A Decentralised Approach towards Waste Management in Delhi

A Decentralized Approach Towards Managing Waste in Delhi

Garbage Management - If we do not stop seeking space for landfills, Delhi will have 25 Sq KM of Landfills by 2024.

We have many technology today to ensure to garbage dispose in most environmentally way.

Delhi generates 11000 MT of waste everyday. 60-70% of the waste is organic.
85% of the city doesn’t have door-to-door waste collection facility.
# Agencies involved in waste in Delhi
3 MCDs
New Delhi Municipal Council
Cantonment Board
# Existing landfill sites
Ghazipur (70Acres),
Okhla (56Acres),
Bhlasawa (40Acres)
# Proposed sites:
Jaitpur (26 Acres)
Bawana (150 Acres)

There are centralized Waste to Energy plants and Composting plants in Delhi. The results of the working of these sites must be analyzed for the effectiveness of the initiatives.

The centralized approach of managing waste has failed so far in India. We have been fighting hard to get another place for landfill and it is going to be endless journey.

The shift shall be from centralized to Decentralized approach. We need to look the waste form the “Resource” perspective. That shall give us the solution.

The Approach
Delhi has 2500 dhalao ghar (secondary collection centers) from where the trucks take the waste to the landfill.
All these dhalao ghar can be turned into waste reprocessing centers with the separate solution for decentralized management of waste. The key should be to convert the waste into something useful with economic value.
While thinking about organic waste (over 70% of total waste), we need to move beyond thinking about compost.

New Experiments
Waste management units are being installed near the source of production. Eliminating the need of transportation. This itself reduces the direct cost by over 60% from conventional methods.
These plants are taking the space equivalent to the Dhalaoghar and are managing the waste with “Resource” approach.
Delhi generates over 1000 MT of horticulture waste. This has long been and issue of being burnt openly. Now the new age social enterprises working in waste management domain have converted the same to clean cooking fuel. This has multiple benefits.
The kitchen waste has the potential to be converted to animal feed. The experiment is underway and provided a better alternative to making compost from kitchen/restaurant waste, which was not fining many buyers. While this is happening, composting still provides a better approach then landfilling.
Mandi waste can be converted to cattle feed to get the higher value products.
Bio-gas generation in decentralized plants has been getting new advance formats to be self sustainable.
Efforts are underway to convert plastic waste into RDF and other hydrocarbon products.
These experiments are a good mean to engage the rag pickers in mainstream jobs while generates huge jobs while keeping the cost highly optimized for civic bodies.

This needs a change in the mindset. We need to encourage the experiments in the waste management to keep getting the new solution in the limelight. If we don’t experiment we shall always be using old methods.

If we need to minimize the requirement of landfill sites and get the cost of management of waste in our cities, we need to get the “management” back to the waste management. Rather then just keep trucking the waste to the landfill sites.


Lets set up small-decentralized units for managing various kind of waste with a capacity of 1-2 MT of waste. In the pilot phase
Set up 50 units for managing horticulture waste to convert into clean cooking fuel and higher value organic manure
Convert 50 dhalao ghar to decentralized waste management centers to product farm feed.
Convert Okhla mandi into Zero Waste Mandi with decentralized solution for waste management.
Install 5 plastic waste management units.
Install 5 smart bio-gas systems at community cooking places with over 1 ton of food waste.

This will require a combined approach from all the civic agencies.
Pilot phase –18 months
Analysis of the results – continuous process
Scaling phase – 60 months post pilot.
Desired result:- Minimize dependence on landfill in Delhi.
Criteria of decentralization:- minimize use of motorized vehicle.

