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Private Players See Big Biz Opportunity In Waste Management

In the government’s agenda of national cleanliness, private players see business opportunity

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India still needs a strong framework of action in waste management to completely eradicate the problem. There is an apparent lack in the systemic tapping of the waste for proper treatment and processing facilities. Much of the waste produced simply ends up in landfills and remains in an unorganized state. The government can only help to an extent. To fill the gaps in the government efforts, it is left to the private players to perform the necessary roles. 

After all by 2025, the waste management market size in India is projected to be worth ~$15 Billion growing at an annual growth rate of 7 per cent. 

Various reports throw up varied numbers of how much garbage is India producing. One report suggests around 6 million tonnes per annum of plastic waste alone is generated in India, which is about 16,000 tonnes per day. Another report pegs it even higher at 26,000 tonnes a day. And this is just the plastic waste.

 Another report says that Urban India, comprising of around 40 crore citizens, generate around 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, or even more. But only around 40 million tonnes is collected of which around 12 million tonnes is treated while the rest in dumped in landfill sites or outside the towns as a big pile of dump.

Targeting awareness gap

Of the various private companies that are playing an active role in the waste-management ecosystem, Grundfos India stands out. Grundfos India, with 200 distributors and 14 offices across India, has been educating underprivileged students from the Kannagi Nagar slum to take the rights decisions with respect to waste disposal and cleanliness through various activities. A spokesperson from Grundfos India says, “With sustainability integrated as a core mind-set, we have been working towards improving waste-management among local communities.” This awareness gap among the citizens is being bridged that fell short in the government’s initiatives. Further, the spokesperson added on the work the company is performing, “In a bid to restore the damage caused by irresponsible waste disposal, we have collaborated with communities to restore local water bodies.” Waste management is not about managing waste and leaving it at that, but also providing space for something else (non-waste).

Quick access to new advanced technologies

The one area where government administration greatly falls short is in the adoption of newer advanced technologies. It takes time and funds for the government to train the employees with the new technologies coming to the market. This is where the private players are leveraging their roles in the waste-management ecosystem. The Shakti Plastics Industries is a recycling company considered to be a pioneer in the field of plastic waste management and has been in the business since 1969 (five decades). Rahul V. Podaar, Partner, Shakti Plastics India addressing the problem said that the collection of plastic waste needs the adoption of new technologies since the existing method is quite inadequate. 

The Shakti Plastics produces recycled plastic granules that are manufactured using the latest technology. The chemical properties of recycled granules are said to be equivalent prime material and are cheaper than virgin plastic. 

Scaling up CSR activities to support government

IPE Global provides technical assistance in urban infrastructure development, environment, and climate change, among other sectors. Its clients are multilateral & bilateral agencies (like USAID, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN Agencies, DFID, etc.), government (like Niti Aayog), and corporates. With over 100 countries and 900 plus assignments, IPE Global is providing transaction advisory services for integrated solid waste management, processing, disposal and reclamation facilities serving the Greater Chennai area of 8.8 million residents. Master plans for two existing dumping yards will test innovations such as piggyback landfill of existing waste for site reclamation, waste to energy facilities, as well as space maximisation for disposal and treatment in the future. 

Anil Bansal, Director, Urban & Infrastructure, IPE Global & Ganesh Kumar Singh, Associate Director, Urban & Infrastructure, IPE Global comments on the need for the role of the private companies to collaborate with the government. “The government though constantly keeps working and supporting these common causes of concern, but private companies through their CSR funds have been supporting Govt. efforts and also guide govt, officials through their capacity building in this regard,” they added.

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