Tag Archives: Mumbai

Blog 5 – Climate Change Series – The ‘Waste’ Connection


‘REduce, REuse, REcycle’, the 3 Rs, is the consensus mantra to reduce the effect of waste and waste management practices on Climate Change. How does Waste impact Climate Change?

“The climate benefits of waste practices result from avoided landfill emissions , reduced raw material extraction and manufacturing, recovered materials and energy replacing virgin materials and fossil-fuel energy sources, carbon bound in soil through compost application, and carbon storage due to recalcitrant materials in landfills. In particular, there is general global consensus that the climate benefits of waste avoidance and recycling far outweigh the benefits from any waste treatment technology, even where energy is recovered during the process. (UNEP)

As we know, Green House Gases (GHGs) are a major cause of Climate Change as they trap the heat radiating from the earth back to space, resulting in global warming. One such GHG is released from the breakdown of Organic waste in landfills – Methane. (GRID UNEP)

In 2016, Deonar Dumping Ground in the Indian metropolitan city of Mumbai caught fire recurrently. This is a 300 acre ground (largest in Asia) used since 1927 to dump at-least half of  garbage (untreated) of Mumbai.(NDTV) . Among other reasons for this is emission of methane, a flammable GHG.

(Pic: Courtesy, NDTV)

If less waste is generated, less spontaneous emission of methane would be there and therefore less warming due to its ‘greenhouse effect’.

Another dimension of the same is lowered GHG emissions as reduced need of production & distribution of goods due to greater application of 3Rs, result in lesser need of energy from burning of fossil fuels.  This point is well illustrated in the following diagram. (EPA)

Diagram: Life-cycle of a Product (EPA)

Further, even waste management practices like anaerobic decomposition result in GHG emissions. Traditional “waste” management represents 1 to 5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.(EPA)

Conclusion – At our level, greater  application of 3Rs is a significant way to avoid waste and reduce emissions leading to Climate change.

Thanks for Reading!









High Air Pollution in Indian cities (based on NDTV Reports) – Solutions!

Can India afford to let air quality in all its cities degenerate to health and life-affecting levels? Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and others – all reported as hovering over ‘Hazardous levels’ of Air pollution by NDTV Pollution Report 


A) According to TERI et al Report (The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), A) University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB)), transport sector contributes to upto 50% of Particulate Matter (PM) in the air, which is a major component of air pollution in Indian cities

– http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/air-pollution-set-to-rise-drastically-in-indian-cities-report-619537 –

B) The World Health Organization estimates that, of the 67 risk factors studied in its Global Burden of Disease project, outdoor air pollution was ranked 5th in mortality and 7th in health burden in India.

– Source: NDTV (November 11, 2014)  http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/air-pollution-set-to-rise-drastically-in-indian-cities-report-619537 –

C) Construction waste also contributes to the PM content in our rapidly growing cities

– http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/wide-gap-between-new-delhi-beijing-smog-policies-479948


A) TERI et al report says that drastic reduction (more than 90 per cent) of Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) from the transportation sector, primarily diesel vehicles and buses, will have the largest and most immediate beneficial impact on human health and food – Immediate government action required

B) Old vehicles to be banned from the roads – http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/vehicles-older-than-15-years-won-t-be-allowed-in-delhi-says-green-court-626453

C) Burning waste, particularly plastic, in the open, becomes a punishable offence

– http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/vehicles-older-than-15-years-won-t-be-allowed-in-delhi-says-green-court-626453

D)Compliance to stringent vehicular emission standards and higher fuel efficiency norms – Urgent need for Government to step in (R.K.Pachauri)

– http://auto.ndtv.com/news/better-fuel-stricter-norms-needed-to-curb-air-pollution-573680

E) Polluting industrial units be monitored for their air and waste emissions – action to be taken against erring units as the iron factories in Uttarakhand

– http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/national-green-tribunal-concerned-over-rampant-air-pollution-in-uttarakhand-561662

F) Spreading public awareness is another critical area – While Government needs to proactively impose stringent norms and adopt new greener technologies, people need to know the status of air pollution and impact it can have over their health and life; and also how they can not exacerbate the problem at individual level –


Toward Zero Waste: Waste Pickers Running Biogas Plants in Mumbai, India | Other Worlds

Toward Zero Waste: Waste Pickers Running Biogas Plants in Mumbai, India | Other Worlds.

Classic example of waste creating real jobs for those who really need it (low-income group female waste pickers) in a city which badly needs (organic) waste management (Mumbai)

Kudos to NGO, Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS) for bringing to existence, Parisar Vikas (PV) program to train informal recyclers as “parisar bhaginis,” or “neighborhood sisters.”

A key innovation in PV’s model is the adoption of a locally viable technology for biogas creation, called the Nisargruna Biogas Plant.

Plant operation is relatively simple as the technology was designed to be used by non-skilled workers. (More on this in the above article)


  • Unlike composting operations, a biogas plant does not create unpleasant decomposing odors
  • Does not take up a large amount of space – Only 50 m2 are required for a plant that processes 100 kg per day.
  • The resulting biogas is 85 percent methane, more efficient than the 50 percent methane typical of most biogas plants, which SMS attributes to Nisargruna’s two-step aerobic/anaerobic process.
  • Reduces the need for waste pick up, transport, and disposal, as well as the pollution associated with these activities. It also avoids the pollution that results from landfilling wet waste: methane emissions, toxic leachate, and odors.

In the course of my Online course on Solid Waste Management by UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education, Netherlands, I made a presentation on Solid Waste Management in Mumbai, India. Please find it in the following link. http://www.slideshare.net/Pratimapandey/solid-waste-management-in-mumbai-india Kindly let me … Continue reading