One alarming spillover of India’s remarkable growth story is the fact that its growing population, coupled with rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, has resulted in spiraling levels of civic and industrial waste being generated.
India, the world’s fifth-largest economy, currently generates 62 million tons of waste (both recyclable and non-recyclable) every year, according to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (GoI).
With an average annual growth rate of 4%, this inextricably intertwined by product of industrialization poses far reaching ramifications of urban pollution, public health and hygiene. The US Public Health Service has identified 22 human diseases that are linked to improper solid waste management. Multiple studies have demonstrated a link between garbage burning and diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and heart attack. Garbage burning, which is classified as the third biggest cause of greenhouse emission in the country, is responsible for releasing carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carcinogenic hydrocarbons, along with particulate matter into the air, states a recent Assoham-EY report.