- The Science and Technology Ministry asks for submission of ideas by January
- Solid, biomedical, agricultural and e-waste are priorities for the Ministry
- The move is a part of Union government’s Waste to Wealth campaign
New Delhi: If numbers are anything to go by, the solid waste scenario in India is critical, with an annual generation of 62 million tonnes of solid waste across the country. Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental concerns in India at present, with 15,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste being generated daily, out of which only 9,000 metric tonnes is treated. The numbers are staggering, as waste management infrastructure in the country is still not advanced or scientific enough to take on the massive amount of waste generated. Citing the lack in technical advancement in waste treatment, the Union Ministry of Science and Technology has asked academic institutes and research and development (R&D) organisations to submit ideas by January 31 on how technology can play a changing role in managing India’s waste.
The Ministry said that the Union government was looking at exploring concepts from institutes and research organisations with regard to innovations in waste management and use of technology. Much of waste management in India continues to remain underdeveloped in terms of usage of technology. Waste collection, segregation and processing under most civic bodies is a manual process with little or no use of technology. The Ministry said that with use of new technology, waste processing across India could be faster and lessen the imbalance between waste generated and waste processed.
In the past two years, waste management has been prioritised by a number of urban bodies. If we can bring in significant technological developments to the fore, urban bodies may find it easier to tackle the garbage problem, said a senior official from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Biomedical waste is one of the areas the Ministry is looking to prioritise on. India, which generates 484 tonnes of biomedical waste daily has had a poor record of treating it. Instances of disposing biomedical waste along with dry or wet waste are still rampant across many hospitals in India. A technical advancement in this field will help hospitals treat biomedical waste and dispose it of as per the rules, feels the Science and Technology Ministry.
Agricultural waste, especially stubble burning is another area of concern, as pointed out by the Science Ministry’s concept note. The Ministry is hopeful that with precise R&D by leading academic institutes, a solution will come out to treat agricultural waste in a healthy and scientific manner. Stubble burning has been one of the leading causes for the lengthy stretch of air pollution across North India in the last months of 2017.
When we talk about waste, there should be technology equipped to handle the treatment of all types of waste. In the absence of options available to treat waste scientifically, people resort to other methods and we saw how that can have adverse effects, said the Ministry official.
Low cost bio-digesters, gas extraction from landfills, setting up of scientific landfills and handling of construction and demolition waste are some of the other waste related areas the Ministry is keen to explore. The Ministry is hopeful that several ideas will pour in by the end of January 2018 and the selected ones will be given the nod to go ahead and work on the projects.