Indian States In Urgent Need Of Construction Debris Management Plan
The amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste generated in the country has risen to unexpected levels over the years. While states are busy conceptualising innovative measures and new regulations to tackle the menace, private contractors continue with unscientific dumping right under the administration’s nose. The violators are mostly the local contractors or developers operating where construction of residential or commercial buildings happen.
In India the waste obtained per year from the construction and demolition activities is to the tune of over 550 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Dumping of construction and demolition waste puts severe pressure on already scarce land space and reduces the lifespan of the landfills. The government has been analysing the feasibility of a well laid out debris management plan to deal with the issue. In 2016, The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had introduced new rules for the management of debris from construction as well as demolition activities. This was aimed to stop the disposal of construction waste, often laden with toxic materials, in open spaces or landfills as well as drains, water bodies and forest regions.
MakaanIQ brings more insights on the construction and demolition (C&D) waste generation in the country:
The state of affairs
Firstly, there is no proper estimation done regarding the quantity of waste secured or any permanent site demarcated for such dumping. This coupled with the lack of regulations and their implementation only makes matters worse. In most of the cases illegally dumped waste products make their way into choked landfills, rivers, canals or other natural features causing serious threat to the environment.
What is missing?
- There has been an absence of vigilance on the part of the municipal bodies. In a cascading effect, the inefficiency ultimately goes down to the level of the developers who are not being equipped with proper C&D waste disposal guidelines resulting in illegal dumping of the solid wastes.
- A framework that defines concrete law for disposal, recycling methods, fines for offenders and no point of contact to voice concerns - all have collectively magnified the problem.
- Furthermore, dust emerging from demolition work is another major problem contributing around 20 per cent of the pollution levels in major cities.
The constituents of construction and demolition waste
The C&D waste includes non-recyclable concrete and masonry waste that amount to over 50 per cent of the total waste generated and the rest are some reusable items such as bricks, wood, metal, tiles, etc. Mostly, hazardous materials lurk under these piles of garbage. However, the Bureau of Indian Standards does not permit use of recyclable construction materials or the products manufactured by recycling plants.
The efforts taken in various states
The Environment Ministry came up with the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 under which local authorities had to commission C&D waste plants in a period of 18 months for cities with million-plus population; within two years for cities with population up to 10 lakhs and within three years for those with population of less than 5 lakh.
Smart city projects for Ludhiana along with Jalandhar and Amritsar is taking shape. Recently, Project DPR of construction and demolition waste management facility in Ludhiana along with other facilities have been prepared by the authorities.
In an effort to engage citizens in curbing cases of illegal dumping of debris or garbage, the Navi Mumbai Municipal corporation (NMMC) has offered cash reward to people who help in identifying such instances within the city limits, especially in mangrove areas. The municipal body wants the local people of Navi Mumbai to take and mail the pictures of the vehicles dumping debris on the roadsides, post which suitable action would be taken against the offenders while offering the volunteers a cash reward worth Rs 1,000. Civic ward officers have been appointed as the nodal officers for enforcing this scheme.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has been considering a proposal to recycle the C&D waste generated into construction material. Construction of two metro corridors in the city is in progress. As per a suggestion by a senior MMRDA official, the waste generated during the construction works can be recycled into reusable raw materials for building activities, thereby saving costs.
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram plans to start a construction and demolition waste processing unit. Last year The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued notices to the Haryana government and the municipal bodies regarding setting up a construction and demolition (C&D) waste plant in Basai wetlands, after concerns were raised by environmentalists. The corporation of Gurugram defended its case stating permission was obtained from the Haryana Pollution Control Board.