Sunday, December 16, 2012

Towards a Zero Waste City

Solid Waste Management is becoming a great issue for our cities and towns. Conventional landfill areas are getting exhausted and additional ones very difficult to locate. For Kolkata / Salt Lake / New Town Rajarhat, the problem will become more and more acute as the years pass. What is needed is therefore a concerted effort at policy level, implementation level and personalised behavioral level so that we not only emphasise the 3Rs (Reduce, Re-use and Recycle), but also use technological and managerial expertise.

Last Friday, I had a discussion with HE Mr Sanjay Wadvani, British Deputy High Commissioner of Kolkata in Hidco Bhavan and mentioned that Zero Waste is a goal that we would like to focus on.

I quote from a concept paper of UNRCD presented recently in India at the end.
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Here s a clipping from today's Times of India:

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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or Rio+20 Conference, highlighted sustainable cities as one of the priority areas. Together with growing urbanization, waste management is becoming a major and growing public health and environmental concern in urban areas of many developing countries. With the diversification of waste streams worldwide as well as the growing presence of e‐waste, chemicals, hazardous and toxic elements in the general waste stream, the complexity and daunting nature of waste management challenges have gone beyond the capacity of many municipalities – in terms of finance, technology, and institutional mandate, resulting in unprecedented impact on quality of life, human health, freshwater resources and wetlands, local environment and ecosystem, including costal and marine ecosystem. Open dumping, open burning and over reliance on land‐filling is still predominant in many parts across the world and Asia, without much efforts towards prevention and minimization of wastes at first hand. At the same time, absence of effective policies and programs at city and local level and lack of required infrastructures (for collection, storage, handling/processing, treatment, recycling, waste to energy, etc.) have made most of the Asian cities beyond livable.             
In the Rio+20 outcome document, Future We Want, the Heads of State calls for increasing resource efficiency and reduction of waste to achieve green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and new and innovative public‐private partnerships to enhance capacity and technology for environmentally sound waste management. In response to this, there is a critical need for city and municipality authorities to fundamentally orient the policy directions aiming towards resource efficient and zero waste society. Zero waste has been recognized as a valuable concept to guide the cities and nations in the world. The concept of Zero Waste aims to minimize use of resources and maximize the ongoing benefits of the intrinsic value within the waste generated by society.    

1 comment:

  1. A whole bunch of updates in the last 3 days !!!

    Zero waste is a fantastic concept. Thanks for taking up this. In fact that can act as a money spinner for HIDCO, KMC and West Bengal Govt as well.

    A nice article had appeared on this a few months back in Deccan Herald.

    Facelift for Karunamoyee Bus Depot is a nice idea. Hope we will build some restaurants, cafes as well as toilets there.

    Also can we build a multi-level car parking there. That will not only help in generating fees but also help the IT professionals in kolkata as they can park their cars there.

    Also it will reduce traffic snarls in narrow stretches of Sector 5 if the bus depot is connected by skywalks and walkathons to sector 5.