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Municipal Solid Waste Management - Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1907 words Published: 13th Apr 2017

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Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal, and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity and is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is also carried out to recover resources from it. Waste management can involve solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive substances, with different methods and fields of expertise for each.

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Waste Management is the term that refers to the collection, processing, recycling, transport, and monitoring of waste products. The waste products means the various materials produced by human activity and is undertaken for reducing their effect on health, environment or aesthetics. Another application of the waste management is to recover the various resources from it. It involves the management of solid, liquid, and gaseous wastes. Each type of waste requires a different methods and fields of expertise. The practices of waste management differ from developed and developing nations. In fact, there is difference in methods used in the urban and rural areas, and also for industrial or residential producers. It is the responsibility of local government authorities to manage non-hazardous residential and institutional waste in metro areas. However, the management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is done by the generator.

There are various methods of waste disposal including integrated waste management, Plasma gasification, Landfill, Supercritical water decomposition and Incineration. There are lots of concepts about waste management which differ in their usage as per the varying regions or countries. Some of the widely used concepts include Waste hierarchy, Extended producer responsibility and Polluter pays principle. The waste hierarchy points to the “reduce, reuse and recycle” that classify waste management strategies as per their effectiveness in regards to waste minimization. The waste hierarchy is the cornerstone of majority of waste minimization strategies. It focuses on taking out the maximum practical advantages from products and generating least amount of waste.

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a strategy that is intended for the integration of all costs related with products across their life cycles into the market price of the product. The Polluter Pays Principle suggests that in case of waste leading to any impact on the environment, the polluting party is held responsible and it needs to pays for it. The waste management refers to the need for a waste producer to pay for proper waste disposal.

Effective Techniques of waste management:-

1) LANDFILL: it is one of the inexpensive methods of waste management. In this waste is dumped on an abandoned land. Be cautious that no toxic or hazardous waste gets dumped in landfill.

2) INCINERATION: Toxic substances that cannot be dumped are burnt. This method is not much in action as this emits harmful pollutants leading to pollution.

3) COMPOSTING: Organic wastes from homes &garden eg- food, plants, etc are decomposed, recycled & used as manure for agriculture purpose.

4) MECHANICAL BIOLOGICALTREATMENT: Glass, plastic &other recyclable waste is put into waste treatment plant. Recyclable content from waste is taken & converted to calorific fuel that in turn is used by power plants.

5) PYROLYSIS &GASIFICATION: Waste products are treated at high temperature7 high pressure. It’s a thermal technique. In pyrolysis, waste is converted into solid &liquid, in which solid is refined into carbon form& liquid got from the waste is used as energy giving oil. In gasification, waste is converted into synthetic gases: that are burnt to give high energy.

(6) Disposal: Non recyclable wastes are dumped into a vast abandoned land. This is called landfills. Only care should be taken that toxic waste does not enter the soil and water system. The people in charge of landfill department must supervise & approve the dumping site. Care should be taken about depth allowed till dumping, the nature of the waste dumped, etc must be approved


1. Municipal Solid Waste

Garbage is generally referred to “Waste” and is also termed as rubbish, trash, junk, unwanted or undesired material.As per the Municipal Solid Waste (Management &Handling) Rule,2000 garbage is define as Municipal Solid Waste which includes commercial and residential wastes generated in a municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excluding industrial hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes Municipal solid waste consists of household waste, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets. This garbage is generated mainly from residential and commercial complexes.

2. Main Sources of Municipal Waste –

House hold waste


  • Street sweeping
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Clinics and dispensaries
  • Construction and demolition
  • Horticulture
  • Sludge

3. Composition of Municipal Solid Waste in India

In India, the biodegradable portion dominates the bulk of Municipal Solid Waste. Generally, the biodegradable portion is mainly due to food and yard waste

With rising urbanisation and change in lifestyle and food habits, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing rapidly and its composition changing. There are different categories of waste generated, each takes their own time to degenerate (as illustrated in the table below).

