Solid Waste Management Sector in The National Capital Region

Solid Waste Management (SWM) is one of the most expensive municipal services that a local body has to provide as its obligatory municipal function and absorbs about 1% of GNP in the urban areas. About three to six persons per 1000 population are required to cater to this important civic amenity, which is about 1% to 2% of the total National Work Force. It is, therefore, imperative to optimize this huge civic expenditure and evolve an indigenous low cost technology which is technically sound, financially viable, aesthetically beautiful and socially acceptable to public.

Regional Plan-2001 proposed that solid waste disposal and management should be planned for a minimum period of 20 years and at least controlled tipping should be adopted in the disposal of the solid waste. Areas should be identified in all the towns for sanitary landfill and, all the towns above one lakh population should have arrangements to properly manage the waste disposal.

In the review of Regional Plan-2001 it was observed that large quantities of solid waste (garbage) were generated daily, out of which very little was collected. NCT-Delhi, however had comparatively better collection (70% of the waste) than rest of NCR towns. Most landfill sites are brimming to the full and vacant sites for landfill are not available in Delhi. No specific sites have been identified in any SubČregions for disposal of solid wastes and landfill.

Existing Situation and Issues

Studies have revealed that none of the towns in the region are disposing off solid waste in environmental friendly manner. The landfill sites are not lined to protect the ground water from leachate percolating into it. No other disposal system has been adopted by the local bodies. The status of availability of solid waste management facilities in some of the towns of NCR in the year 2000 is at Annexure 9/III in the RP 2021 document.

As per estimates, at present 13,499 MT/day of garbage was being generated in the year 2001 in the region, of which about 1,540 MT/day was being generated from Haryana Sub-region, 201 MT/day was being generated from Rajasthan Sub-region and 2,270 MT/day was being generated from U.P. Sub-region and remaining from the NCT-Delhi Sub-region. Total garbage generation in the region is likely to be about 27,236 MT/day by the year 2021 and handling of this kind of waste will need special efforts and funds.

Since land is a resource, the disposal methodologies for solid waste cannot remain only sanitary landfill. We have to examine other environmental friendly and financially viable options also.

Some of the major issues in this sector include
  • Lack of Knowledge of the Local Bodies.
  • Non-availability of suitable Land for Solid Waste Disposal in Environmental Friendly Manner.
  • Lack of Public Awareness.
  • Non-Availability of Funds
  • Piecemeal Approach for Handling of Solid Waste
Policies and Proposals

In order to improve the overall situation in the National Capital Region for the harmonized and balanced development for the perspective 2021, following policies and strategies are proposed:

Preparation of Detailed Solid Waste Management Plan

All the towns in NCR should prepare Solid Waste Management Plan in order to handle the waste being generated in their respective towns on the basis of guidelines provided by the CPHEEO Manual for the solid waste management.

Norms and Standards

Norms and standards provided in the CPHEEO Manual for solid waste management which provides guidelines for collection, transfer, transport and disposal of solid waste in environmental friendly manner should be followed.

Identification of Land for Treatment/Disposal of Waste

While preparing the Master/Development Plan for various towns/cities, Town Planning Department of respective Sub-regions should earmark the land for treatment/disposal of solid waste. The acquisition of these sites, by the development authorities and municipalities, should form a compulsory element of the development programme and properly budgeted for in their Plan documents.

Sanitary landfill sites should be designed and engineered properly to collect and treat leachate and biogas should be collected and utilized in a planned manner. Constituents States of NCR should also earmark land for solid waste disposal by sanitary landfill and other means appropriately.

Waste Minimization-Recycling/Recovery of Resources

In view of the limited availability of land for use as landfill sites, there is an urgent need to find other mechanical means of minimizing waste requiring disposal. In fact, RP 2021 suggests that zero waste output should be aimed.

Public Awareness and Training

Public awareness need to be created through mass media including T.V. and newspapers regarding the harmful affects of littering around and how the places can be kept clean. The informal training along with broad-based formal awareness through schools educational curriculum is also recommended. NGO's and Resident Welfare Association (RWA) should be actively involved in the public awareness campaign.

Institutional Improvements

Institutional capacity building measures are required to be taken in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management at each stage such as waste collection, transfer/transportation, treatment and disposal. There is a need to associate NGOs/private sector also in this regard. The combination of private sector and public sector in proportionate ratios will be the right option. In the rural areas, there is no mechanism for collection and disposal of solid waste. This should be developed by associating local Panchayats.

Other Recommendations

Other suggested measures, which are required to be taken, are as follows:

  • Adoption of closed bins and covered transportation vehicles.
  • Modification of building bye-laws to ensure provisions of refuse storage.
  • Safe and separate storage as well as doorstep collection of biomedical waste, hotel and yard waste etc. on full cost recovery basis.
  • Community participation

For more information on Solid Waste Management Sector in the NCR, please refer to documents below:

Regional Plan Document on Solid Waste Management Sector
Regional Plan Action Plan on Solid Waste Management Sector

For perusing relevant ministry websites, please click