Rewind 2018: How India dealt with its waste

India has policies to deal with all kinds of waste but implementation is weak and not monitored effectively

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 28 December 2018

Rewind 2018

Cities continue to drown in waste and there are disturbing incidences of major landfills catching fire in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Plastics remain an issue of concern. Protests over solid waste dumping across India have increased. Menstrual waste was another subject that was widely reported this year after CPCB released the guidelines on sanitary waste management. CPCB also notified rules on solid waste management. We bring you the major developments of the year:

Cities and waste

Delhi reportedly produces 10,000 metric tonnes of garbage every day and the space to dump this garbage is a major problem. East Delhi's Ghazipur garbage dump stands at 65 metres tall, very close to the height of Qutub Minar, which stands at 73 metres. As Mumbai reeled under a heat wave, fire broke out in the city’s largest landfill site at Deonar on March 26, 2018. Dhapa dumping ground in Kolkata has been burning since November 2018 and the thick smoke billowing out of the site is making the city’s polluted air even more toxic. Since 20 October, fires caused by toxic gases have been raging inside a landfill in Bhalswa, an urban village in North Delhi where a 40-acre graveyard of waste waits for its own death. Toxic smoke from a blaze at the Okhla landfill in the national capital caused health problems amongst local residents.

Plastic menace

Maharashtra government imposed a complete ban on plastic carry bags and thermocol cutlery, becoming the 18th state of the country to impose such a ban. Two hundred residents' associations/buildings in south Mumbai decided to become plastic-free by June 17 as a drive against single-use plastics was launched here. From April 1, the Golden Temple will replace the use of plastic carry bags with compostable ones to make its contribution to environment protection. The Telangana government issued guidelines to ban plastic usage in urban local bodies in the state. 

Sanitary waste

Forty five per cent of the menstrual waste collected across the country, primarily consisting of sanitary napkins, is disposed of as routine waste along with other household garbage revealed Menstrual Health Alliance India. The CPCB guidelines released in May 2018 detailed various options for disposal of different kinds of sanitary wastes. Six years ago, Bengaluru’s urban body became the first to announce that it will collect sanitary and medical waste separately. But its implementation has run into a cost conundrum. Thiruvanthapuram municipal corporation is likely to revive the proposal of demand-based door-to-door collection for sanitary waste with CPCB issuing guidelines for handling sanitary waste.

Domestic waste

With Mount Pirana growing at an alarming rate, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has finally put its foot down. Come December, the corporation will not collect domestic waste if it is not segregated into dry and wet. With an aim to resolve waste management problems of residents in Gurugram, the agency responsible for solid waste management in the city has taken the local management approach by appointing ward managers in each of the 35 wards. Soon, all the municipalities and corporations in Tamil Nadu will begin sending non-recyclable waste to the cement plants and thermal power stations to be incinerated and converted into fuel. The municipal corporation in Cuttack will enforce a new set of regulations, including fines for littering roads in front of homes, for better segregation and disposal of waste

E-waste: The growing menace

India is among the top five e-waste generating countries in the world after China, the US, Japan and Germany, according to a report. One of the biggest producers of e-waste in the world, India doesn't have data and monitoring mechanisms to manage e-waste

Swachh Survekshan 2018

Mumbai bagged the tag of the cleanest state capital in India in the Swachh Survekshan (cleanliness survey) 2018 rankings. The Swachh Survekshan this year has awarded cities that have worked only on the cleaning aspects, but not on how to process and recycle the waste, said Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), on the latest cleanliness survey results released by the government.


E- Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018|March 2018|Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

These amendments have been done in a move to facilitate and effectively implement the environmentally sound management of e-waste in India with the objective of channelising the e-waste generated in the country towards authorised dismantlers and recyclers in order to formalise the e-waste recycling sector.

The Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018| March 2018| Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

These rules seek to improve compliance and strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of biomedical waste in India.

Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018|March 2018| Ministry of Environment, Forest and Wildlife

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018. The amended Rules lay down that the phasing out of Multilayered Plastic (MLP) is now applicable to MLP, which are “non-recyclable, or non-energy recoverable, or with no alternate use.

Draft Assam Urban Solid Waste Management Policy, 2018|July 2018| Government of Assam

The Assam Government has introduced draft Assam Urban Solid Waste Management Policy, 2018 (“Draft Policy”) with a view to achieve a totally clean, sanitized and healthy city with proper collection, transportation, treatment and disposal facilities. This Draft Policy will ensure improved public health and sanitation facilities.

What a waste 2.0: a global snapshot on solid waste management to 2050|September 2018|The World Bank

This report presents national and urban waste management data from around the world and highlights the need for urgent action.

Solid waste management in India: an assessment of resource recovery and environmental impact|April 2018|ICRIER

This study analyses the environmental and financial sustainability of solid waste management in Indian cities.

Bangalore’s toxic legacy intensifies: status of landfills, waste processing sites and dumping grounds, and working conditions of Pourakarmikas| February 2018| Environment Support Group

This report provides a critical framework to evaluate the progress achieved in advancing environmental and social justice of communities impacted by waste handling and disposal.


SC disappointed over solid waste management and penalises states| July 10, 2018| Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in its order on July 10, expressed disappointment over the sorry state of affairs of solid waste management in majority of the states with no effective systems in place for processing and disposal. The court slapped a fine of Rs 100,000 each on Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Lakshadweep and Puducherry for not filing the affidavit despite earlier directions.

Delhi government to pay a fine of Rs 25 cr for dereliction of environmental duties | December 2018| National Green Tribunal

The NGT while expressing its displeasure of the lackadaisical attitude of the Delhi government over the issue of unregulated handling of plastics ordered the Delhi government on December 3 to deposit a sum of Rs 25 crore towards the cost of damage to the environment with the Central Pollution Control Board for restoration of the damage within one month.

NGT directs Meghalaya to comply with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016| December 2018| National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal on December 11 directed Meghalaya to furnish a report on the execution of directions for compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 to the Eastern Zone Regional Committee so that the progress in the matter can be monitored appropriately.

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