Agra is a culturally rich and historically important city famous for the Taj Mahal -among the new Seven Wonders of the World and the Petha sweet.Agra’s petha is most sought after even though other varieties are available in most Indian markets. Petha sweet is a soft, translucent candy made from winter melons (ash gourd). Petha was made in the royal kitchens during the reign of Shah Jahan. Petha has many nutritional and medical benefits and is an affordable source of instant energy. Despite the massive popularity of the sweet, a substantial amount of waste is generated during the making of the petha sweet,which is mostly the raw ash gourd. Therefore about 0.4 kg of petha waste is generated for every 1 kg raw petha used to make petha. According to the Association of Petha Makers and extensive field survey, about 130 petha-making units are currently operational, producing around 26.8 tonnes of petha per day and generating around 17.8 tonnes of petha waste per day.Managing petha waste has traditionally been a challenge for the Agra Municipal Corporation. The waste floods dhalaos drains and streets in the neighborhoods of the petha makers.
This study examines the waste generated during making petha and beyond its shelf life in Agra city and the current practices of petha makers in managing the waste generated in the process of preparation. The study also looks at the existing mechanism followed by Agra Municipal Corporation to collect, transport, and treat petha waste andrecommended sustainable solutions for managing petha waste.