SOLID WASTE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     14th May 2024        
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Context: The Supreme Court recently criticized the absence of immediate plans to address over 5,600 tonnes of untreated solid waste daily in Delhi, Gurgaon, and Faridabad, calling it a dire situation amidst discussions of development and environmental concerns.

Solid Waste

  • About: It refers to the undesired or nonessential solid materials produced from human activities in residential, industrial, or commercial zones.
  • Categorized in three ways:

o Origin (domestic, industrial, commercial, construction or institutional)

o Contents (organic material, glass, metal, plastic paper etc)

o Hazard potential (toxic, non-toxin, flammable, radioactive, infectious etc).

  • Types of Solid Waste

o Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): Includes household waste, construction debris, sanitation residue, and street waste from residential and commercial areas. It encompasses solid or semi-solid waste from municipal or notified areas, excluding industrial hazardous waste but including treated biomedical waste, according to the MoEF.

o Industrial Solid Waste (ISW): Often classified as hazardous due to containing toxic substances, being corrosive, highly flammable, or reactive.

o Biomedical Waste or Hospital Waste: Comprises infectious waste like sharps, soiled disposables, anatomical waste, cultures, discarded medicines, and chemical waste, typically found in disposable syringes, bandages, body fluids, and human excreta. Improper management poses serious health risks.

Waste Management Rules and Guidelines

  • The Bio-Medical Waste (Management And Handling) Rules, 1998
  • Municipal Solid Waste (Management And Handling) Rules 2000
  • The Plastic Waste (Management And Handling) Rules, 2011
  • E-Waste (Management And Handling) Rules, 2011

There are other court cases that find their importance in terms of Solid Waste Management in India:

  • Almitra Patel vs. Union of India
  • B.L Wadhera vs. Union of India.
  • Judgement of Karnataka High Court towards Mandatory Segregation at Source.
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