Municipal Solid Waste
Integrated Solid Waste Management
Case Studies
Directory of Companies in MSW
MSW Video Clips
List of NGOs
State Pollution Control Boards
Bioreactor Landfill as a new technology


1. Municipal Solid Waste

Garbage is generally referred to “Waste” and is also termed as rubbish, trash, junk, unwanted or undesired material.As per the Municipal Solid Waste (Management &Handling) Rule,2000 garbage is define as Municipal Solid Waste which includes commercial and residential wastes generated in a municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excluding industrial hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes Municipal solid waste consists of household waste, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets. This garbage is generated mainly from residential and commercial complexes.

2. Main Sources of Municipal Waste –

  • House hold waste
  • Commercials:
  • Street sweeping
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Clinics and dispensaries
  • Construction and demolition
  • Horticulture
  • Sludge


3. Composition of Municipal Solid Waste in India
In India the biodegradable portion dominates the bulk of Municipal Solid Waste. Generally the biodegradable portion is mainly due to food and yard waste

With rising urbanization and change in lifestyle and food habits, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing rapidly and its composition changing. There are different categories of waste generated, each take their own time to degenerate (as illustrated in the table below).


4. Life Cycle of Municipal Solid Waste

5. Municipal Solid Waste Management Practices in India

The term municipal solid waste refers to solid waste from houses, streets and public places, shops, offices, and hospitals. Management of these types of waste is most often the responsibility of Municipal or other Governmental authorities. Except in the metropolitan cities, SWM is the responsibility of a health officer who is assisted by the engineering department in the transportation work. The activity is mostly labour intensive, and 2-3 workers are provided per 1000 residents served. The municipal agencies spend 5-25% of their budget on SWM
A typical waste management system in a low- or middle-income country like India includes the following elements:

  • Waste generation and storage
  • Segregation, reuse, and recycling at the household level
  • Primary waste collection and transport to a transfer station or community bin
  • Street sweeping and cleansing of public places
  • Management of the transfer station or community bin
  • Secondary collection and transport to the waste disposal site
  • Waste disposal in landfills

But in most of the Indian cities open dumping is the Common Practices which is adversely affecting on environment and Public health.

6. Adverse Effect of open dump

An open dumping is defined as a land disposal site at which solid wastes are disposed of in a manner that does not protect the environment, are susceptible to open burning, and are exposed to the elements, vectors, and scavengers.
Open dumping can include solid waste disposal facilities or practices that pose a reasonable probability of adverse effects on health or the environment.

Health Effect

  • The health risks associated with illegal dumping are significant. Areas used for open dumping may be easily accessible to people, especially children, who are vulnerable to the physical (protruding nails or sharp edges) and chemical (harmful fluids or dust) hazards posed by wastes.
  • Rodents, insects, and other vermin attracted to open dump sites may also pose health risks. Dump sites with scrap tires provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can multiply 100 times faster than normal in the warm stagnant water standing in scrap tire causing several illnesses.
  • Poisoning and chemical burns resulting from contact with small amounts of hazardous, chemical waste mixed with general waste during collection & transportation.
  • Burns and other injuries can occur resulting from occupational accidents and methane gas exposure at waste disposal sites.

Environment pollution
Air pollution

Dust generated from on-site vehicle movements, and placement of waste and materials

Water pollution
Runoff from open dump sites containing chemicals may contaminate wells and surface water used as sources of drinking water open dumping can also impact proper drainage of runoff, making areas more susceptible to flooding when wastes block ravines, creeks, culverts, and drainage basins & also contamination of groundwater resources and surface water from leachate emissions.

Soil Contamination
Permanent or temporary loss of productive land

Global Warming and Climate Change
In most of the cities & towns the municipal solid waste is being dumped & burnt in open spaces without understanding the adverse impacts on the environment. The waste in the dumping ground undergoes various anaerobic reactions produces offensive Green House gases such as CO2, CH4 etc. These gases are contributing potentially to Global Warming & Climate Change phenomenon.

Effects of MSW on environment and human health 

  1. Report - Occupational and Environmental Health Issues of Solid Waste Management Special Emphasis on Middle- and Lower-Income Countries - Sandra Cointreau – A World Bank Report.
  2. Information - Health and Environmental Effects of Burning Municipal Solid Waste (pdf)
  3. Information Municipal Solid Waste effect on public health and Environment(Pdf)
  4. Case Study- Health Implications Of Solid Waste Disposal: Case Study Of Olusosun Dumpsite, Lagos, Nigeria (pdf)
  5. Presentation -Impact of Solid Waste on Health and the Environment - A presentation by Arnold ,Funmilayo Akinbode,Walden University
  6. Research Paper -Solid Waste Treatment and Disposal: Effects on public Health and Environment Safety Paper by Odhiambo E.O. Thomas ,Rotich Henry (PDF)
  7. Article - Health hazards and waste management by Lesley Rushto
  8. Municipal Solid Waste and Green house gas emission

7. Integrated Solid waste Management
Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) is a tool to determine the most energy-efficient, least-polluting ways to deal with the various components & items of a community’s Solid Waste stream.
The twin goals of ISWM are to:

  • Retain as much as possible of that energy & those materials in a useful state.
  • Avoid releasing that energy or matter into the environment as a pollutant.

Benefits of Integrated Solid waste management
The concept of ISWM plan derives from the necessity to look at alternative sources of collection, transportation and most importantly, disposal to ensure a healthy living environment in urban cities.

Local and regional economies benefit by the continued exchange value of the reclaimed materials and products and the jobs created in reprocessing and reselling them.

National and global resource natural depletion is reduced, contributing to a more sustainable long-term economy.

Pollution from landfills is reduced because many toxic or otherwise polluting materials are diverted from the landfills, and because the overall volume of land filled material is reduced.

8. Legal framework for Municipal Solid Waste in India

Municipal Solid Waste (Managment & Handling ) Rule was notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India [vide No.S.O.908 (B) dated the 25th September 2000]. The objective of these Rules was to make every municipal authority responsible for the implementation of the various provisions of the Rules within its territorial area and also to develop an effective infrastructure for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of Municipal Solid Wastes. The Civic bodies have the responsibility to enforce these rules.

The major functions of civic body include

  • Prohibiting littering of street
  • Organizing house to house waste collection.
  • Conducting awareness programs to disseminate information to public.
  • Providing adequate community storage facilities.
  • Use of colour code bins and promotion of waste segregation.
  • Transport of wastes in covered vehicles.
  • Processing of wastes by adopting an appropriate combination of composting, anaerobic digestion, Pellatisation etc.
  • Upgradation of the existing dump sites and Disposal of inert wastes in sanitary landfills.

As per the Rules, the citizens are responsible for

  • Segregation of wastes at source.
  • Avoid littering of streets.
  • Delivery of wastes in accordance with the delivery system notified by the respective Civic body.

Detail Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rule ,2000

Other Countries Municipal Solid Waste Rules and Regulations

EPA -Rule and Implementation Information for Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills - 
EPA-Non-hazardous Waste Regulations- 
EPA Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Regulations- 
 Statutes, Regulations, and Regulatory Guidance-

Articles /News

  1. 24 - all the Articles & News related to Solid Waste Management from national Newspaper and Magazines
  2. The Views paper – Environment -Urban Waste Management-February6, 2010
  3. Manure from Municipal Solid Waste – Sumeet Kumar Sharma (Chemical Weekly )
  4. The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management
  5. The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management - Abstract from recent issue
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