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Waste Management: A Market that Serves Everyone

By now it is a well-known fact that India is facing a massive garbage crisis; across the country, cities are drowning in piles of garbage. From Mumbai to Bengaluru to Delhi, the side effects are starting to show. From clogged waterways to running out of landfill space the repercussions are tremendous. In Delhi, just a couple of strikes by garbage collectors – the city witnessed massive garbage pile up along roadsides and exposed the rate at which urban India generates trash. It is also more evident than before that a one-size-fits-all solution won’t apply in India, where housing societies, corporate parks and factories all have very distinctive types of garbage generation.

Data indicates that 377 million people in urban India generate 72 million tonnes (MT) of garbage per day. Approximately, 45 MT of this is untreated waste is becoming a source of environmental pollution and further contaminating water resources. The kind of garbage India generates too is changing thanks to improved standards of living and increased consumption patterns; plastic waste and e-waste are growing rapidly, and state handled organizations don’t have the capacity and nor the capability to deal with this new surge.

Along with the clean Indian mission Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, innovative thinking is required to solve the larger problem of waste. And, existing civic administrations with limited facilities and capacities can’t manage it all. According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Co., the next decade India is going to see 69 metros which will each house 78 per cent of India’s population. Quite obviously, the waste that will get generated will be directly proportionate to this population.

But all is not so bleak! Statista (amongst other research) projected that the global waste management market will hit a whopping 530 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.There is a clear business opportunity in waste. It is well documented that if waste is handled efficiently via a robust model It will prove to be a:

  • Revenue Generator

  • GHG Mitigator

  • Green Job Creator

  • Oil Revitalizer

Currently, there are 3 widely utilized models for organizing waste collection and collectors alike and these have proved to be successful especially in developing countries across the globe: microenterprises, cooperatives, and public-private partnerships. Facilitators in terms of innovative social enterprises, based on circularity, are also springing up across the country to define lucrative opportunities in the waste sector. Additionally, there are thousands of microenterprises across India that serve specific neighborhoods that lack municipal waste collection services. This serves as a clear win-win situation since these interventions provide income opportunities for the waste collectors associated with these micro-enterprises. However, they need all the support they can get if we want to solve this mammoth of an issue. These efforts need to be bolstered with the unabashed support from citizens, starting with handling and managing their waste within their own societies.

Organization & Communities wanting to take action need to simply join the incredible work that’s already happening across the globe and connect with the peers and experts who can help make this change happen.

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