Environment Education & Awareness
Environmental Laws

Why Environmental Laws ?

Laws and regulations are a major tool in protecting the environment. To put those laws into effect, government agencies create and enforce regulations. In this section, you'll find a basic description of how laws and regulations come to be, what they are, and where to find them, with an emphasis on environmental laws and regulations. The Indian constitution is amongst the few in the world that contains specific provisions on environment protection.

Forest Laws
Forest Conservation Act 1980
Forest (Conservation) Rules 1981
National Forest Policy 1988

The Forest Act is administered by forest officers who are authorized to compel the attendance of witness and the production of documents, to issue search warrants and to take evidence in an enquiry into forest offences. The forest Act is administered by forest officers who are authorized to compel the attendance of witness and the production of documents.

Laws to protect the Wildlife :

The Wildlife Act of 1972 was passed to make provision for control of wild life by formation of Wild life Advisory Board, regulation on hunting and establishment of sanctuaries, national parks.
The Wildlife (Transaction and Taxidermy) Rules,1973
The Wildlife (Stock Declaration) Central Rules, 1973
The Wildlife (Protection) Licensing (Additional Matters for Consideration) Rules, 1983
Recognition of Zoo Rules 1992 Wildlife (Protection) Rules, 1995
Wildlife (Specified Plants - Conditions for Possession by Licensee) Rules, 1995
Wildlife (Specified Plant Stock Declaration) Central Rules, 1995

Water Pollution prevention Laws
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, as amended up to 1988
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1975
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Procedure for Transaction of Business) Rules, 1975
The water (prevention and control of pollution) cess Act, 1977, as amended by Amendment Act, 1991
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978
The Water Act of 1974 was the result of discussions over a decade between the center and states and was passed by the Parliament.

The Act vests regulatory authority in the state boards and empowers these boards to establish and enforce effluent standards for factories discharging pollutants into bodies of water.

The Water Cess Act of 1977 was passed to help meet the expenses of the Central and State water boards. The Act creates economic incentives for pollution control through a differential tax structure (higher rates applicable to defaulting units) and requires local authorities and certain designated industries to pay a cess (tax) for water consumption. To encourage capital investment in the pollution control, the Act gives a polluter a 25% rebate of the applicable cess upon installing effluent treatment equipment and meeting the applicable norm.

The 1988 amendment strengthened the Acts implementation provisions and a board may take decisions regarding closure of a defaulting industrial plant. The water act is comprehensive and applies to streams, inland waters, subterranean waters, sea or tidal waters. The legislation establishes a Central Pollution Control Board, and State Pollution Control Boards for Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura and West Bengal, as well as the Union Territories. Each board, Central or state, consists of a chairman and five members, with agriculture, fisheries and government-owned industry all having representation.

Air - Prevention and Control of Pollution
The air (prevention and control of pollution) act of 1981
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1982
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Union Territories) Rules, 1983

The Air Act of 1981, states that all industries operating within designated air pollution control areas must obtain a permit from the state board. The states are also required to provide emission standards for industry and automobiles after consulting the Central Board.

The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) of 1986

The EPA was passed to protect and improve human environment and to prevent hazards to human beings, other than plants and property. The EPA was passed to protect and improve human environment and to prevent hazards to human beings, other than plants and property. In the wake of Bhopal Gas tragedy, the government of India enacted the Environmental (Protection) Act of 1986 (EPA) under Article 253 of the constitution. The purpose of the Act is to implement the decisions of the United Nations Conference on Human environment of 1972. The EPA is an umbrella legislation designed to provide a framework for Central Government coordination of the activities of various Central and State authorities established under previous laws, such as Water Act and Air Act. The scope of the EPA is broad, with "environment" defined to include water, air, land and the inter relationships which exists among water, air and land and human beings and other living creatures, plants, micro-organisms and property. The law also promulgates rules on hazardous waste management and handling.

Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000

This rule aims at controlling noise levels in public places from various sources, inter-alia, industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, loud speakers, public address systems, music systems, vehicular horns and other mechanical devices have deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well being of the people. The objective of the rule is to regulate and control noise producing and generating sources with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise.

