Municipal solid waste management in India: From waste disposal to recovery of resources?Waste Manag. 2009 Mar; 29(3):1163-6.WM
Unlike that of western countries, the solid waste of Asian cities is often comprised of 70-80% organic matter, dirt and dust. Composting is considered to be the best option to deal with the waste generated. Composting helps reduce the waste transported to and disposed of in landfills. During the course of the research, the author learned that several developing countries established large-scale composting plants that eventually failed for various reasons. The main flaw that led to the unsuccessful establishment of the plants was the lack of application of simple scientific methods to select the material to be composted. Landfills have also been widely unsuccessful in countries like India because the landfill sites have a very limited time frame of usage. The population of the developing countries is another factor that detrimentally impacts the function of landfill sites. As the population keeps increasing, the garbage quantity also increases, which, in turn, exhausts the landfill sites. Landfills are also becoming increasingly expensive because of the rising costs of construction and operation. Incineration, which can greatly reduce the amount of incoming municipal solid waste, is the second most common method for disposal in developed countries. However, incinerator ash may contain hazardous materials including heavy metals and organic compounds such as dioxins, etc. Recycling plays a large role in solid waste management, especially in cities in developing countries. None of the three methods mentioned here are free from problems. The aim of this study is thus to compare the three methods, keeping in mind the costs that would be incurred by the respective governments, and identify the most economical and best option possible to combat the waste disposal problem.