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| Last Updated:: 22/02/2022

Waste Management

Waste Management

Waste Management:The term ‘waste’ refers to all kinds of waste,whether generated during extraction of raw materials, processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, consumption of final products, or other human activities, including municipal (residential, institutional, commercial), agricultural, and social (health care, household, hazardous waste, sewage sludge). Waste management and actions such as collection, transport,treatment and disposal of waste from its inception to its final disposal. Waste management also relating to waste management together with monitoring and regulation. Waste management is intended to reduce adverse effects of waste on health, environment or aesthetics.

Muncipal Solid Waste: Management of municipal solid waste is one of the basic functions of the Municipalities. However, for effective waste management, the generators of waste have a responsible role to play and it is necessary to drive home this concept to all the stakeholders. The heritage city of Mysuru bagged the prestigious ‘Cleanest City’ in India award for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016) before it moved to fifth spot in 2017. This achievement has been possible due to proactive efforts of the Mysuru Mahanagara Palike (Mysuru City Corporation) with unstinted support from the citizens of Mysuru. The Swachh Survekshan 2017 (Cleanliness survey) listed 27 urban local bodies of Karnataka in the list - Mysuru-5, Mangaluru-63, Udupi-143, Shivamogga-147, Mandya-148, Tumkuru-152, Gadag Betagiri-167, Hubbali- Dharwad-199, Bagalkot-203, Bengaluru-210, Bhadravati-217, Ranebennur-220, Chikmagalur- 225, Hasan-227, Belagavi-248, Bellary-283, Davanagere-288, Kalaburagi-294, Vijayapura- 312, Bidar-315, Hospet-317, Raichur-328, Chitradurga-337, Robertsonpet-347, Kolar-373, Gangavati-381, Badami-388. The above rating by the Ministry of Urban Development, GOI, included 423 cities which cover 72 per cent of the urban population of the country.

Bio-Medical Waste:   Bio-medical waste also known as infectious healthcare is bio-hazardous with a potential to spread infection. An estimate of 75 - 90% of the medical waste is classified as non-risk or general healthcare waste. However, the risk lies in the infectious components mixed with it. The disposal of wastes originating from healthcare establishments is likely to have adverse impact on both human health and the environment. However, experiences have shown that when this waste is managed properly the risk to both human beings and environment is reduced to a very large extent.

  • Improper management and disposal of medical waste may result in the following ill effects:
  • Organic portions decay, ferment and result in fly and other pests breeding and spread of diseases;
  • Injuries from sharps can spread infections, diseases to health care personnel and waste handlers;
  • Increased risk of infections to the medical, nursing and other hospital staff;
  • Poor infection control can lead to nosocomial infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C amongst the patients and medical staff;
  • Increased risk of diseases due to untreated hazardous chemicals and drugs being handled by waste handlers;
  • Encouragement of recycling of disposables and disposed drugs by repacking and reselling;
  • Development of resistant strains of microorganisms.  

According to Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules (1998) a town with a population less than 5 lakh should have deep burial pit to dispose bio-medical waste and there are standard guidelines for constructing such facilities while the audit report reveals that none of the deep burial facilities is according to these guidelines and in few districts even non-infectious waste is being dumped in to the deep burial pit rendering it non-digestible. In case, if these wastes are dumped unscientifically in the backyard it would be highly hazardous to both human health and environment.

Electronic Waste: Electronic waste or e-waste are the electrical and electronic equipment intended to be discarded, whole or in part as well as scrap or rejects from manufacturing and repair. There has been an explosive growth driven by the unparalleled spread and penetration of microprocessor based computers, control, communication and entertainment products paired with rapid development and consequently high obsolescence rates. It is nearly impossible to make dependable estimates for e-waste in Karnataka. Official data is not available and there is neither a mechanism for systematic collection of e-waste nor a reliable process assessing its volume. According to a conservative assessment of WHO Bangalore alone is estimated to generate about 125 tons of e-waste annually which is projected to rise to 147 t/a in 2020. However, this takes into account only a very limited number of devices while many more need to be considered as e-waste in accordance with legislation. The 2007 study “e-Waste Assessment in India” estimates that 333,000 tons of e-waste is generated in India. Karnataka’s contribution to that is in the order of 17,000 t/a, assuming that the state’s share in India’s population of about 5% provides a reasonable proxy for waste generation. This number is still optimistic given the concentration of IT and ITES (IT enabled services) in the state.