Coastal Zone

e Authority - Notifications Coastal Zone Management Authority Notifications India's lengthy coast stretches over 6,000 kilometers, supporting numerous fishing communities and driving the economies of coastal villages, towns and cities. The legislative framework for controlling marine pollution is provided by the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act of 1976.
Development along coastal stretches is severely restricted under a regime comprising the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991, the approved Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) for each state or region.

Hazardous Substances Act

Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989
Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989
Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules, 1989
Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998
Re-cycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999.
Dumping and Disposal of Fly ash Notification.
Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Amendment Rules, 2000 - Draft Notification
Municipal Solid Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 2000
Batteries (Management & Handling) Rules, 2001.
Re-cycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Amendment Rules, 2002
Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical (Amendment) Rules, 2000 - Draft Notification
Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Amendment Rules, 2002
the laboratories allowed to use of pathogenic micro-organism or genetically engineered organisms or cells for the purpose of research, 2000 Notification.

Hazardous substances pervade modern industrialized societies. Indian industry generates, uses, and discards toxic substances. Hazardous substances include flammables; explosives; heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury; nuclear and petroleum fuel by product; dangerous microorganism; and scores of synthetic chemical compounds like DDT and dioxins. Exposure to Toxic substances may cause acute or chronic health effects. Toxic substances are extensively regulated in India. The first comprehensive rules to deal with one segment of the toxics problem, namely hazardous wastes, were issued by the Central Government in July, 1989.Radioacctive wastes, covered under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, and wastes discharged from ships, covered under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1958, are explicitly excluded from the Hazardous Wastes Rules.

For more information about latest Acts and Laws, Please visit the Acts and Laws Section under the Legislation from the CoE home page.


Solid wastes (as different from liquid effluents) are those undesirable, useless and unwanted materials and substances that arise from human and animal activities. In earlier times, when population was limited and industrial development scarce. The major constituents of waste were largely domestic sewage and agricultural residues. Disposal of such waste was not a problem since these were biodegradable and plenty of land was available.

With increasing industrialization and population, however, solid waste generation has not only increased but its nature has also changed. Wastes from urban areas and industrial units contain diverse types of materials. Many of these discarded materials are often reusable and are often considered as a resource in another setting. 'Solid waste management 'is a term that reflects efforts to manage society's waste in a manner that meets public health and environmental concerns and encourages private and community attempts to reuse and recycle discarded materials.

Applicability of guidelines

These guidelines are applicable to all citizens, communities, NGOs, social organizations and generators of municipal solid waste.

Categories of solid wastes

Human beings and animal generate solid wastes in various forms and from diverse activities. Details of various categories of solid wastes generally unwanted by society are discussed below:

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
Municipal solid waste comprises of wastes from households including garbage and rubbish, sanitation waste and street sweepings. MSW also includes wastes and discarded materials from institutions and commercial complexes and debris from construction and demolition activities.

Domestic wastes
These wastes are generated by house hold activities such as cooking, cleaning, repairs and redecoration and include empty containers, packaging, clothing, old books, newspapers, old furnishings, etc.

Commercial wastes
Solid wastes generated in offices, wholesale stores, restaurants, hotels, markets, warehouses and other commercial establishments are classified as commercial wastes.These are further categorized into garbage and rubbish.

Institutional wastes

Considerable wastes are generated from institutions such as schools, colleges hospitals and research institutions. Such wastes include garbage, rubbish and hazardous materials.

Garbage is a general tem which includes animal and vegetable wastes associated with various activities like storage, preparation, sale, cooking and serving of food. These wastes are biodegradable in nature.

Residues from the burning of wood charcoal and coke for cooking and heating in houses, institutions and small industries are also defined as waste. Ashes consist of a fine powdery residue, cinders and clinker often mixed with small pieces of metal and glass.

Apart from garbage and ashes, other solid wastes produced in households, commercial establishments and institutions are termed as rubbish.

Bulky wastes
Bulky wastes are large household appliances such as cookers, refrigerators and washing machines as well as furniture, crates, vehicle parts, tyres, wood, trees and branches, the bulky metallic wastes are sold as scrap metal but some portion is disposed of in sanitary landfills.

Street wastes
Street wastes consist of paper, cardboard, plastic, dirt, dust, leaves and other vegetable matter collected from streets, walkways, alleys, parks and vacant plots.

