Awareness on Solid Waste Management : Issue and Opportunities

Solid Waste Management in Indian Cities: Issue and Opportunities

Program Description

One of the major environmental problems faced by India is management of solid waste in cities and towns. In almost all the cities/towns in the developing world, the municipal authorities are responsible for the collection, transport and disposal of municipal wastes. India lacks appropriate strategies, methods for mobilization of financial resources and the necessary infrastructure for organized waste management. This leads to low collection coverage, especially in poor or marginal areas of the cities, and also to uncontrolled disposal. In India, approximately 48 million tonnes of solid waste is generated annually and about 5-25% of the urban local bodies’ budget is utilized for solid waste management. Up to 50% of the waste generated daily remained uncollected in the cities; the remaining waste is collected irregularly, dumped in an uncontrolled manner, or burnt on vacant plots or on the outskirts of cities.

Another problem is the quantity and quality of the waste that is generated. The last survey to understand quantity and composition of the waste was done more than a decade ago. Urban local bodies also lack in the data on the changing composition of the waste that is, if waste is now more non-biodegradable or plastic or toxic is not known. All this means that we are planning without information.


In this course, an attempt has been made to provide a comprehensive review of municipal solid waste (MSW) management for Indian cities to evaluate the current status and identify the challenges and opportunities of MSW management.


This course will highlight the important issues plaguing the determination of accurate generation and composition of the solid waste in India. The course will also present the suitable treatment technologies for different composition of waste and the selection criteria of these treatment methods. The role of informal sector in the waste recycling and reuse is also presented in the program alongwith examples of a few cities in India which are doing pioneering work in solid waste management.