Principal Investigator#: Dr. S. G. Sreekanteswara Swamy, Fellow, KSCST


1. Introduction

Municipal Solid Waste management (MSW) includes scientific collection, storage, transportation, treatment and effective disposal of waste. Urban planners and managers face critical problems due to inefficient management of MSW. The problem of MSW has grown over the years and its impact due to unscientific management has lead to serious environmental hazards, causing deterioration in quality of life in the cities. In addition, this has affected the local and regional economy.

1.1. Municipal Solid Waste Management - Karnataka

In Karnataka, among three types of waste generated in recent past, the largest amount generated is municipal solid waste (21,43,280 metric tons), followed by hazardous waste (86,137 metric tons) and biomedical waste (27,095 metric tons). For example, Bangalore has grown, as the fifth largest metropolitan city in India, inhabited by over 5 million people generating over 3000 tons of MSW per day. Rapid urbanization has led to generation of large quantities of municipal solid waste. Municipals solid waste is being dumped on open sites outside the city limits since many years and only recently a few cities or towns in the state have engineered landfill. The waste generated is being disposed in open lands, into water bodies, into rivers or into any low-lying areas. In some cases the waste is being disposed into fresh water bodies leading to contamination or pollution of valuable water resources. Improper disposal of these wastes often results in contamination of soil and water bodies, which could further lead to spread of diseases.

In major cities like Bangalore, Belgaum, Gulbarga, Hubli-Dharwar, Mangalore and Mysore and other taluka places in the state, solid waste is being dumped on open sites outside municipal limits of cities and towns. Since implementation of MSW Rules, 2000, some of the Corporations and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are identifying landfill sites to waste recycling system, in turn, to dispose the non-recyclable municipal wastes. Thus, most of the collected waste is disposed on private lands or municipal corporation land, situated in the outskirts of the city or town. During the field visit, the team visited many dumping sites and examined them.

Scientific waste disposal is a community activity, as the community is responsible for generation of waste and therefore, management of waste disposal should start at source itself (by community). Some of the ULBs have attempted to generate awareness among public to segregate waste. In major cities and towns, there are several residential welfare associations involved in household waste collection at doorsteps, both in city metropolitan area and in the city municipal area (i.e., ULBs) and door-to-door waste collection is done by civic authorities to be done successfully. Apart from residential welfare associations, the other stakeholders who play critical role in MSW management are rag pickers, NGOs and self-help groups who help in reusing or recycling the waste.

1.2. Problems of municipal solid waste

The key problems of municipal solid waste include:

  • Mixing of waste

  • Collection and storage of waste

  • Transportation of waste

  • Indiscriminate burning of waste

  • Illegal disposal of waste

2.0. Aims and Objectives

  • To study the dumping yards system

  • Study of impact of proximity of dumpsites on soil and water

  • To develop a detailed database on scientifically generated data and technical aspects to treat and dispose the waste generated in the state.

  • Critical study of current Solid Waste Management strategy, technology practices and characterization of solid waste.

  • To develop a common platform for resource persons, resource institutions, local agencies, implementing agencies and the law enforcing authorities for dissemination of information and technical asset formation.

2.1. Methodology

The following methodologies were followed during the sample collection:

  • Identification of the site: Field visits were arranged to each taluka (175) of all the districts in the State to identify, quantify and assess the waste disposal sites.

  • Description of the site: After identifying the waste disposal site, the site details, like waste quantity, quality, age of the dump site, waste spread area, location of the site with permanent features with reference to location, nearby water bodies (with surface & ground water), important buildings or monuments, historical places etc were recorded. Also socio-economic details like agricultural activity, habitation and living standards of the people in the vicinity were recorded.

  • Quantification: Waste spread area and height of the dumpsite were recorded.

  • Assessment of the site: After having the details of the dumping site, waste quality and quantity and place of disposal were assessed, prioritized and ranked, based on population potential of the site and severity of impact on man and environment. Further, type of waste, land environment, air environment, water environment, health issues and public annoyance were recorded and each site was ranked through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (Table No.5 of each district report).

