Urbanization | VOL. 12, ISSUE 73, July-August 2012

Risks and Challenges of Sustainable Waste Management

The last century has witnessed extraordinary scientific achievements, expansion and proliferation of industries and factories, improvement in hygiene and medicine, population growth accompanied with conspicuous consumption and concentrated human habitation in metropolis and mega cities. It is simply no longer possible to avoid solid, liquid or gaseous waste - disposing of which is increasingly burdensome. Government authorities have acknowledged the importance of management of municipal solid as well as domestic liquid waste such as sewage and sullage etc. The UN initiated Stockholm Human Environment Conference in 1972 saw the change in policies from environmental indifference to environmental concern and led into a comprehensive environmental legislation. Indian Government has also created several organisations to help abate and manage pollution and has enacted legislations including Environment (Protection) Act 1986 which includes Domestic Sewage Discharge Standards, Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000, Biomedical Waste Rules 1998 and amendments, Hazardous Waste Rules 1989 and amendments, Plastic Waste Rules 2011, Electronic Waste Rules 2011 etc. The problem of sanitation with the advent of non-biodegradable plastic containers and polythene wrappers has now turned even more serious. With a highly dense population coupled with a tropical climate - the problem of solid waste disposal is aggravated as the municipal waste disposal commonly practised in Asia is through open dumping. The level of leachability from the dumped waste increases with high precipitation. Municipal solid...

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