National Workshop for Experience Sharing: Role of ULBs in designing strategies for clean air

The habitat and mobility team of CSE held a two day ‘National Workshop for Experience Sharing: Role of ULBs in designing strategies for clean air: With special focus on C&D waste management and mobility strategies’ from 16th to 17th of February 2023 in Kolkata.Over 100 participants representing close to 35 ULB’s from the Kolkata Municipal Authority region along with academicians and practitioners were part of the audience over the two days.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to Construction and Demolition waste management and associated dust generation and mitigation practices. Construction & demolition (C&D) waste is the newest waste stream in our cities. It needs proper management not only to minimize its contribution to dust emissions and choking of water bodies but also to enable its reutilisation in construction in a rapidly developing Kolkata Metropolitan Area.

Mr. Rajesh Kumar (IPS) Member Secretary, West Bengal State Pollution Control Board in his keynote address spoke about the impacts and lessons from the clean air action in non-attainment cities of West Bengal. He informed that 150 monitoring stations have been setup across Kolkata that give real time information on air quality, noise etc. Mr. Kumar also informed that the Government of West Bengal is working on a C&D waste policy and KMC is setting up a C&D waste recycling plant in Patharghata of 500 TPD capacity, the plant will produce C&D recycled materials such as paver blocks.

Ms. Anumita in her presentation raised concern on the current C&D practices being carried out both from the perspective of dust generation and the impact of waste generated from them. She highlighted that very little information exists with ULB’s on quantification of C&D waste and in the current scenario ULB’s do not get receive this waste at their dumpsites as it gets dumped for in-filling of low-lying areas and roads. She stressed why there is a need for focus on resource efficiency and recovery and which hurdles have set this back. In the end, she presented an agenda for action that can be followed by ULB’s to better manage their C&D waste.

Mr. Rajneesh presented CSE’s investigation wherein CSE has mapped the value and trade chain of C&D waste, both in formal and informal setups for large ULBs like KMC and small ULBs like Barasat, Madhyamgram, Sonarpur-Rajpur, etc. For instance, iron bars and pipes from construction sites are purchased by local scrap dealers, who sell it to intermediate scrap dealers, who then sell it to big scrap dealers. The big dealers cut the material into small pieces and sell it to the metal industries for reuse. “Good practices have started showing in some municipalities like the vehicles carrying C&D waste and materials were covered and buildings had dust barriers when we went to Barasat. There are provisions in place for dust control from C&D activity. For instance, Kolkata and Howrah seek an undertaking from applicants on C&D waste management and dust control measures during building permission. However, monitoring and enforcement needs to be strengthened.” – highlighted Mr. Rajneesh Sareen in his session.

Mr. Rajib Mukherjee, Executive Engineer State Urban Development Agency gave an overview of Current status and roadmap for waste management in KMA region.He also held aQuestion and Answer session on how SUDA can help in resolving issues being faced by ULBs on issues of waste management. 

To guide on a complete ecosystem approach for C&D waste, experts form different parts of India brought their experience. Pradeep Khandelwal shared his perspective in creating an ecosystem for C&D waste management, drawing from his experience asEx. Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (East).

Mr. Radhakrishnan Aiyyer (technical lead in setting up of the C&D recycling plant, Gurugram)spoke about the steps that municipalities can take to in helping to set up a C&D waste plant. He stressed on the need for a C&D helpline to act as a bridge between small waste generators and the municipality.

Mr. Nitesh Tripathi Project Head, EverEnviro, Indore informed on the bio-CNG plant in Indore while Mr. Bharat Makkar, Retd. Special Director General, CPWD shared his experience on use of recycled C&D waste products in Supreme Court Annexe building.The office complex of supreme court utilized 18 lack C&D recycled blocks saving close to 25 thousand tonnes of fertile soil. He also said that this construction can come out to be 5 to 10% cheaper compared to normal brickwork.

Ms. Papia Ghosh, Additional Secretary, UDMA, GoWB started her address by saying that any waste should be treated as wealth as it can potentially become raw material. She announced that the ‘C&D waste policy’ is almost final and a gazette notification should come out next month. She suggested that the wards where major construction is taking place need to be identified and the builders and ULBs can sit together. She spoke about the need for bulk generators to have their own CandD waste management system

The workshop ended with a panel discussion with the experts, wherein representatives from ULB’s presented the practical challenges they are facing in C&D waste management and sought to resolve them with the help of the panel experts.