Successful innovations in solid waste management systems Examples from five local bodies in Tamil Nadu

India Water Portal
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

Innovations in Solid Waste Management Systems - Tamil NaduThis booklet about the work of Exnora Green Pammal (EGP), produced by UNICEF and published by the Government of Tamil Nadu,  illustrates examples of the implementation and impact of solid waste management innovations in five localities in Tamil Nadu. The solid waste management systems in these localities are widely regarded as successes that deserve replication.This document has been produced to inspire and enable more local body authorities to emulate such successes in other parts of the country.

Improving solid waste management services in India is an urgent challenge for all levels of the government. Littering and the indiscriminate disposal of solid waste are widely practiced, polluting India's air, water, soil and inhabitants. Such pollution impedes India's efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).The nation's measures to combat malaria and other diseases (MDG 6), reduce child mortality (MDG 4), and ensure environmental sustainability (MDG 7) are all hampered by the unsightly and unhygienic conditions created by the accumulation of waste.{C}

According to the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), approximately 88% of the total disease load is due to lack of clean water and sanitation, and the improper management of solid and liquid waste. The production of waste is expected to increase dramatically in India. For example, in 2001, scientists estimated that in India, “the total waste quantity generated in 2047 will be approximately above 260 million tonnes—more than five times to the present level.”

Landfill area for this quantity of waste would be approximately 1,400 square km. Evidence indicates that , the most rapidly growing form of waste is electronic waste. India's electronic waste stockpile as of the year 2005 was estimated to be 1,46,180 tonnes, and is expected to exceed 8,00,000 tonnes by 2012. Among the 3 states, Tamil Nadu is the second largest producer of electronic waste in the country.

The implementation of the solid waste management innovation was conducted in five localities in Tamil Nadu namely, Musiri Special Grade Town Panchayat in Trichy District; Mudichur Village Panchayat in Kanchipuram District; Pammal Municipality in Chennai; Gandhi Nagar Selection Grade Town Panchayat in Vellore District and Melpattampakkam First Grade Town Panchayat in Cuddalore District.

These innovations have brought about many immediate, as well as long-term benefits, both to residents and to local authorities. These benefits include:

  • Appreciation from residents
  • Beautification of the locality
  • Drains are free of litter
  • Compliance with applicable directives and guidelines
  • Reduction of smelly and unsightly litter
  • Improvement of public health
  • Greater respect and recognition for the locality
  • Generation of employment, creating opportunities to lift people from extreme poverty
  • Significant reduction of the need to landfill waste
  • Production of compost

The experiences of these localities also demonstrate that improving waste management systems is technologically simple, but requires sustained and committed leadership, public awareness and participation, and talented management. Most importantly, success depends upon:

  • The recognition that municipal waste, if managed properly, is a resource of considerable economic value
  • The cooperation, support and involvement of all council members
  • The willingness of the public to segregate waste at its source
  • The extent to which society begins to reduce, reuse and recycle, rather than discard material goods

Download the copy of the booklet and the Tamil version of this booklet from below: