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Where does the garbage really come from?    
By Mari Steinert, Maja Garnaas and Nae Kaneko    

Rumor has it that the poor people in India are unclean. They live in polluted surroundings with garbage and waste everywhere. But where does the garbage really come from? Where does it go? The truth is far from the image we get when we walk around in the streets of Delhi. We wanted to burst this myth and look deeper into the management issues of the solid wastes of cities in India, especially Delhi.

There has been a rapid population growth in India over the last decades, and the middle and upper class have brought the consumption level to new heights. This creates an enormous amount of waste due to changes of lifestyles, food habits and also more non-recyclable and non-reusable packaging entering the market.

The present annual solid waste generated in Indian cities has increased from 6 million tonnes in 1947 to 48 million tonnes in 1997, and is expected to increase to 300 million tonnes per annum by 2047. These estimates show that the waste management of India should be taken into urgent consideration.

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