This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jayant Sethi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Wasting Your Waste Is A Bad Idea

More from Jayant Sethi

Last year, the collapse of Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill site drew the attention of many citizens, regarding the big threat that our own waste poses for our future. Usually, this problem is considered small when compared to the other problems that our country is facing now. But, it is this very thought that has made this problem even bigger and more dangerous.

The per capita waste generated in India ranges from 200-600 grams per day (the cumulative total being 62 million tonnes every year). Due to the efficiency of our present system, 70-80% of this waste is collected, and 22-28% of this waste is processed and treated.

To deal with this mess which our own waste has created, a petition was filed, following which the Supreme Court of India had appointed a committee called the Burman Committee. Based on the recommendations of that committee, the government of India, in 2000, framed the Municipal Solid Wastes(Management and Handling) Rules for effective solid waste management. The rules recommended the use of different technologies by municipal bodies to reduce the ill-effects of waste.

Even today, many citizens and towns have not even initiated these measures even though it is an obligatory function. On the other hand, some small towns like Suryapet (in Telangana), Bobbili (in Andhra Pradesh) and Namakkal (in Tamil Nadu) have become zero garbage towns by just following these rules since 2003. They received no financial input from the state or the Centre. However, due to their commitment and because they formed a good management body, they were able to set an example for other towns.

In 2016, these rules were revised and renamed as the Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules which now extend to urban and industrial areas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the SWM rules have been followed. Neither have the relevant agencies been empowered. The activist who had filed the petition earlier had suggested that a Solid Waste Management Cell should be formed for each state. According to the petitioner, such a Cell should reward the cities with good performance (as regards waste management) and fine those which do not follow the rules.

The key challenges to solving this problem are:

1. The agencies responsible for implementation have not not been geared up and empowered.

2. Community engagement has not taken off.

3. Suitable infrastructure has not been developed, and the incentive system has not been altered successfully.

The possible solutions to these challenges can be:

1. Community engagement to drive deep behavioral changes.

A first step towards that can be the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s pitching model that involves citizens composting their waste and the civic agency buying it from them. These composts will be used in the city’s parks, before the waste is taken to waste plants. This will encourage people to start segregating and making composts at home. Other such initiatives can also be implemented.

2. The other solution to the challenge is inculcating the prowess to make right technological decisions.

For instance, the problem of plastic waste is a menace for the world, since the waste takes millions of years to degrade and causes a big threat to environment. However, an Indian professor in Madurai, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, has given us a possible solution to this problem by using this plastic to make long-lasting roads. A dumping ground in Mumbai’s Gorai was treated using herbal methods, enzymes and bacteria. This was another great initiative to solve the problems associated with landfill sites.

3. Political capital to make the requisite by-laws and enforcing them is the next solution to this problem. To ensure this, increasing taxes on fresh material may be increased, thereby encouraging people to start reusing materials.

4. Last but not the least, it needs to be ensured that human capital on a large scale follows all the  aspects of this process – from planning, research to implementation. This is a solution which is being commendably followed by Kerala’s Alappuzha city, which was even placed second in the United Nations Environment Assembly’s list for smart waste management.

As individuals, we should always follow the 4Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for efficiently handling our waste. Start segregating your waste at home into dry and wet waste. A major portion of the waste generated in India is wet waste, which can be converted to a compost. So, start composting at home to turn wastes into resources.

It is very easy to blame the authorities instead of doing something constructive ourselves. It’s high time to realise the damage our own waste can do to our future. So, start working on it now, before it gets too late.

You must be to comment.

More from Jayant Sethi

Similar Posts

By Youth Action Hub- India (Delhi)

By shakeel ahmad

By Priyasmita Dutta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below