Dead animals
Animals die naturally or are sometimes accidentally killed. It left untended, the carcass will generated nuisance. This category, however, does not include carcasses and animal parts from slaughterhouses as these are considered industrial wastes.

Construction and demolition wastes
Construction materials like cement, bricks, cement plaster, steel, rubble, stone, timber, plastic and iron pipes and major components of the building industry, About 50% of these materials are not currently recycled in India and the construction industry does not appear to be aware of available recycling techniques.

Hazardous wastes

Citizens should be aware of three additional categories of waste which however require special management and handling. Wastes from hospitals, clinics and laboratories fall under a separate regulation called the Biomedical wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998. Hazardous wastes generated by industries fall under a specific regulation called the Hazardous wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989 (as amended).
Citizens should also be aware of the impending threat posed by E-Waste, which includes old computers, discarded mobiles, batteries, (using heavy metals like nickel and cadmium), TVs etc. All these wastes originate in households as well. Their final destination must be secured in environmentally friendly treatment and disposal options.

Components of Municipal Solid Wastes

Municipal solid waste contains on an average between 30 to 50% organics (or biodegradables), about 4-6% recyclables and certain constituents having high calorific (fuel) value. General constituents present in the municipal solid waste of cities in India according to the size of population clusters are presented in Table 1:

Table1: Physical characteristics of municipal solid waste from Indian cities

Population Range(in millions No. of cities surveyed Paper Rubber, Leather and synthetics Glass Metals Total compostable matter Inert soil debrisInert soil debrisInert soil debrisInert soil debris
0.1 to 0.5 12 2.91 0.78 0.56 0.33 44.57 43.59
0.5 to 1 15 2.95 0.73 0.35 0.32 40.04 48.3
1.0 to 2.0 9 4.71 0.71 0.46 0.49 38.95 44.03
2.0 to 5.0 3 3.18 0.48 0.48 0.59 56.67 49.07
>5 4 6.43 0.28 0.94 0.80 30.84 53.90

Note: All values are in percentage and calculated on wet weight basis

The following polluting materials and substances are generally found in municipal solid waste:

(a) Thin polythene bags(Carry bags)

Thin polythene coloured bags in municipal waste are well known to cause hazards to the natural environment and to animals. These bags contain toxic metals and are non-biodegradable. They cause damage to municipal drainage systems and storm water drains by choking. In July 2005, Mumbai city faced a major flood disaster. One of the reasons given for the flooding was the blockages created in the drainage system by plastic litter.

When these plastic bags get mixed with MSW, they are difficult to separate from other waste. If they are dumped on land with other MSW, they do not get degraded by microorganisms and will remain in the soil for year's together, preventing rainwater seepage into the ground. These bags are also reported to be a cause of the death of many animals that feed on garbage dumps.

Plastic bags should not be dumped into municipal garbage. If segregated at source, they can be recycled.

(b)Organic biodegradable matter

Wasted food or easily biodegradable matter, when disposed of in MSW, starts decomposing immediately. This decomposition of food waste takes place due to the activities of microorganisms which in turn give rise to obnoxious odours. Such microorganisms are harmful to human health and are responsible for many diseases. Segregation and disposal of food wastes at source is therefore to be strongly encouraged if we are to overcome this problem.

(c) Paper, glass, plastic and metals

Paper, glass and metals, if mixed with other MSW, create their own problems in disposal of MSW, these are therefore to be separated from other MSW at source and dispatched to be recycled and reused.

(d) Construction and demolition waste

upcoming new construction housing complexes and similar construction and demolition projects generate wastes like silt, sand, cement, bricks, iron pipes, cement plaster, steel, rubble, stone, timber, plastic, etc. Such wastes contribute to waste volumes in general. They are also very difficult to segregate from MSW. Since they are non-biodegradable, their disposal along with biodegradable waste cannot be justified. They also occupy space at dump sites. Construction and demolition waste should be disposed of separately. Recycling/ reuse of such wastes should be encouraged.

5.0 Solid Waste Management

Any solid waste management programme in the community will emphasize first maximum waste reduction, then reuse, segregation of the waste at source, recycling, composting and the use of recycled products.

