Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) of Housing & Urban Affairs, has stated that from source of generation to segregation and scientific disposal of waste, modern and innovative approaches are needed which are environmentally sound, socially acceptable, technologically feasible and economically viable. He was speaking at a function organised on “World Habitat Day – 2018 Celebration” with the theme ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management’ (MSWM) here today. Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary in the Ministry and officers from the department and its entities were also present on the occasion. The function was also attended by representatives of the United Nations and UN-Habitat.
Addressing the gathering, Puri said that the Government has considered solid waste management as top priority area of urban development and added that the launch of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) – Clean India Mission’ envisages 100 per cent of the urban population to be covered under Solid Waste Management (SWM) services. Acknowledging the importance given by UN-Habitat as well as Government of India’s priority for appropriate and scientific management of municipal solid waste, he said it is one of the basic requirements to maintain quality of living in urban areas.
Puri said that “the theme also reminds us of our collective responsibility to implement the adopted Sustainable Development Goals particularly SDG Goal No. 11, ‘to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ along with basic services. Other SDGs linked with the theme of Municipal Solid Waste Management are Goal No. 3 ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages’, Goal No. 12 ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’, Goal No. 13 ‘ to take urgent action to combat climate change and impacts’.” He said that environmentally sound waste management practices have a strong entry point to achieve a range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Solid waste management includes all activities that seek to minimize health, environmental, and aesthetic impacts of solid waste, he said.
The Minister pointed out that through the adoption of New Urban Agenda in 2016, the member nations of the UN committed themselves to promote environmentally sound waste management and to substantially reduce waste generation by reducing, reusing and recycling waste, minimizing landfills and converting waste to energy when waste cannot be recycled or when this choice delivers the best environmental outcome.
Stating that one of the off-shoots of the growing urbanisation is the increase in generation of solid waste in cities and towns, Puri pointed out that a Planning Commission Report (2014) projected that by 2031, the Indian urban centres will generate 165 million tons of waste annually. “This alarming state highlights the needed importance of scientific waste management from the perspective of both public health and environmental concerns”, he added.
Puri said that in India, almost 88.4 megawatts (MW) of energy is generated from waste-to-energy (WTE) projects and the waste-to-compost production stands at 15.69 Lakhs metric tonnes (17 September 2018). He urged the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to concentrate on managing the solid waste by skilled municipal staff, adequate training and capacity building, and called upon national training institutions such as HUDCO’s HSMI, NIUA and other multi and bilateral organisations to intensify their efforts towards effective planning and management of urban services, especially management of municipal solid waste. He said, “a significant outlay has been allocated for Solid Waste Management (SWM) projects in the country over the years. Behavioural change and citizen/community participation in SWM is the key to sustain a project related to management of municipal solid waste, the Minister said and added that if municipal solid waste management is done through proper planning and management, it would lead to a business case of income generation and provide financial support to ULBs by generating revenue.
Durga Shankar Mishra in his address stated that environmentally sustainable waste management involves reuse and recycling of all types of waste ranging from domestic waste, industrial waste, medical waste to e-waste. Improvement of urban services including Solid Waste Management requires a holistic approach with integrated focus on planning, technology, policy, administrative and legal actions, he said and added that “Waste avoidance, segregation at source, and disposal all need to be given importance in the process of reducing and managing solid waste. As land is a scarce resource, there is a need to maximise resource recovery from waste recycling and to reduce the need for landfill sites”, he added.
Mishra said that in order to bring attitudinal and mind-set changes towards safe sanitary habits/practices, cities administrations are involved in various awareness generation activities on regular basis in partnership with the local NGOs and swachhagrahis. He pointed out that recently, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has released the guidelines on ‘Empowering Marginalised Groups- Convergence between SBM and DAY-NULM, 2018’ with the vision to create livelihoods opportunities in the areas of solid and liquid waste management.
On the occasion several publications were released by Hardeep Puri who also gave away awards to winners of painting competitions for school children.
First Monday of October of every year has been designated by the United Nations as World Habitat Day. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to have adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.