NDMC has already placed orders for a 70 tonne Waste to Energy Gasification plant through PPP route. NDMC has also commissioned 4 Decentralized Horticulture Waste Management units & one Food Waste Management unit. NDMC is also examining total Waste management on purely Power Purchase Agreement, with private players. more  

View all 26 comments Below 26 comments
Incineration of domestic garbage is not an ideal solution for disposal- in view of atmospheric pollution that it causes. We already have an Incineration plant near Siddharth Enclave in South Delhi which has not been functioning. The best way is to segregate the garbage into dry and wet at the collection point itself as described below: This was brought out very well in one of the episodes of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ TV hosted by Amir Khan last year. The Pune and Kochi municipalities have already mandated segregation at source i.e. the homes before collection.

2. Currently, garbage is being collected from our homes every day thru the system put in place by the RWA and delivered to Dhalao’s/ bins provided by the MCD. These Dhalao’s, typically located on the edge of roads present an ugly sight emanating huge stench – the stray animals/birds making it worse. The rag-pickers salvage some recyclable garbage from these Dhalao’s and the balance is collected by MCD and dumped in land- fills around the city- which themselves present an ugly sight with hazardous toxic wastes laying side by side.
3. The domestic garbage is broadly categorized into:
a) Wet Garbage (typically 10 – 15% of total household garbage) - consisting of kitchen waste - including vegetable and fruit peels and pieces, tea leaves, coffee grounds, eggshells, bones and entrails, fish scales, as well as cooked food (both veg and non-veg) is bio-degradable and can easily be subjected to composting by soil micro-organisms which takes only a week or two.
b) Dry Garbage (major portion of the total waste) - consisting of paper, plastics, metal, glass, rubber, thermocol, foam, fabric, leather, rexine, wood – anything that can be kept for an extended period without decomposing. The dry waste takes a long time to de-generate , e.g paper – 20 to 30 days; cotton cloth – 5 to 6 months; aluminium and other metal items such as cans – 100 to 500 years; plastic bags- one million years; glass – undetermined. Most of the dry waste is re-cyclable and can generate some cash flows if segregated from the wet waste – best at source itself.
Part of dry waste is sanitary waste, typically 0-0.25% of total waste) consisting of diapers, sanitary napkins, condoms, bandages. This can be disposed off on daily basis but in a separate bag / wrapped in a newspaper.
4. Considering the situation as above, it is imperative the wet and dry waste is segregated at homes before collection so that wet waste is delivered to the Dhalao bins for evacuating by the MCD and dry waste is further segregated into plastic, paper, cartons etc by the waste collector and directly sold by the collecting staff and earn money for themselves.
5. While the wet waste typically starts stinking in a day or so, the dry waste, if it is clean and dry will not stink even after a week. Plastic sachets/cartons/tetra packs of milk, curds, oil, idli batter, any liquid food items can easily be drained (and rinsed) of all their contents before being put in the dry waste bag.
6. How do we practice waste management at home?
6.1 Keep separate containers for dry and wet waste in the kitchen
6.2 Keep two bags for dry waste collection- paper and plastic , for the rest of the
6.3. Keep plastic from the kitchen clean and dry and drop into the dry waste bin. Keep glass /plastic containers rinsed of food matter
6.4. Send wet waste out of the home daily.
6.5. Store and send dry waste out of the home, once a week.
6.6. Keep a paper bag for throwing the sanitary waste
Garbage collection through the staff can continue as being done currently. They will collect wet waste from all residents, and all floors, on all days Monday thru Sunday and will also collect dry waste on Sundays. Disposal will be as described above at sl. No. 4 above. more  
I am in agreement with Shri Om Mishra. The garbage collection and disposal does require more methodical approach. I would like to add that the local garbage collection dumps be made as underground silos sloping backwards from the roads edge, covered with RCC slab with a big opening in the rear for the garbage lifting truck to be able to clear it. The front portion (towards the road) be provided with a raised hopper high enough for animals to be unable to reach but for individuals to be able to throw their garbage bag in. more  
Yes, Om Mishra ji, we (Govt) should manage to dispose off the garbage by
using new tech of production of bio gas and energy etc. more  
That is necessity for the current environment. more  
Garbage is rich resource, needs sorting and recycle, not to be buried at all. more  
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