ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Not in My Backyard

The peripheries of urban areas are refusing to become the dumping grounds of municipal waste.

Urban India is in danger of being buried under its own garbage – literally. The dilemma of dealing with the ­increasing amounts of solid waste in cities large and small has now reached crisis proportions. Not only is the amount of waste generated far beyond the capacity of waste treatment plants but people living on the periphery of larger cities are now objecting to such plants and waste dumps. Not in my backyard is the cry emanating from villages close to major cities in Kerala and on the outskirts of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and other cities.

The six large metros in India – Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore – produce between them 48,000 tonnes of solid waste per day. While larger cities have the capacity and the funds to collect 70% to 90% of this waste, smaller towns face a far bigger crisis with barely half of what is generated being cleared. But in all urban areas, large and small, the aesthetic problem of uncollected waste and the health consequences, particularly during the rains, are a constant. All of them also confront similar challenging choices in dealing with the waste – bury, burn or recycle.

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