Segregation of recyclable waste at source
In all parts of the country, people by and large do salvage re-usable or saleable material from waste and sell it for a price, e.g. newspaper, glass bottles, empty tins, plastic bags, old clothes etc., and to that extent such reusable / recyclable waste material is not thrown out for disposal. However, a lot of recyclable dry waste such as waste paper, plastic, broken glass, metal, packaging material etc., is not segregated and is thrown on the streets along with domestic / trade / institutional waste. Such waste is picked up to some extent by poor rag picker for their livelihood. At times they empty the dustbins and spread the contents around for effective sorting and collection. By throwing such recyclable material on the streets or into a common dustbin, the quality of recyclable material deteriorates as it gets soiled by wet waste, which often contains contaminated and hazardous waste.
Segregation of recyclable waste at source is thus not seriously practised by households and establishments, who throw such waste on the streets or in the municipal bins unsegregated. At least 15% of the total waste can conveniently be segregated at source for recycling, which is being thrown on the streets in absence of the practice of segregation of waste at source. Part of this waste is picked up by rag-pickers in a soiled condition and sold to middle men at a low price, who in turn pass on the material to the recycling industry at a higher price after cleaning or segregation and the waste that remains uncollected finds its way to the dumping grounds
By and large, crude dumping of waste is done in the country without following the principles of sanitary landfilling. As negligible segregation of waste at source takes place, all waste including hospital infectious waste generally finds its way to the disposal site. Quite often industrial hazardous waste is also deposited at dump sites meant for domestic waste.
The waste deposited at the dump site is generally neither spread nor compacted on a regular basis. It is also not covered with inert material. Thus, very unhygienic conditions prevail on the dump sites
Segregation of recyclable waste
It is essential to save the recyclable waste material from going to the waste processing and disposal sites and using up landfill space. Profitable use of such material could be made by salvaging it at source for recycling. This will save national resource and also save the cost and efforts to dispose of such waste. This can be done by forming a habit of keeping recyclable waste material separate from food waste and other bio-degradable wastes, in a separate bag or bin at the source of waste generation, by having a two-bin system for storage of waste at homes, shops and establishments where the domestic food waste (cooked and uncooked) goes into the Municipal system and recyclable waste can be handed over to the waste collectors (rag-pickers) at the door step.
The following measures may be taken by the local bodies towards the segregation of recyclable waste:
The local body may mobilize NGO’s or co-operatives to take up the work of organizing street rag-pickers and convert them to door-step “waste collectors” by motivating them to stop picking up soiled and contaminated solid waste from the streets, bins or disposal sites and instead improve their lot by collecting recyclable clean material from the doorstep on daily basis. The local bodies may, considering the important role of rag pickers in reducing the waste and the cost to the local body in transportation of such waste, even consider extending financial help to NGO’s and co-operatives in providing some tools and equipment to the rag pickers for efficient performance of their work in the informal sector.
The Local Bodies may actively associate resident associations, trade & industry associations, CBO’s and NGO’s in creating awareness...
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