ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Economics of Solid Waste in India

This article provides an overview of the economics of solid waste, and related issues. Public attention to solid waste and recycling has increased in India. In response, economists have developed models to help policymakers choose an efficient mix of policy levellers to regulate solid waste management and recycling activities.

For many years, economists engaged in research studies related to municipal solid waste (MSW) were hampered by the general lack of data. Very few municipal governments bothered to keep accurate data on the quantity of waste generated, its composition, information about landfills, and any data on the economics of MSW. Therefore, India has no time series data or panel data in connection with solid waste. Economists found it very difficult to gather solid waste generation data. For example, there was inadequate data regarding cost analysis in most municipal governments. It was difficult to understand the empirical relationship between costs and the benefits of MSW management policies.

Rapid urbanisation and population growth increased solid waste generation in the past decade. Inadequate solid waste management policy and the absence of appropriate guidelines led to serious health and environmental problems all over India. The Municipal Solid Waste Management Handling Rules, 2000 indicated that all the municipal authorities should take the responsibility of waste collection, transportation, disposal, and segregation of solid waste. But most municipality solid waste management practices proved to be highly inefficient.

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