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Jul 7, 2012

Population and Municipal Solid Waste Generation in India

Contents

1. Population
2. Population Growth
3. Impact of Population Growth on Municipal Solid Waste Generation

1. Population

India is the second most populous nation on the planet. The Census of 2011 estimates a population of 1.21 billion which is 17.66% of the world population. It is as much as the combined population of USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan. The population of Uttar Pradesh, one among 28 Indian states is greater than that of Brazil, the fifth most populous nation in the world. India’s urban population was 285 million in 2001 and increased to 377 million in 2011. Indian urban population is greater than the total population of USA (308.7 million), the third most populous nation.
Appendix 1 (in the report here) lists 366 cities which represent 70% of India’s urban population and generate 130,000 tons per day (TPD) or 47.2 million tons per year (TPY) at a per capita waste generation rate of 500 grams/day. This implies the total MSW generated by urban India could be as much as 188,500 TPD or 68.8 million TPY. This number matches the projection (65 million TPY in 2010) by Sunil Kumar, et al. (17). Therefore, this report assumes that the quantum of waste generated by urban India to be 68.8 million TPY. The general consensus on amount of waste generated by urban India is 50 million TPY, which is very low in comparison to the current findings.
Figure 8. Total Population and Urban Population Growth in India
The six metro cities, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru together generate 48,000 TPD (17.5 million TPY) of MSW. Currently, India has 53 cities with populations greater than one million, generating 86,245 TPD (31.5 million TPY), which is about 46 % of the total MSW generated in urban India. The remaining 313 cities studied generate 15.7 million TPY (43,000 TPD), 23% of the total urban MSW, only half of that generated by the 53 cities with million plus population.


2. Population Growth

Indian population increased by more than 181 million during 2001 – 2011, a 17.64% increase in population, since 2001. Even though this was the sharpest decline in population growth rate registered post-Independence the absolute addition during 2001-2011 is almost as much as the population of Brazil, the fifth most populous country in the world.
It is clear that the scale of populations dealt with in case of India and China are entirely different from any other country in the world. Indian urban population increased by 31.8 % during 2001 – 2011, which implies an annual growth rate of 2.8% during this period.
Figure 9. The urbanization trend in India

3. Impact of Population Growth on Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Generation

Population growth and rapid urbanization means bigger and denser cities and increased MSW generation in each city. The data compiled for this report indicates that 366 cities in India were generating 31.6 million tons of waste in 2001 and are currently generating 47.3 million tons, a 50% increase in one decade. It is estimated that these 366 cities will generate 161 million tons of MSW in 2041, a five-fold increase in four decades. At this rate the total urban MSW generated in 2041 would be 230 million TPY (630,000 TPD).

MSW Rules 2000 mandate “landfills should always be located away from habitation clusters and other places of social, economic or environmental importance”, which implies lands outside the city. Therefore, increase in MSW will have significant impacts in terms of land required for disposing the waste as it gets more difficult to site landfills (7). Farther the landfill gets from the point of waste generation (city), greater will be the waste transportation cost. The solution to reducing these costs and alternatives to landfilling are discussed in detail in further sections.

A 1998 study by TERI (The Energy Resources Institute, earlier Tata Energy Research Institute) titled ‘Solid Waste Management in India: options and opportunities’ calculated the amount of land that was occupied by waste disposed post independence, until 1997. The study compared the land occupied in multiples of the size of a football field and arrived at 71,000 football fields of solid waste, stacked 9 meters high. Based on a business as usual (BAU) scenario of 91% landfilling, the study estimates that the waste generated by 2001 would have occupied 240 sq.km or an area half the size of Mumbai; waste generated by 2011 would have occupied 380 sq.km or about 220,000 football fields or 90% of Chennai, the fourth biggest Indian city area-wise; waste generated by 2021 would need 590 sq.km which is greater than the area of Hyderabad (583 sq.km), the largest Indian city, area-wise (18) (19). The Position Paper on The Solid Waste Management Sector in India, published by Ministry of Finance in 2009, estimates a requirement of more than 1400 sq.km of land for solid waste disposal by the end of 2047 if MSW is not properly handled and is equal to the area of Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai together.

22 comments:

  1. Now there are lots of alternative technologies are developed to recycle the industrial wastes, Yeah ministry of India has also great participation for the recycling and waste disposal services.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there,

      What kind of technologies? What geographical/industrial areas are Indian Ministries participating in this regard?

      If you can provide this information, it will be useful for readers and me.

      Thank you
      Ranjith

      Delete
  2. Recycling is one effective measure that everyone can work towards saving environment by sustainable waste management and hazardous waste management.
    commercial waste disposal grand rapids

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recycling is definitely the most sustainable method of treating waste once it's disposed. However, there are technological/economical factors on why you cannot recycle every material in the waste stream. There are also institutional aspects which need to be considered before going All-in on recycling.