4. Life Cycle of Municipal Solid Waste

5. Municipal Solid Waste Management Practices in India

The term municipal solid waste refers to solid waste from houses, streets and public places, shops, offices, and hospitals. Management of these types of waste is most often the responsibility of Municipal or other Governmental authorities. Except in the metropolitan cities, SWM is the responsibility of a health officer who is assisted by the engineering department in the transportation work. The activity is mostly labour intensive, and 2-3 workers are provided per 1000 residents served. The municipal agencies spend 5-25% of their budget on SWM

A typical waste management system in a low- or middle-income country like India includes the following elements:

  • Waste generation and storage
  • Segregation, reuse, and recycling at the household level
  • Primary waste collection and transport to a transfer station or community bin
  • Street sweeping and cleansing of public places
  • Management of the transfer station or community bin
  • Secondary collection and transport to the waste disposal site
  • Waste disposal in landfills

But in most of the Indian cities open dumping is the Common Practices which is adversely affecting on environment and Public health.

6. Adverse Effect of open dump

An open dumping is defined as a land disposal site at which solid wastes are disposed of in a manner that does not protect the environment, are susceptible to open burning, and are exposed to the elements, vectors, and scavengers.

Open dumping can include solid waste disposal facilities or practices that pose a reasonable probability of adverse effects on health or the environment.

Health Effect

The health risks associated with illegal dumping are significant. Areas used for open dumping may be easily accessible to people, especially children, who are vulnerable to the physical (protruding nails or sharp edges) and chemical (harmful fluids or dust) hazards posed by wastes.

Rodents, insects, and other vermin attracted to open dump sites may also pose health risks. Dump sites with scrap tires provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can multiply 100 times faster than normal in the warm stagnant water standing in scrap tire causing several illnesses.

Poisoning and chemical burns resulting from contact with small amounts of hazardous, chemical waste mixed with general waste during collection & transportation.

Burns and other injuries can occur resulting from occupational accidents and methane gas exposure at waste disposal sites.

Environment pollution

Air pollution

Dust generated from on-site vehicle movements, and placement of waste and materials

Water pollution

Runoff from open dump sites containing chemicals may contaminate wells and surface water used as sources of drinking water open dumping can also impact proper drainage of runoff, making areas more susceptible to flooding when wastes block ravines, creeks, culverts, and drainage basins & also contamination of groundwater resources and surface water from leachate emissions.

Soil Contamination

Permanent or temporary loss of productive land

Global Warming and Climate Change

In most of the cities & towns, the municipal solid waste is being dumped & burnt in open spaces without understanding the adverse impacts on the environment. The waste in the dumping ground undergoes various anaerobic reactions produces offensive Green House gases such as CO2, CH4 etc. These gases are contributing potentially to Global Warming & Climate Change phenomenon.

7. Integrated Solid waste Management

Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) is a tool to determine the most energy-efficient, least-polluting ways to deal with the various components & items of a community’s Solid Waste stream.

The twin goals of ISWM are to:

Retain as much as possible of that energy & those materials in a useful state.

Avoid releasing that energy or matter into the environment as a pollutant.

Benefits of Integrated Solid waste management

The concept of ISWM plan derives from the necessity to look at alternative sources of collection, transportation and most importantly, disposal to ensure a healthy living environment in urban cities.

Local and regional economies benefit by the continued exchange value of the reclaimed materials and products and the jobs created in reprocessing and reselling them.

National and global resource natural depletion is reduced, contributing to a more sustainable long-term economy.

Pollution from landfills is reduced because many toxic or otherwise polluting materials are diverted from the landfills, and because the overall volume of land filled material is reduced.

8. Legal framework for Municipal Solid Waste in India

Municipal Solid Waste (Managment & Handling ) Rule was notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India [vide No.S.O.908 (B) dated the 25th September 2000]. The objective of these Rules was to make every municipal authority responsible for the implementation of the various provisions of the Rules within its territorial area and also to develop an effective infrastructure for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of Municipal Solid Wastes. The Civic bodies have the responsibility to enforce these rules.


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