Involve private sector in waste disposal: Expert

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Bangalore, Feb 21: Privatisation and involvement of self help groups and NGOs could help effectively tackle the problem of disposal of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), causing serious health and environmental problems due to rapid growth in urban areas, Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) Director General V Basappa said today.

Speaking at a workshop on 'Raising Environmental Awareness of Indian Cities', organised by Winrock International with the support of European Union here, he said MSW generation in the country stood at 55 MT now and the collection efficiency was 72.5 per cent. This meant that the remaining MSW remained undisposed.

Improper disposal of waste was posing serious problems like spread of epidemic diseases, multiplication of vectors, contamination of ground water, release of methane and global warming, he said.

Mr Basappa said change in lifestyle and economic growth had contributed to increase in MSW. The per capita national average of MSW in 1997 stood at 0.468 kg per day and it was expected to go up five times by 2047. While availability of land for land fill was a big problem faced by municipalities, transportation of MSW remained the biggest challenge.

Effective treatment and disposal like recycling of MSW or producing energy using municipal waste, institutional and regulatory reforms, apart from involvement of private sector, SHGs and NGOs should help a great deal in addressing the problem. However, the local bodies in the country had been slow to react to the problem and still remained reluctant to extensively privatise waste disposal, he added.

Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation Managing Director Jawaid Akhtar said that despite the Union Government asking the States to frame rules on solid waste management before 2000, little work had been done in this direction.

While 30 to 50 per cent of the municipal budget was being spent on disposal of MSW involving nearly 50 per cent of the municipal staff, success rate in waste disposal still remained low, he rued.


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