Slaughterhouse Waste: Slaughterhouse waste is defined as the animal body parts cut off in the preparation of carcasses for use as food. This waste can come from several sources, including slaughterhouses, restaurants, stores and farms. Waste generated in slaughterhouses comprises of both liquid and solid fractions and consist of non-edible organs, stomach contents, dung, bones and sludge from waste water treatment. The effluents are characterised by high content of organic matter, suspended solids and has high value of BOD. The principal deleterious effect of these wastes on streams and watercourses is their de-oxygenation effect. The Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter & Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 prohibits slaughter of cow and female buffalo calves. Official data on the amount of slaughterhouse waste generated does not exist. Though the management of waste from slaughterhouses by law is treated akin to municipal waste, it is important to note that its nature and the possibility of infections require treatment more similar to bio-medical waste. Karnataka has 96 registered slaughterhouses, most of them are old and dilapidated and do not have basic facilities like sanitation, effluent treatment, electricity, water and ventilation. Earlier, Government of Karnataka and Government of India established a joint venture in 1974: Karnataka Meat and Poultry Marketing Company (KaMPCo) especially for the purpose of setting up modern slaughterhouses across Karnataka. Many projects were taken up by KaMPCo but owing to either social resentment or environmental concerns none of the projects is operational now. The Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA), Urban Development Department (UDD) intends to set up or develop modern abattoirs in 51 urban local bodies comprising seven municipal corporations and 44 city municipal councils.

Plastic Waste: Plastic waste, though treated along with municipal solid waste, is of special concern. Plastic bags are in extensive use in retail establishments. Their disposal, aided by wind and weather often leads them to litter the environment and to enter drains and water bodies. The magnitude of their presence in open spaces and drains is leading to situations where they choke and clog storm water drains, preventing them from functioning as designed. The consequence of this causal chain is visible in the water logging after downpours in dense urban areas. The problem is compounded by the dexterity of fine plastic materials and the fact that decomposition is very slow when the material is not exposed to ultraviolet light. The much-touted prohibition on the use of plastics has been undertaken with the bold initiative taken by State government of Karnataka and issued a gazette notification on 11th March, 2016. Karnataka is thus in the forefront in ensuring a total ban on plastics. Although it took nearly a decade for successive governments to evolve a fool-proof blueprint and beat the pressure exerted by the plastic lobby. The government notification makes specific mention that plastic, no matter its thickness, is banned across the State. “No shopkeeper, vendor, wholesale dealer, trader, hawker retailer, or salesman shall use plastic carry bags, plastic banners, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic spoons, plastic buntings, flex, plastic flags cling film and plastic sheets for spreading on dining table, irrespective of thickness including the above items made of thermacol and plastic, which use plastic micro beads”. The only exemption granted is for the export units, milk and milk products packaging and plant nurseries. This is expected to bring about a whole lot of change in the life of the common people to save the environment from plastic contamination. In this direction, use of plastic carry bags of less than 50 microns thickness is banned to fight against this “Plastic Devil”. Moreover, the plastic ban in Karnataka is a step forward in the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan initiative, and it calls for a people’s movement to ensure plastic-free environment. The State government has empowered a range of officials from municipalities and several other departments to enforce the plastic ban, and it is imperative on them to exhibit their commitment.

Hazardous waste: Indian law defines hazardous waste as any substance, which has the ability to cause risks for human health or the environment via their physical, chemical, reactive, toxic, flammable, explosive or corrosive properties. This already broad scope is further expanded by a clause that specifies that substances must also be considered hazardous when it meets any of the above criteria when in contact with other waste or substances. Karnataka’s Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) for land fillable hazardous waste are in operation.

Construction and Demolition waste: Rise in economy in India has also ushered in boom in the construction industry. It has been growing at an annual rate of around 10 percent over the last 10 years as against the world average of 5.5 per cent per annum. Almost 70 percent of the building stock in India is yet to come up. The built-up area is expected to swell almost five times from 21 billion sq ft in 2005 to approximately 104 billion sq ft by 2030 (CSE, 2014).Demand for housing/infrastructure and subsequent activities generate huge quantities of construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Six-fold increase in population within a span of a few decades has put huge demand on infrastructure and housing resulting in proportionate increase in waste. There are also huge demolition activities to replace older buildings with modern structures.Globally, cities generate about 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year. This volume is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. Building materials account for about half of all materials used and about half of the solid waste generated worldwide (CSE, 2014).Construction and demolition is usually carried out by contractors meant for the purpose. A portion of the waste is sold to dealers specialized in their trade. Many local entrepreneurs are active in reusing the waste. Considering the magnitude of the problem, Government of India notified Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Management Rules, 2016. As per the rules, duties of C&D waste generator are clearly defined. Further Central Pollution Control Board in2017 has published Guidelines on Environmental Management of Construction & Demolition (C&D) Wastes.

Source: State of Environment Report Karnataka