Submitted by Ministry of Environment and Forests

(Note: Industrial waste, organic waste and waste agricultural biomass are not mentioned)
Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Municipal solid waste
2. Healthcare waste
3. Hazardous waste
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory
2. Technical and scientific
3. Financial; social
Narrative summary
India (Ministry of Environment and Forests)’s responses to the needs assessment survey suggest that while the country is equipped with policies tackling most waste streams, their enforcement levels are generally unsatisfactory. Low enforcement levels and a lack of voluntary initiative from the public are problems especially for MSW management, a high-priority area for improvement. The responses also show that the country needs to strengthen technical capacity for the environmentally-sound management of some specific waste streams, such as hazardous waste, including healthcare and electronic waste.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
India’s responses rank better MSW management as the highest priority need. The enforcement of policies and regulations is considered as the area in most need of strengthening. Although MSW regulations exist, there is a shortage of skilled human resources in regulatory authorities, compromising the effectiveness of enforcement activities. Local municipalities thus require more staff with a sound knowledge or background in waste management. Alternatively, better coordination and the sharing of responsibilities between different MSW management institutions will also benefit efforts. For some municipalities, funds for waste management facilities also need to be raised. Across the country, however, public awareness and enthusiasm for the 3R initiatives must also be improved. Finally, from a scientific perspective, technologies may need to be modified to suit the waste and climatic conditions in India. The study and experimentation of waste management technology should thu s be investigated as an area of capacity-building.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste management is seen as very important to India. Regulations and technical guidelines for the management of healthcare waste exist, but are not effectively implemented. The responses suggest that this is sometimes caused by the lack of awareness regarding the regulations, either among healthcare staff or even among officials. Hence, the enforcement and awareness of regulations are areas where improvement is clearly needed. It is suggested that small groups of staff focusing on waste management be formed within each healthcare facility. Finally, more funds should be made available for the purchase or improvement of healthc are waste management equipment, while increasing community involvement and education is also an important task.

Hazardous waste
In India, the need for financial support to hazardous waste management is ranked as important. The responses suggest that old hazardous waste has already polluted many areas in the past; there are a number of long-term contaminated sites in the country. Funds thus need to be raised for clean-up operations as well as for the prevention of any further dumping. In the area of scientific understanding, the responses propose the development of innovative technologies for hazardous waste management and clean-up, including its use as a resource or energy recovery. Technical understanding is thus also an important area for capacity- building. Furthermore, the enforcement of hazardous waste regulations needs to be more comprehensive. Skilled human resources for regulatory authorities are in demand, especially for activities such as monitoring hazardous waste disposal in different regions and municipalities.

New e-waste regulations have come into force in India in May 2012, and are expected to improve the state of e-waste management in the country. Funds for management are expected to be provided by waste generators themselves, as e-waste falls under the scope of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws. However, there is still room for improvement; the new regulations need to be supported by better coordination among the private and public sector (such as manufacturers, consumers, collection agencies and regulatory authorities). Technical and scientific capacity-building, including the development of innovative technologies on the recovery of precious metals from e-waste, would also be welcomed. Finally, public awareness of the hazards of e-waste is not yet comprehensive, and also is an area where capacity- building is much needed.

Waste plastics
Regarding the management of waste plastics in India, capacity-building for the regulatory authorities is needed above all. Regulations for the management of waste plastics exist, but should be better enforced by increasing skilled human resources in authorities. Coordination between ministries and municipalities must also be improved. Furthermore, waste management of plastics is not well-understood by societal waste generators. Public awareness of waste segregation and the 3R principle could be improved through educational campaigns. Financially, nevertheless, the management of waste plastics is covered by EPR laws; waste management activities can source financial contributions from plastic manufacturers.