Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Can Waste Pay for Itself ?

Our policy makers are still holding on to the line that the "waste should pay for itself" ! It is amazing that after several years of no compliance of the MSW Rules and after several treatment plants having been closed for a variety of reasons, we are expecting that the treatment plants will convert the garbage into gold. The two terms/ phrases 'Waste' and 'Pay for itself' are contradictory and therefore the sentence "Waste should pay for itself' becomes an interesting oxymoron ! If it were to pay for itself, it would no longer be called 'waste', and people will not discard it at all. Unfortunately due to the poetic imagination of some, 'waste' is being termed 'resource', while the reality is that waste is some thing which has lost its purpose, use and value for its owner and therefore it has been discarded. For the rag picker and Kabariwala it may have some residual value, but there is a limit to which one can stretch this argument and decide not to build appropriate solutions comprising, among others, sanitary landfills.

Considering the growing mounds of garbage across the length and breadth of the country, it is time we realise that waste will not pay for itself, but we have to pay to get rid of it. 

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