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WEBINAR: Decentralised Waste Management During COVID-19

New Delhi, India: The coronavirus crisis has highlighted, among other things, the importance of efficient waste management system as a cornerstone of a safe and successful society. Yesterday, leaders from various organisations got together for the event titled Decentralised Waste Management During COVID-19 to discuss some of the best practices for waste management implemented in India.  The webinar was organised by the Green Dream Foundation (GDF) and Smart Cities India expo.

The importance of safety for frontline workers in waste handling to reduce the further spread of the virus was highlighted in this seminar. Ms Youthika Puri, Scientist D at Centre for Pollutions Control Board (CPCB) India, discussed the recently released guidelines by the CPCB to handle waste generated during the pandemic as an effective tool for the protection and safety of all involved.

She highlighted that the key stakeholders for these revised guidelines were the frontline workers, hospitals, quarantine centres, common biomedical waste treatment facilities and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Waste disposal during the COVID-9 crisis in India has come with increased care for workers dealing with the waste directly. Organisations like city governments are also redirecting their resources to reduce contamination and create effective systems for waste management.

Why decentralisation?

EnergyBin unit installed with the capacity to process 2 tonne per day which produces up to 360kWh of electricity.

Mr Ashish Sachdeva, founder and president of GDF, asked and led the conversation on the effectiveness of decentralised solutions for urban centres. He explained that decentralised waste management is a method to treat and process waste locally to increase resource efficiency.

Decentralised systems are often adopted in cities to reduce the burden on central waste management infrastructure, reduce transportation cost and increase the use of by-products by local communities.

Mr Vishal Khalde, founder and chief executive officer of Xeon Waste Managers (A Blue Planet Company), shared at the event the benefit that his decentralised waste management unit could provide. The containerised solution developed by Xeon Waste is an organic waste digester that recovers energy from wet waste in the form of biogas.

He added that other effective decentralised processing methods include Rudra Environmental solution's system to convert plastic waste to fuel and the containerised electronic waste system developed by Smart Creative. Much like EnergyBin, these technologies are all part of the end-to-end platform for sustainable waste technologies created by Blue Planet Environmental Solutions.

“EnergyBin waste solution has not only helped our clients to reduce the cost of disposing of the waste but also helped create a socio-economic change which has led to more awareness about the value of waste.”
- Vishal Khalde, founder and chief executive officer of Xeon Waste Managers

Decentralised waste management has been a successful system in some cities of India, including Agra, according to Mr Arun Prakash, chief executive officer of Agra Smart City Ltd. By using technologies to treat organic waste and selling the by-products such as compost, the city has been able to create an environmentally and financially sustainable model for decentralised waste management.

Waste handling after COVID-19

With the new CPCB guidelines, the local governments have taken the challenge to deliver high quality biomedical and hazard waste treatment. Agra is one such case where despite a growing number of cases, none of the frontline workers handling waste has been affected negatively due to strict safety protocols.

Mr Sameer Unhale, chief executive officer of Thane Smart City Ltd., shared that such a successful endeavour has only been possible due to the support and compliance from the public. He further added that as we move on from this pandemic, we will need to continue developing systems, such as decentralised waste management, that involve communities and inspire social and behavioural change towards sustainable waste management.

“Waste is a resource and we need to see it as such. Moving forward we should shift the focus from centralised systems towards community-based, user-fee models that promote entrepreneurship and development of novel technologies.”
- Sameer Unhale, chief executive officer of Thane Smart City Ltd.

If you would like to see the webinar, you can access the recording here: https://youtu.be/bsuLZHl64Ds

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