When we think about waste management, there is a tremendous opportunity for the nationwide execution of practical and scalable solutions to meet the challenges.
No segregation at source
Waste collection in housing societies takes place mostly through the local government or its empanelled vendors. In most cities, the lack of segregation at individual household levels presents several major challenges:
Government in unable to segregate and process 100% of the collected waste
Segregation is done under unsafe and hazardous conditions, posing health hazards and injuries to waste collectors
Mixed waste is dumped in landfills
Due to lack of infrastructure and poor enforcement of laws, waste piles up on the streets, in vacant sites and drains
Inadequate and Inappropriate segregation techniques
Even when residents have started to segregate waste at home, they don’t always follow the right procedure all the way to close the loop.
Wrong practices include:
Source segregation without source reduction
Residents simply segregate without minimizing the amount of waste generated.
Hazardous waste is not sealed and labeled
Waste passes through multiple hands before final disposal. If domestic hazardous waste (diapers, sanitary napkins, glass shards, chemicals, etc.) is not labeled it ends up causing illness and injuries to waste collectors.
Excessive use of garbage liners/bags
Dry and wet waste are separated in two garbage bags, doubling the volume of plastic waste.
Incorrect disposal of e-waste
Waste such as tube lights are carelessly disposed of, often mixed with other kinds of waste. Broken tube lights are a major source of mercury poisoning.
Slow adoption of in-house composting
Three major obstacles stand in the way of individual/community composting:
The misconception that composting is smelly and attracts maggots and flies
Lack of interest and low enthusiasm
Lack of monitoring in housing societies
This can be considered the most important factor that decides the success of your waste management practices. Societies are often found starting waste reduction, segregation and composting measures with enough involvement in the beginning but slowly lose interest and resort to old habits of mixing waste and producing more waste.
And it's not the end of the problems/challenges, there are many more...
But, will focus on Solutions, in our next blog.