Waste generated by residential complexes, institutions, hotel and commercial complexes and offices can be collected and subjected to various treatment methods within their own premises. Solid waste segregation, collection, treatment and disposal management should follow the procedures given below:-

5.1 Waste reduction/ reuse at source

Awareness within the community to reduce the generation of waste should be increased. Products or packaging that are unsafe in production, use, post-consumer use, or that produce or release harmful products when disposed of should be phased out. Excess packaging and packaging including plastic and thermocol 5.0 that is difficult to recycle should be eliminated.

Consumers should repair, resell, exchange, or donate unwanted product as much as possible to avoid disposal. Non-biodegradable material such as thermocol should be avoided for decoration of festival. Reduced use of plastic should be encouraged.

Segregation of Waste

Dry waste should be separated from wet biodegradable waste. Recyclable waste should be given to agencies, which buy the waste from the generator and re-route it to the recycling process units. Non-recyclable waste (inorganic) such as PET mineral bottles, nitrogen sealed packaging chips, tetrapacks, thermocol, carbon paper, plastic coated visiting cards and sachets should be collected in separate containers.

Biodegradable wet waste can be treated with common methods like yard composting, home composting or vermicomposting.

As per the municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000, the segregation of waste is to be undertaken as follow:

Waste should be segregated in to three categories:

(1) Organic waste;

(2) Recyclable waste;

(3) Others- inorganic waste.

Detailed classification of solid wastes under these three categories is given in table 2:-

Table 2: Classification of Wastes

Biodegradable Wastes Non-Biodegradable Wastes
Organic Waste Recyclable Waste Others (inorganic/Hazardous Waste)
Tea Leaves
Egg shells
Kitchen waste
Fruit peels
House dust after cleaning
Shampoo Bottles
Metal Objects
Old medicines
Fluorescent tubes
Spray cans
Fertilizers and pesticide containers
Shoe polish
Hospital waste

It is best if the authorities provide different coloured containers for storing and handling the different kinds of wastes. The following colours are recommended:

Greencontainer Biodegradable waste * White container * Recyclable waste The biodegradable waste can be treated and disposed off/ used as manure in the premises or it can be given to the local municipality vehicle for further disposal. The recyclable waste can be sold to the raddiwala or scrap dealer. MPCB and municipality can be contacted for disposal of other (inorganic/hazardous) waste. 5.3 Dry waste recycling Dry waste such as paper, shampoo bottles, glass, note books, wires, safely pins, caps of mineral bottles, plastic utensils and toys, etc. can be handed over to rag pickers and kabaris who can further carry the waste for recycling or reuse. Some items that can be recycled or reused are given below:- " Paper Old copies, old books, paper bags, newspapers, old greeting cards, cardboard box " Plastic Containers, bags, sheets " Glass and ceramics Bottles, plates, cups, bowls " Miscellaneous Old cans, utensils, clothes, furniture 5.4 Wet biodegradable waste- composting Organic wastes left to themselves undergo a slow process of degradation. The activity is carried out by microorganisms of different kinds. Composting is a controlled process of decomposition of organic material by microorganisms into a useful product. Waste generators can make their own supply of compost in their own yard using materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Composting of kitchen and yard wastes at the household and community level should be encouraged. Composting exercises reduce the amount of waste material eventually going to municipal solid waste sanitary landfills. At the same time, finished compost can be used to improve soil texture, increase the ability of soil to absorb water and air, suppress weed growth, decrease erosion, and reduce the need for commercial soil additives/fertilizers. Waste ingredients that can be effectively used in the composting treatment process are listed in table 3.

Table 3: Composting ingredients

Brown (carbon) Greens (nitrogen)
Dry leaves and twigs Grass and plant clippings
Dry plant and grass clippings Fresh landscape trimmings
Hay Vegetables
Non-recyclable paper Fruit peels
Paper towels,
Plants and napkins
Coffee grounds and used tea
Egg shells
Waste food

A good mix consists for composting will comprise of three part " brown" and one part 'greens'.

Moisture: Composting materials should feel moist but not overly soggy.

Temperature: Compost should feel warm to the touch except in the cold winter months.

Air: To prevent unpleasant odours that can occur when materials decompose without oxygen, compost should be turned regularly to ensure that air is reaching the centre of the pile.

