- All state pollution control boards are scheduled to attend the meeting
- The states have been divided into categories based on their performance
- Disposal of solid waste to be principal agenda in the meeting
New Delhi: The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched in 2014 with dual aims of eradicating open defecation and ensure better management of India’s solid waste problem, by 2019. While significant success has been achieved with regard to the former, the latter continues to be a problem. India’s swathe of waste keeps posing challenges to urban municipal bodies and is becoming increasingly difficult for civic bodies to provide solutions for. Standing up to the challenge of managing 62 million tonnes of waste annually was never going to be easy and the continued state of waste in India despite the numerous civic bodies working shows how big a problem it is. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in order to take stock of waste management across the country, has called for a national level meeting on January 23.
The CPCB has expressed concern over lax implementation of waste management rules by the states and in the meeting will address steps taken by states to manage waste. The states invited for the meeting have been divided into three groups based on their performance in waste management. The states which have performed well, such as Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra will be placed in the good performers category while Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been placed in the category of average performers. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been categorised as poor performers and the meeting will especially stress on such states which have not performed well.
State pollution control boards and major municipal bodies have been invited to the meeting. Special emphasis will be given on poor performers and we will try and assess the problems faced by these states and if possible, come up with solutions for the same, said A. Sudhakar, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board.
It has been a mixed bag for India as far as waste management performance is concerned. It is undeniable that public consciousness on waste management has awakened, especially with the introduction of surveys like Swachh Survekshan and events like Rashtriya Swachhata Diwas. But fundamental problems in India’s waste scenario remain, especially related to segregation, disposal of waste and turning waste in to compost. Incidents like the Ghazipur landfill collapse in 2017 and subsequent fires showed how old infrastructures of waste management were gradually crumbling and becoming ineffective.
Some states have performed well in the last three to four years but many others haven’t. We have called for the meeting to see as to how far the important waste management rules applicable to states is being applied. These include Waste Management Rules 2016, and recommendations by the National Green Tribunal, such as no dumping of waste in Ganga and Yamuna, said Mr Sudhakar.
Scientific disposal of solid waste will be the key discussion point in the meeting, as CPCB says that many states are not following norms with regard to scientific disposal of solid waste. As per norms, only 5 per cent of solid waste should reach landfills but municipal bodies continue to dump over 50 per cent of THE waste collected daily in landfills, which have exhausted their capacity. In September last year, NGT had said that top officials of state pollution control boards and municipalities were liable for punishment if they did not comply with waste management rules.
We have stressed on waste segregation across our major cities to reduce dependency on landfills. Though a lot of waste continues to go to landfills, focusing on segregation and turning it into compost are two effective methods to reduce dependency on landfills. At the meeting we plan to discuss about segregation and its importance, said an official from Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board.
Given that the platform will see delegates from states, the CPCB plans to utilise it as a centre of discussion on important issues such as the status of landfills in India, burning of dry waste and impact of untreated waste on urban health.