toys, etc. are passed on within the family or to the needy. Even luxury items such as refrigerators and cars have a good second-hand market.
- Adopt the 4Rs of solid waste management: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover.
- Reduce waste generation: space for landfill could be saved
- Don’t put hazardous materials in the trash. Treat paints, pesticides, lawn chemicals, car batteries, waste oil and similar materials as hazardous, as their improper disposal can claim a life.
- Hazardous solid waste needs to be disposed of as per the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.
- Non-incinerable hazardous waste to be disposed of to Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDF).
- Reduce use of plastic bags.
- Always carry cloth or canvas bag for shopping and reuse it every time while shopping.
- Dispose of e-waste as prescribed.
- Dispose of old refrigerators and appliances containing ozone Depleting Substances responsibly. Refrigerants should be removed from an appliance before it is discarded.
- Old portable halon fire extinguishers that are no longer needed should be returned for recycling.
- Stop the use of paper cups and plates.
- Carry your mug for tea/coffee instead of paper cups from the canteen, or during road/ train travel.
- Avoid using aluminium can products; instead, shift to glass bottle products/recyclable packaging.
- Don’t litter.
- Pick up littered waste and dispose of in bins.
- Do not spit on roads, outside walls, stairs, side walks, building lobby area or elevators.
- Repair and reuse before discarding old furniture a nd electronic gadgets.
- Be a conscious citizen and buy products with environmentally-friendly packaging.
- Don’t buy more than you need. When it comes to lawn chemicals, pesticides, paints and other hazardous materials, buy a smaller package so that you won’t have leftovers.
- Use both sides of the paper.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Keep a garbage bag while travelling and dispose of the same when a bin is available.
- Operate community biogas plants.
- Start aluminium can collection campaigns : these can be sent for recycling instead of disposing of to landfill.
- Send paper for recycling instead of disposing of in the garbage.
- Organise community level auctions of old things; your waste could be useful for someone else.
- Nominate a Green Champ Committee at School, RWA or office level to monitor waste management.
- The packaging of products should be type and size based to reduce plastic waste.
- Develop databank of waste processing contractors (authorised collection centre) for different types of waste like paper, plastic, e-waste, battery waste.
- Segregate waste at source and practice bio-composting. The compost can be used in the kitchen and herbal gardens.
- Never use open fires to dispose of wastes.
- Have a proper waste disposal system, especially for toxic wastes.
- Start composting brown leaves in your yard and green scraps from your kitchen. It will reduce waste while improving your yard and garden soils.
- Always ensure reuse of paper, glass, and plastic.
- Encourage efficient involvement of RWAs of various localities in the collection and segregation of garbage from houses and societies.
- Citizens can take steps to convert garbage into compost in their localities.
- One of the best ways to control pollution is to manage waste of all types properly.
- Use one less paper napkin a day. More than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.
- Recycle newspaper, by collection and periodic disposal to a scrap dealer.
- Place sufficient number of refuse bins at parks, public places, etc.
- Remove refuse on a daily basis.
- Use cloth diapers for baby at home and save disposables for daycare or travel.
- Line wastebaskets with reused shopping bags.
- Make each vinyl curtain last as long as possible by treating it with mildew remover and using reinforcements on the holes.
- Carry your water bottle.
- Donate the possessions that you don’t need.
- Encourage use of Bio-digester.
- Recycle waste oil, lubricants, scrap metal, and tyres.
- Use a blue bin for recyclable waste and a green bin for organic waste.
- Use a compost bin for green waste.
- Maintain and Use your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
- Donate or recycle e-waste responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains non-biodegradable toxic materials and is a growing environmental problem.
- Stop waste burning and register complaints against the burning of garbage, plastic and dry leaves in the open, and against polluting vehicles, industries and construction sites causing dust pollution by using IT-based solutions like Apps developed for the purpose.
Source : Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change