Municipal solid waste (MSW) continues to be a severe problem in India due to poor management. From collection of waste to its disposal, cities are struggling to implement an affordable and sustainable model of management. On top of this, the amount of waste generated is increasing every day. Urban India alone generates a colossal 1.5 lakh metric tonne of MSW daily. Given that urban population is growing at an annual rate of 3–3.5 per cent, the yearly increase in the overall quantity of solid waste comes to about 5 per cent.
It is well understood that segregation at source lies at the heart of good waste management. Segregation improves collection and processing efficiency. But ensuring segregation at source requires better infrastructure and strict compliance systems. Municipalities will need to put in place processes ensuring segregated waste is transported and processed properly. They will also have to come out with bye-laws that support segregation.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been working with cities to document, promote and implement source-segregation model of waste management. We have understood that cities need to develop models which are primarily based on maximum waste recycling and reuse and are least dependent on landfills. This Model Framework for Segregation has been developed based on our work and learnings in Muzaffarpur, Bihar to implement a decentralized solid waste management model in the city based on segregation at source.