Home composting

Dig to pits in the ground having dimensions of 2ft 2ft 2ft. Please note not to increase the depth of the pit because harvesting of compost becomes difficult. Now start putting your kitchen or yard waste inside one of the pits. Do not heap the waste but spread it evenly so as to form a layer. If kitchen waste is used, then it has to be covered with garden or yard waste. Sprinkle some water to keep the material moist.

Keep on putting the waste every day layer by layer. When the material inside the pit reaches a height of one and a half feet, there will be a steady rise in temperature in the pite, signaling that the composting process has started.

Once the pit is full, cover it with mud.

Now you can start using the second pit. The material in the first pit shall be ready in a time of span of three to four months. The compost will look like dark-black soil having some parts of half decomposed organic matter. It can now be safely used for your garden or potted plants.

If you want to be a little more systematic, you can conduct the same process in bins that are constructed above the ground. The construction work is done on an RCC base with ordinary bricks. You can also use any other material to construct the bins. The bins should have a length of three feet and a breath of two and a half feet. The height should not be more than two and a half feet. At this height you can comfortably move material in and out while remaining outside the bin.

The bins have to be covered with a netting so as to prevent the entry of insects, birds and animals including rates. A roof cover is also necessary to prevent water from entering the bins during the rains. For this, you can cover the bins with a plastic sheet or construct a tin roof.

The process of making compost from domestic waste is the same: start using the first bin and put the waste in layers. Once in a way, sprinkle some water to keep the material moist. Do not add too much of water so that the material starts dripping. It will take around 3-4 month for the bin to get full if it is used by a single family.

When the first bin is full, you start using the second bin. During this time, the first bin will undergo the process of composting. There will be an increase in temperature and reduction in the size of the materials. The volume inside the bin will reduce and go down by one third. The colour of the material will start changing, signaling the composting process in underway successfully.

All types of biodegradable waste can go inside the bins. Keep out all non-biodegradable waste such as glass, metal, plastic etc. The compost will be ready after 3 months and will have a dark black colour. If you turn the material inside the bin once in 15 days, then the time taken for composting will be less and the compost shall be ready in 1-2 months. Once the second bin gets full, the first one will be fully composted. Remove the compost and start re-using it again. You can keep repeating the cycle indefinitely.

The dark soil-like compost can be directly used for plants.

Vermicomposting also can be used for decomposition of the organic waste, which gives rise to high quality granular compost by the activity of earthworms.

Guidelines for Waste Management

There is a constitutional obligation of each citizen under Article 51A(g) to protect the environment. Each citizen should contribute to protect the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling solid waste and thereafter managing its safe disposal.

Cleanliness starts from the house. Each citizen should ensure that the solid waste generated from his/her house is segregated, stored and disposed of as per the guidelines provided to protect the environment.

Non government Organizations (NGO's) should take up initiatives to work with local residents to improve the sanitation, segregation of waste, garbage management etc. They can play an active role in organizing surveys, studies and new technologies to attract private entrepreneurs to take up solid waste management as a project on a professional level. NGOs should help to create awareness in the waste management and to promote education and awareness in schools. NGOs should involve the community in waste management. NGOs also should encourage minimization of waste through in-house backyard composting, home composting, vermicomposting and biogas generation.

Waste Management at Source

Solid waste at source according to the community and activities therein should be managed as per the guide lines given below:

Household waste

Do not throw any solid waste in the neighborhood, on the streets, open spaces, and vacant lands, into the drains or water bodies.

Keep food waste/ biodegradable waste n a non corrosive container with a cover (lid).

Keep dry, recyclable waste in a bin or bag or a sack.

Keep domestic hazardous waste, if and when generated, separately for disposal at specially notified locations.

Multi-storied building, commercial complexes, private societies

Provide separate community bin or bins large enough to hold food/biodegradable waste and recyclable waste generated in the building or society.

Direct the members of the association to deposit their waste in community bin.


Use community bins provided by the local body for deposition of food and biodegradable waste.

Shops, offices, institutions, etc.

If situated in a commercial complex, deposit the waste in bins provided by the association. Keep dry and wet biodegradable waste separately.

