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Demystifying C&D Waste Governance in India - Part 2

Welcome back to our 2-part series on demystifying governance of C&D waste in India. In our previous article on Demystifying C&D Waste Governance, we focused on the Administrators, i.e. the government and regulatory bodies who made the Rules and oversee their compliance. In Part 2, we focus on the governance of the “on-ground” Executors of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016 (hereon called “Rules”). This article focuses on the following stakeholders:

  1. Waste Generators

  2. Service Providers

  3. Waste Recyclers

1. Waste Generators

In India, a C&D waste generator is “any person or association of persons or institution, residential and commercial …who undertakes construction of or demolition of any civil structure which generate construction and demolition waste.” [1] Further, there exists a distinction between “those who generate more than 20 tons or more in one day or 300 tons per project in a month[1] who we refer to as bulk waste generators and those who generate less than that, who we call small waste generators.

So as a first step, ask yourself, "What kind of waste generator am I?"

Use our Malba Calculator below to estimate how much C&D waste your project will generate. This is based on the thumb rules by TIFAC (2001).

C&D Waste Calculator for Indian Construction Projects
Fig: Malba Calculator

Once you know what category of waste generator you are, here are the duties you must follow.

All Waste Generators (including Small Waste Generators)

  1. Segregation and storage of C&D waste within the premises until collected

  2. Keeping separate from solid waste

  3. Depositing at an authorised facility for Collection & Processing

  4. Prevent any illegal dumping so as to prevent obstruction to traffic, public and drains

  5. Pay relevant charges to authorities for collection, transportation, processing and disposal.

Bulk Waste Generators

If you are a bulk waste generator, all of the above rules apply to you, as well as some special rules as given below:

  1. Draft and submit a Waste Management Plan to local authorities to get approval for construction, demolition or remodelling work

  2. Segregate C&D waste into four streams - a. Concrete and Soil, b. Steel, c. Wood and Plastics, d. Bricks and Mortar.

  3. Pay Relevant Charges to concerned local authorities for the processing of C&D waste, in addition to storage, collection, and transportation.

In Delhi, a sum of Rs. 72.6 per sqft is paid to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for collection, transport, processing and disposal. But since no such service is offered to people, a good question to ask is where is this money going?

2. Service Providers

If you’ve been to any Indian city, it is a common sight to see dug-up roads and sidewalks, often done to lay down service lines for electricity, sewage, water, telephone etc. These agencies who provide such services in our cities are what the Rules call Service Providers [1]. They often have to excavate and demolish as part of their work and hence are major producers of C&D waste.

These Service Providers, as per the Rules, were supposed to have “prepared within six months from the date of notification of these rules, a comprehensive waste management plan covering segregation, storage, collection, reuse, recycling, transportation and disposal of construction and demolition waste generated within their jurisdiction.” [1]

Further, it is the duty of these service providers to remove all C&D waste generated daily and clean the area, or as per the duration, quantity and type of waste generated, provide appropriate storage and collection facility in consultation with the concerned local authority.

So the next time you see such a work obstructing traffic in your neighbourhood, ask about their waste management plan!

3. Recyclers

Once State Governments have allocated land for setting up storage, processing and recycling facilities for C&D waste, interested Recyclers can apply using Form 1 of the Rules [1]. This is the process through which Recycling Plants are being set up around the country. The Recycling Plants in India are usually set up as Public-Private Partnerships, with some of the most popular contracts being design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) where the recycler bears most of the financial burden, or an engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) contract where the capital expense is borne by the urban local body. These contracts last around 20 to 25 years, after which they are handed over to the municipal corporation.

As per the Rules, the conditions that recycling plants must comply with include:

  1. Maintaining a buffer zone of no development around the facility. This is done to maintain and noise and dust barrier with the surroundings.

  2. Monitoring incoming vehicles and measuring C&D waste brought in. This helps create a digital log of C&D waste being treated in the city.

  3. Taking appropriate measures to curb dust generation, prevent stagnation of surface water, prevent noise pollution, and treat effluents, if any, to meet the discharge norms as per Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.

  4. Provide utilities such as drinking water, sanitary facilities, proper lighting for night-time operations, and safety equipment for all workers.

  5. Monitoring work zone air quality and noise in and around the Recycling Plant.

Loopholes in C&D Waste Policy

Now that you know what the roles and responsibilities for waste administrators and executors are, here is what is still missing from the waste policy.

  • Exclusion of C&D Waste Transport: C&D waste transport is currently outsourced to third-party transporters. C&D waste transport requires a coordinated effort between appropriate vehicles (small to big tippers, as per the project) which third-party transporters often do not have. So collection remains a major challenge and the cities remain chronically dirty.

  • Exclusion of Demolition Workers: While the actual work of demolition is carried out by workers, a standard demolition protocol is missing. This means dangerous work conditions and lack of a best practice.

  • Lack of Focus on Reuse: The Rules currently treat recycling as the best practice, whereas the principles of circular economy stipulate a higher focus on reuse and reduce. This is the case for most countries around the world, but in India, where a robust secondary material economy exists, there is a need to legitimise and promote it through policy.

Policy and governance are two related but distinct concepts. While policy creates guidelines to regulate behaviour, actions, and decision-making within a context, governance involves the execution-management of the policy.

The drawback of the C&D Waste Management Rules 2016 is not the policy, but rather its governance. In specific, the enforcement. The purpose of enforcement is to ensure that individuals or entities comply with the policies and face consequences if they fail to do so. However, without incentives or appropriate penalties in place, the C&D Waste Management Rules (2016) to date, remain at a guideline level, without the much-required enforceability.

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