Waste Reduction & Management for Sustainable Urban Development

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SDG 11.6 aims at reducing waste and air pollution in urban areas to improve the immediate living environment for urban residents. Currently, most Indian cities are affected by the problems of waste generation and air pollution. The environmental and health impacts of air pollution and solid waste management present several challenges coming in the way of sustainable development. The rising volumes of unmanaged waste and pollution levels are leading to land degradation, loss of biodiversity, exposure to harmful chemicals and gases, less access to green and open spaces, and disruptions in biogeochemical cycles, and as a result a serious threat to the health of city dwellers.

SDG 11.6 is strongly associated with the other sustainable development goals. For example, with SDG
9.1 on improved drainage and flood protection combined with technology upgrade; with SDG 3.9 on the positive impact of clean environment on health; with SDG 6.5 on integrated water resource management coupled with solid waste management; with SDG 12.4 on preventing contamination of water bodies by hazardous chemicals; with SDG 14.3 & 15.3 on preventing pollution of marine and terrestrial ecosystem; with SDG 6.1 & 6.2 on ensuring collection, disposal and treatment of waste, and access to safe sanitation and clean drinking water.

Also Read: Disaster Resilience for Sustainable Urban Development

The Government of India has taken several initiatives— Swachh Bharat Mission 1.0 & 2.0, Municipal Solid Waste Management Manual (2016), Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, National Clean Air Programme—to control the issues of waste and air pollution. These initiatives have strengthened liquid and solid waste management and reduced the adverse per capita environmental impact on cities along with active people’s participation. The local level efforts from the states and city governments have also led to enabling processes, innovative and collaborative solutions.

There are several projects at NIUA which contribute towards SDG 11.6. Key ones include: Low Carbon & Resilient Cities, Climate Smart Cities, Sanitation Capacity Building Platform, Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot, Addressing the Urban Drivers of River Health in Ganga Basin, Developing an Urban Water Body Diagnostic Tool, Sustainable, Healthy, Learning Cities and Neighborhoods, and BBSR. NIUA is supporting approximately 3,221 urban local bodies through training and capacity building, exposure workshops, technical support, and policy and advocacy in the areas of solid waste, construction & demolition waste, air pollution, faecal sludge and septage management, non-sewered sanitation, and river management. There are 5 articles that highlight NIUA’s ongoing initiatives to help Indian cities perform better in the areas of waste management. Overall, this issue is a compilation of eight articles and an interview related to waste and septage management, air pollution, and policy initiatives in waste management in India.

Also Read: Need to Make Urban India Disaster-Ready

NIUA is committed to contributing to Indian cities performing better. To achieve this objective, along with our own resources, we partner with media, industry, academia and other government and non-government organisations for effective research, capacity-building and advocacy outcomes. The collaboration of the National Institute of Urban Affairs and eGov magazine is a demonstration of the same. Teams at NIUA and eGov magazine have enthusiastically worked to collate a diverse range of knowledge-base on the cross- cutting issues on waste reduction and management in India for this special issue. My sincere thanks to all the authors who have contributed to this special issue and shared their knowledge to make this issue possible.

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