      Thank you
      Ranjith

      Delete
  3. Instead of always taking new bags at the grocery store, bring the old ones back. Many stores give you credit for re-using bags or bringing your own canvas bags.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this is a good practice in some stores, cities and countries. It should be encouraged.

      I have a good story, which might prove otherwise (not that it always happens or that it cannot be avoided). Some customers/residents of a store/city in the U.S. experienced food poisoning. The reason for this was found to be reusing a cloth bag in which they carried home meat previously. However, THIS CAN BE AVOIDED. A related article here http://mobile.boston.com/lifestyle/health/blog/nutrition/2012/05/could_those_reusable_grocery_b

      Thank you for your comment
      Ranjith

      Delete
  4. I imagine it was difficult to collect data for this study, so thank you for shedding some light on India. You mention that biological treatment is producing too many heavy metals; is it possible to separate the heavy metals from the nutrient-rich biosolids before applying it to agricultural land?

    For hazardous waste, Extended Producer Responsibility (also known as producer take-back) legislation enforces the 'polluter pays' principle, so that not all taxpayers (through the government budget) pay for collection, treatment, disposal of hazardous waste and clean-up of any resulting environmental damage. Under such law, the responsibility of the post-consumption product reverts back to the manufacturer, who must treat and handle the waste according to mandated health, safety and environmental standards. The World Future Council has blogged about it here: http://power-to-the-people.net/2012/08/extending-producer-responsibility/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Fiona,

      Heavy metals in the final compost are not exactly due to the treatment type, but it it because of the inputs that are sent for composting. Composting source separated organics (if you peel a fruit or vegetable, or have some left over rice, collect it as it is and transport it to the compost plant, it can be called source separated organic material) does not result in heavy metals in the final compost.

      The heavy metal concentration I mentioned in this post and in my thesis is because of mixed waste composting. Common sources of heavy metals in this mixed waste are electronic waste, paints, printed paper or any other kind of print, etc.

      If these can be separated from the waste that goes to the compost plant, heavy metals concentration in the compost can be reduced drastically.

      EPR (Extndd Producer Responsibility) is currently in use in some parts of Europe for municipal solid waste (MSW) too. It is a solution in the pipeline for developing nations. Like all solutions, implementing this one has some positives and negatives too and they should be considered before such a policy is deployed.

      Thank you for your comment.
      Best
      Ranjith

      Delete
  5. I never realized how much there is to consider when it comes to residential and industrial waste management. I was particularly intrigued at the cost-benefit application of locating waste facilities outside of the city. Exactly how far away one is seems to be a really important decision, and there must be a lot of thought that goes into it. Even though this analysis is on India's waste management, I think a lot of the concept applies to numerous other nations as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Yes, the concepts can be applied to other nations as well. Somethings about waste management are common all across the world these days.
      1. Globalized waste (you see waste from a few brands/materials almost everywhere, but in different compositions)
      2. Technological solutions (recycling, composting, waste-to-energy, landfills, but ofcourse used in different ways according to local conditions)
      3. Not in my backyard (NIMBY) (Don't locate the waste handling plant/landfill in my backyard)
      4. Modes of transportation

      There are many constants, but the way they are/should be used change according to local requirements, conditions and capabilities.

      Thanks for the comment
      Ranjith

      Delete
  6. Managing waste is the responsibility of everyone as neither one person nor a group is responsible and also it cann't be tackled by one. A million marine creatures die each year due to entanglement in garbage http://bit.ly/waste12 SO we need to work towards reducing the waste to become zero waste world. Can we build a #ZeroWaste world?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Managing waste is the responsibility of everyone as neither one person nor a group is responsible and also it cann't be tackled by one. A million marine creatures die each year due to entanglement in garbage http://bit.ly/waste12 SO we need to work towards reducing the waste to become zero waste world. Can we build a #ZeroWaste world?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we can. But, it takes the time of some generations and mountainous-gargantuan-loads of streamlined effort (hope you got that scale).

      Thank you

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Hi, Can you please tell me source of data for MSW generation?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi, Can you please tell me source of data for MSW generation?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ranjith Nice Article. The next thing that struck me after reading your post is that we need a set user fee to enable collection of the generated MSW in accordance to polluter pay principle(PPP). Would it be wise to link it value of tipping fee to the electricity consumption of the house. Wealthier households generate more waste hence need to pay more according to PPP. WIll it be appropriate to judge the income of the household based on the electricity use?

    ReplyDelete

Glossary

CH4 Methane
CO2
Carbon Dioxide
GOI
Government of India
INR Indian Rupee
JnNURM Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission
LFG Landfill Gas
MBT
Mechanical Biological Treatment
MSW Municipal Solid Waste
NEERI National Environmental Engineering Research Institute
RDF
Refuse Derived Fuel
SLF Sanitary Landfill
SWM Solid Waste Management
USD United States Dollar
WPs Waste Pickers
WTE Waste-to-Energy
WTERT Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council