[Kurukshetra May 2024 Summary] Green Waste management technologies for rural India-Explained Pointwise

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Waste management in rural areas worldwide, particularly in India, is still underdeveloped, resulting in harmful environmental effects because the methods used to handle waste are not adequate compared to the rate of waste generation.
With a large portion of the population residing in rural areas, it becomes necessary to empower these communities while addressing environmental concerns for sustainable development. 

Green Waste management technologies in rural areas.
Source-Earthwatch India

What are the present waste management practices in rural areas?

1) Open Burning and Air Pollution-They face challenges with open burning of agricultural residues, e-waste, and plastics, releasing harmful pollutants and worsening air pollution and climate change.

2) Inefficient Waste Management Systems– Inefficient waste management systems such as open dumping, e-waste open burning, river dumping, pollution from plastic waste etc in rural areas, deprive communities of potential resources and economic opportunities.

What are the green waste management technologies for rural areas?

Composting SolutionsThese systems utilise sensors to monitor temperature, moisture levels, and aeration, optimising the composting process and producing high quality compost for use in agriculture.
Smart Waste ModellingUtilise data analytics platforms to analyse waste generation patterns, identify areas with high waste management and optimise waste management strategies accordingly. Data-driven insights can help authorities make informed decisions to reduce waste generation and improve recycling rates
Waste to Energy Solution Technologies such as anaerobic digestion or biomass conversion help in generating renewable energy from organic waste materials. This not only reduces
landfill waste but also provides a sustainable energy
source for the community
Recycling RobotsIntroducing AI robotics into recycling centres enhances waste sorting efficiency, diverting recyclable materials from landfills. With AI robots capable of accurately differentiating between materials, recycling centres can operate longer hours.
Pneumatic Waste PipesInstalling pneumatic waste pipes below public containers makes waste transportation to processing centers more efficient, reducing the necessity for conventional trash pickups. This innovative system minimises and prevents contributing to and more efficient waste management practices.
Solar-powered Trash CompactorsSolar-powered compactors increase trash bin capacity by up to 5 times, reducing the frequency of pickups and optimising waste collection processes.
E-Waste KiosksIt encourages proper disposal and recycling of electronic devices, mitigating environmental management hazards associated with e-waste. This will prevent seeping of harmful chemicals into soil and water.

What is the significance of green waste management technologies for rural areas?

1) Empowering Rural Communities-It offer multifaceted benefits, including environmental conservation and socio-economic development. It will also bridge urban-rural socio-economic gaps and ensure equitable resource distribution for all.

2)  Environmental Sustainability-Composting and biogas generation help manage organic waste sustainably while enhancing soil fertility and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

3)  Economic Opportunities– Green waste technologies create income streams through the sale of compost and biogas, fostering rural entrepreneurship. This is also crucial for ensuring transition to circular economy and fulfilment of Net Zero Targets by 2070.

4)  Climate Resilience-Proper waste management reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps in mitigating climate change impacts.

5) Community Engagement and Awareness-Promoting green waste technologies empowers communities with knowledge and skills, fostering ownership and responsibility.

What are the challenges in adoption of green technology in rural areas?

1) Infrastructural bottlenecks– Limited infrastructure, resources, and awareness about proper disposal practices contribute to improper waste management in rural villages.

2) Lack of Funds-The village panchayats do not have adequate funds to promote the incentivisation of adoption of green technology.

3) Resistance to Adoption-In rural areas, people often use coal or wood for heating and cooking. It’s hard to adopt newer, greener methods because of cultural habits,financial concerns, and the practical difficulty of making the change.

What are the potential solution?

1) Adopting Smart Waste Management System (SWM)-It employs IoT technology to revolutionize waste processing, enhance efficiency, and promote sustainability.

Smart Waste Management System

A) Smart bins with ultrasonic sensors are placed across rural areas. They gather real-time data that is communicated to a central control using cloud platforms.
B) Solar-powered sensors ensure continuous operation and planned routes help save fuel costs.
C) When waste levels go above 80%, GPS-guided trucks pick up waste efficiently, saving time and resources. This setup improves waste management in rural India with eco-friendly and efficient solutions.

2) Social Inclusion of Waste Pickers in Rural Villages-They are subjected to worst forms of humiliation, discrimination, and socio-economic marginalization. This is despite the fact that they play an important role in waste management. Thus, there is a need to adopt a comprehensive framework that should-
A) recognise their contributions and grant them access to basic services.
B) ensure occupational health and safety and stabilise their incomes.
C) promote social inclusion and empowerment.

3) Digital Monitoring of Waste Management-Using IoT, mobile apps, and data analytics, it improves waste collection and disposal.
A) These systems connect stakeholders like waste pickers, recyclers, ULBs, and citizens via mobile apps, creating a digital network.
B) Real-time data monitors the waste journey from collection to recycling, facilitating seamless monitoring and management. For exThe Eco Green Village Mobile Application for Waste Management, pioneered in Indonesia, targets rural areas to improve cleanliness, predict climate impacts, and advance Smart Kampong Initiatives through technology. 

What are some of the best practices for successful implementation of green technologies in rural areas?

Successful implementation of green technologies requires the adoption of best practices and community-driven initiatives. Projects like the National Biogas and Manure Management Program (NBMMP) and the Swachh Bharat Mission have facilitated the
establishment of biogas plants and decentralised waste management systems. This has yielded positive socio-economic and environmental outcomes. Some of the best practices are as follows-

1) Karnataka -The  “Flasiru Mane” project, pioneered by the NGO Hasiru Dala, trains women from marginalised communities to produce compost from organic waste, generating livelihoods and promoting environmental leadership.

2) Gujrat– Punsari village in Gujrat exemplifies sustainable development by generating electricity from village waste, showcasing the potential of waste-to-energy

3) Punjab-The “Pind Cycle” program incentives villagers to collect agricultural waste for biomass energy production, reducing crop burning incidents, improving air quality, and providing alternative sources of income for rural households.

Read more-Green Technologies- Explained Pointwise

What should be the way forward?

1) The local best practices should be replicated in other rural regions.

2)Formulation of local waste management plans should be encouraged. These plans may outline strategies for collecting, transporting, and treating waste.

2) There should be promotion of rural entrepreneurship that is in alignment with the objective of SDGs.

3) The government must implement policies that effectively address environmental injustice toward marginalised and remote communities.

4)The government should promote cohesion policies between Urban and Peri-Urban areas.

5) Concept of Sustainable ‘Green’ Rural Municipalities should be promoted.

6) The government should incentivise adoption of green waste technology and create a conducive environment for sustainable waste management.

7) There is a need to provide financial incentives, subsidies, and technical assistance to support small rural entrepreneurs and rural enterprises. This requires concerted efforts from policymakers, development agencies, and local stakeholders.

8) Public-private partnerships should be leveraged to facilitate technology transfer, foster innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas.

By promoting adoption and scaling up green waste technologies, India can pave the way towards a greener and more inclusive future for its rural population.

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