India’s garbage problem consistently remains to be one of the most major environmental issues of the country. This blog investigates the causes and impacts of the problem.
India’s waste generation is projected to increase five-fold by 2047, generating 260 million tonnes per year. Currently, 80% of wastewater ends up in lakes and rivers out of which only less than 30% is treated in sewage facilities. Their developed cities are drowning in garbage, with some streets and roads covered in trash exposing people and animals to solid waste. Despite the government initiating nationwide policies on waste management in cities, poor implementation of city officials have deterred their efforts. The rate of waste disposal is directly tied to population as consumption increases over time. With the impending rapid population growth gauged to increase two-fold in 2030 from its current 340 million, India must heal this waste plague now or else suffer doubly worse in the future.
Article 21 is the provision of the Indian Constitution that grants the right to protection of life and personal liberty to the people of India. Article 21’s right to life includes the right to health and the right to a pollution free environment.
Despite the garbage in the streets, there are other waste management problems such as wasteland underutilization, importation of hazardous waste from foreign countries, and the list could go on, however, my blog will only be focusing on municipal waste management because I have personally seen the issue for myself last year. The video below shows you the view you would see when you take an auto ride down an average street corner in Chennai.
Prior to the trip, I vaguely knew that the country was unsanitary, but I was clearly not prepared for this. It was a severe culture shock on my part, being a Singaporean, when I had already been fined $300 once in my home country for being caught by the NEA (National Environmental Agency) for littering.
It was one of the things that struck me the most, and I am grateful that I did not have to live in such quarters growing up. However, I do feel for the Indians, even though they do not seem to mind having their garbage disposed right in front of their feet, which was how the topic of this blog transpired.