Hotel & restaurants

The container used should be strong, not more than 100 litre in size, should have a handle on the top or handles on the sides and a rim at the bottom for easy handling.

Vegetable & fruit markets

Provide large containers, which match with transportation system of the local body.

Shop keepers not to dispose of the waste in front of their shops or open spaces.

Deposit the waste as and when generated into the large container placed in the market.

Meat & fish markets

Not to throw any waste in front of their shops or open spaces around. Keep non-corrosive container/ containers not exceeding 100-litre capacity with lid handle and the rim at the bottom and deposit the waste in the said containers as and when generated.

Transfer the container of this container into a large container provided by the association.

Street food vendors

Not to throw any waste on the street, pavement or open spaces. Keep bin or bag for the storage of waste that generates during street vending activity.

Preferable have arrangement to affix the bin or bag with the hand-cart used for vending.

Marriage halls, community halls, kalyanamandapas

Not to throw any solid waste in their neighborhood, on the streets, open spaces, and vacant lands, into the drains or water bodies.

Provide a large container with lid which may match with the transportation system of the local body and deposit all the waste generated in the premises in such containers.

Hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

Not to throw any solid waste in their neighborhood, on the streets, open spaces, and vacant lands, into the drains or water bodies.

Not to dispose off the biomedical waste in the municipal dust bins or other waste collection or storage site meant for municipal solid waste.

Store the waste as per the directions contained in the Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Biomedical waste (Management & Handling) Rules. 1998.

Construction/ demolition waste

Not to deposit construction waste or debris on the streets, footpaths, pavements, open spaces, water bodies etc.

Store the waste within the premises or with permission of the authorities just outside the premises without obstructing the traffic preferably in a container if available through the local body or private contractors.

Garden waste

Compost the waste with in the garden, if possible. Trim the garden waste once in a week on the days notified by the local body.

Store the waste into large bags or bins for handing over to the municipal authorities appointed for the purpose on the day of collection notified.

Reduction or reuse

Solid waste management programs should be targeted for reduction in the region's waste streams and should provide incentives for decreased generation of wastes. Variable garbage collection rates, based on volume or weight, should be used to reward those who generate less waste and separate their recyclables at the source. The use of throwaway/disposable goods should be discouraged and regulated.

Products or packaging that are unsafe in production, use, post-consumer use, or that produce or release harmful products when disposed should be phased out. Excess packaging and packaging that is difficult to recycle should be eliminated. Manufacturers of new products and packaging should be required to minimize waste and toxicity in production and to demonstrate environmentally sound post-consumer use and disposal.

Product should be made to last as long as possible by the use of durable designs and materials, and the availability of repair services and replacement parts. Consumers should repair, resell, exchange, or donate unwanted product as much as possible to avoid disposal. Sharing and rental of tools and equipment is encouraged.

Priority should be given to establish standardized and refillable containers for beverages and other products. New beverage containers without the mechanism or market for reuse or recycling should be prohibited.

Waste management programs should include strong public education campaigns in source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.


Community solid waste management planning should be based on an analysis of the quantity and composting of the area's municipal and commercial waste streams to determine what can feasibly be managed by source reduction and recycling.

Joint planning by community/environmental groups/recyclers to minimize contractual problems and other issues involving municipal personnel and to maximize environmental benefits is encouraged.

Economic considerations of recycling should include avoided disposal fees, the avoidance of future clean-up costs, the costs of future land acquisition, transportation, and facility development. Disposal cost savings of recycling programs should be publicized. Disposal surcharges may be used s means of financing recycling programs.

The establishment of stable markets for recycled materials is essential. Awareness should be created to promote procurement of products containing a high content of recycled and recyclable material, and require that contracts specify products with the highest practical percentage of recycled content.

Products and packaging materials should be conspicuously labeled to indicate recycled content, including post-consumer content, recyclability, toxicity and appropriate disposal.

Household and small quantity commercial toxic and hazardous waste should be segregated, labeled and collected separately in community-level programs that recycle, treat, or otherwise safely manage those wastes.

A comprehensive waste management program should aim to recover all useful materials, with zero trash the ultimate goal. After source separation of recyclables, remaining salvageable materials should be recovered from the waste stream.