  • Sampling: The data collection was undertaken in two stages. As first stage, the dumpsite details were collected form the Officers of the urban local bodies (ULBs) and the Directorate of Municipal Authority at State level. In second stage the soil and water samples were collected, based on the sensitivity of individual dumpsites of all the taluks in the State. A total of 400 water samples and 270 soil samples were collected during the visit.

  • Water sampling: The water sources within 0.5 km radius of dump site were identified and samples were collected after extraction of water either from hand pump, tube well or surface sources. For this purpose, one liter capacity pre-cleaned Polyvenyl Chloride (PVC) cans was used. The bore well water was allowed to flow for 3 to 5 minutes before collecting samples into cans. The cans were suitably labeled with information on date of collection, time of collection, sample location. For heavy metal analysis 2 ml of nitric acid was added to the sampling cans as preservative and were transported to laboratory.

  • Soil Sampling: Soil samples were collected near dumpsites, at depth of 15-50 cm. The soil samples were collected and stored in a thick polythene covers. The covers were suitably labeled with information on data of collection, time of collection and sample location. The samples were transferred to laboratory.

2.2. Details of Analysis

For maintaining health of people, the quality of the drinking water is very important. The ground water quality depends on anthropogenic and geogenic activities. Owing to these factors, the ground water quality is not constant but can be varying. During the study the physical and chemical parameters were considered for water samples. Soil samples were also analyzed.

The physical parameters include colour, odour, taste and turbidity. The ground water from bore well is generally colourless and odourless and of good taste. But effluents or presence of excess salts can impart a taste to water.

The chemical parameters are pH, Total Suspended Solids, Total Dissolved Solids, Electrical Conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen, Cations (Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Iron, and Magnesium) and Anions (Carbonate, Bicarbonate, Sulphate, Nitrate, Chloride, Phosphate, Silicate and Fluoride). The soil parameters considered are Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Nitrate, Chloride, Specific Conductance and pH.

3.0. Outcome of the project

It is observed that there is enormous increase and abuse of Municipal Solid Wastes (MSW) in various parts of the State. Much of Municipal Solid Wastes generated in the small towns and peri urban areas are dumped haphazardly in open dumps that are often very close to human habitation as well.

A total of 14 parameters for water resources around dumpsite, and another 9 parameters were studied for soil around these dump site. The waste dumped at such sites includes domestic waste, example, kitchen waste, paper, glass and cloths. Construction and demolition waste consisting of sand, bricks, concrete blocks and rock cuttings are also dumped. Further, waste from the poultry, slaughterhouse, hospital and vegetable markets is also dumped. Most of the local bodies deposit waste at the dump-yard without ascertaining the suitability of the land for waste disposal.

In high rainfall belt of the Western Ghats and in rainfall rich coastal belts and surrounding taluks of Bangalore has very high content of decomposable organic matter. As decomposition rates of organic matter is high, a large quantity of nitrogen is released into soils around these dumpsites that has greatly enhanced the nitrate levels in both soils and ground water around these sites.

In the drier belt of northern Karnataka there is significant reduction in the organic matter content of the wastes found on the dump sites and maybe attributable to the consumption by small and medium sized domestic and non domestic animals.

Most of the ULBs are identified landfill sites in their locations and are justifying for the proper operation procedures namely need for a landfill, evaluation and community acceptance of the landfill location, landfill design and cost-effectiveness. Waste collection, transportation and disposal must now support source reduction and recycling activities.

A total of all the 175 taluks were assessed across a state spanning an area of 1,91,000 sq. km. We conclude that with a high premium on land available for carrying out dumping it is now important to move to decentralized bio energy/bio technological solutions such that more than 50% of the MSW (the decomposable fractions) could be treated locally.


# The Investigator is highly thankful to the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi for their support.