Out of about 1,47,613 metric tonnes of solid waste generated daily across the States, 89,545 metric tonne (or 61 per cent) is processed while the remaining waste is dumped in the open. All statutory towns/cities of the country have been mandated under Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules, 2016 for scientific disposal of its municipal solid waste. However, many municipal bodies continue to dump waste in open spaces, rivers, and nullahs .

The data presented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to Rajya Sabha in March this year shows that Chhattisgarh is the only State which process 90 per cent of the daily solid waste generated. Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh process 87 per cent of the waste followed by Himachal Pradesh and Telangana (78 per cent). Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa fall in the category of States that process 70-72 per cent solid waste. Tamil Nadu processes 68 per cent of its waste. Andhra Pradesh and Punjab process 63 per cent and 61 per cent garbage respectively. Jharkhand and Nagaland process 60 per cent waste.

All other States process less than 60 per cent garbage they generate daily. Meghalaya (4 per cent) and West Bengal (9 per cent) process less than 10 per cent of the waste it generates daily as per the data. Arunachal Pradesh is the only State which does not process any waste.

Land scarcity

Experts have pointed out that municipal bodies themselves are dumping waste onto landfill sites, which are overflowing. Open dumping of waste leads to polluting the surrounding land, groundwater and air. Many cities that running out of land to dump waste are transporting it to smaller towns, suburbs and villages.

“The country cannot be clean until it learns to manage its waste. Governments struggling against massive and ever-growing quantities of solid waste have learned a crucial lesson: there simply isn’t any space for landfills in India today,” stated New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment’s recent report on waste segregation.

The report added that not only is land scarce, but people living near proposed landfill sites often protest against such projects, making them unviable or litigious. “This Not-InMy-Backyard (NIMBY) attitude is good news if it leads to the processing of waste, for reuse as compost or in recycling” CSE added.

Under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U), Central assistance/grants-in-aid up to 35 per cent of the approved Solid Waste Management (SWM) project cost is provided to the States. So far, ₹5,109.82 crores have been released against the allocation of ₹7,365.82 crores under the SWM component.