New Delhi: The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Thursday (September 15) released a roadmap for legacy waste management in a bid to support India’s garbage-free cities agenda. The CSE’s seven-point roadmap includes developing a sustainable solid waste management plan, ensuring maximum utilisation of recovered fractions and reusing the reclaimed land sustainably on the basis of a comprehensive policy and protocol. The plan also includes developing standards for gainful use of recovered fractions, incentivising management of recovered materials, building capacity of urban departments and ensuring sustainable operation of sanitary landfills.
The term ‘legacy waste’ has received close attention in the wake of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 and it mandates that cities in India should clear legacy waste sites, reclaim the land and prevent more waste from reaching dumpsites. With 1,300 million tonnes of legacy waste lying in more than 3,000 dumpsites in the country, it is an onerous but doable task, CSE director general Sunita Narain said.
Speaking at an event organised by the CSE on Legacy Waste Management and Dumpsite Remediation, Joint Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry Roopa Mishra said the ministry has initiated a number of projects and schemes to encourage city administrations to make Indian cities garbage-free.
Every central government programme and policy is primed towards a singular aim – making Indian cities garbage-free. We have also initiated a number of projects and schemes to encourage the city administrations, Ms. Mishra said.
Atin Biswas, programme director of solid waste management unit at CSE, said,
Although the term ‘legacy waste’ has not been defined in any official government document in India, it typically refers to old municipal solid waste in landfills or dumpsites.
He said there is “no set standard” to define how old waste qualifies to be called legacy waste, which is usually a mix of partially or completely decomposed biodegradable waste, plastic waste, textiles, metals, glass and other components.
According to CSE estimates, the cost for dumpsite remediation in India will add up to Rs 1,04,000 crore.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has committed substantial financial devolution to support the cities to meet the cost of legacy dumpsite remediation. As much as Rs 1,41,600 crore has been committed in the Union budget to support the mandate under SBM 2.0, CSE’s Richa Singh said.
At the event, Mishra and Narain released three new CSE publications. Waste management practitioners, regulators, government functionaries, scientists, experts and industry representatives, among others, participated in the event.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.