Surveys to assess the status of municipal solid waste generation, collection, treatment and disposal in 291 Class I cities and 345 Class-II towns, show that more than 52,000 tonnes of solid waste is generated every day with overall per capital contribution of 0.346 kg/day. Out of this, only 2,832 tonnes of waste gets to be treated. The problems in management of wastes relate to its collection, handling, transport and disposal. Segregation of solid wastes is not yet common in India as much of this work is done by the rag pickers after the solid waste has been deposited in public bins.
The haphazard and rapid growth of urban centres is creating scarcity of suitable solid waste disposal sites. Sufficient research findings are , however, available for adequate design of sanitary landfills which are effective in. keeping the surface and ground water free from leachates. Considerable R&D inputs have also gone into the design of disposal sites for industrial solid wastes. Well maintained and operated disposal sites with bio-gas generation facilities are also available in the country.
Comprehensive guidelines are available for Toxic Waste Management including hospital wastes. Handling of solid wastes, however, continues to be a problem area as depicted in Figure-11.
Hazardous wastes management is guided by the principles of -Polluter Pays; Risk reduction and Avoidance of wastes generations. Import of hazardous wastes containing Beryllium, Selenium, Chromium and Thallium is banned. To arrest import/export from nonsignatory countries to the Basle Convention, cyanide, mercury and arsenic bearing wastes are prohibited since December, 96. Work on preparation of National Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals in different States is on. A National Poison Information Centre and a Crisis Alert Systern are already in place.