Discarded tires should be recapped, reused as rubber, or reclaimed by processing into material for road surfacing or other uses. Burning of tires is strongly discouraged to prevent emission of toxic or harmful gases.

Components of the waste stream such as wood waste, construction and demolition debris, and white goods (e.g, stoves and refrigerators) should be removed and processed to recover the material, Refrigerants should be recovered and recycled.

Items, which can be repaired such as furniture, tools and small appliances, should be recovered and made available to the public through second-hand shops, charitable organizations or waste exchanges.


Composting of kitchen and yard wastes at the household and community level should be encouraged through public education and dissemination of information on composting. Grass clippings should be left on the lawn to provide fertilizer and help conserve moisture.

Organic materials such as kitchen waste, yard waste, and wet or soiled paper that cannot be recycled should be composted to produce a useful product. Curb side pick-up of separated compostable material should be encouraged as part of the waste management program. Community drop off centre should be provided if curbside pick-up is available.

If source separation is not used, appropriate materials should be separated from mixed waste for composting. Composting should serve to complement programs for recycling and reuse rather than substituting for these programs.


Land filling should be limited to materials that cannot be managed through preferable options. Material entering landfills should be regulated and monitored to prevent the introduction of any hazardous substances. For land filling Government authorization is compulsory.

Land filling shall be restricted to non-biodegradable, insert waste and other waste that are not suitable either for recycling or for biological processing. Land filling shall also be carried out for residues of waste processing facilities as well as pre-processing rejects from waste processing facilities. Land filling of mixed waste shall be avoided unless the same is found unsuitable for waste processing. Under unavoidable circumstance or till installation of alternate facilities, land filling shall be done following proper norms.

Rules, Acts and Notifications for Solid Waste Management

The right to live in a clean and healthy environment is not only a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of our Constitution but is also a right recognized and enforced by the courts of law under different laws. The Constitution of India, 1950 the earliest legislation and which is the supreme law of the land has imposed a fundamental duty on every citizen of India under Article 51-A (g) to protect and improve the environment. The obligation on the State to protect the environment is expressed under Article 48 A. The right to live in a healthy environment is also a basic human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 has declared under Article 3 that everyone has the right to life and under Article 25 that everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for health and well being of himself and of his family.

At the national policy level, the Ministry of Environment and forests has notified the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling Rule) 2000 in exercise of the power conferred on it under sections 3, 6 and 25 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. These Rules shall apply to every municipal authority responsible for the collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes.

Composting of wastes is now a legal requirement provided under the MSW Rules 2000 for all municipal bodies in the country. The MSW Rules 2000 requires that "biodegradable wastes shall be processed by composting, vermicomposting anaerobic digestion or any other appropriate biological processing for the stabilization of wastes."

Every municipal authority shall within territorial area of the municipality, be responsible for the implementation of the provision of these Rules, and for any infrastructure development for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes.

The central Government, to perform its function effectively as contemplated under sections 6, 8 and 25 of the environment protection Act, 1986, has also made or issued other Rules, Notification and Orders that imping upon the environment safe handling of wastes. These include:

The Bio-Medical Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998.

The Recycled plastics (Manufacture and Usage) Rules, 1999. The plastic Rules:

Prohibit the usage of carry bags or containers made of recycled plastics for storing, carryng, dispensing or packaging of foodstuffs.

Prescribe that the minimum thickness of carry bags made of recycled plastics shall not be less than 20 microns.

Directs the manufacturers of carry bags that the carry bags and containers shall be in natural shape or white in colour.

Stipulate that recycling of plastics shall be undertaken strictly in accordance with the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The manufacturers of recycled plastics carry bags shall mark their products as "recycled".

This notification also provides that the plastics industries Association through member units shall undertake self-regulatory measures.

Do's and Don'ts to assist the authorities

Carry your own cloth or jute bag when you go for shopping.

Say no to all plastic bags as far as possible, Replace will paper, cloth and jute bags.

Reuse the soft drinks pet bottles.

Segregate the waste in the house as wet and dry. Keep two garbage bins and see to it that the biodegradable and the no-biodegradable material is put into separate bins and disposed of separately.

Dig a compost pit in your garden and put all the biodegradable waste into it to provide you with rich manure for your garden.

See to it that all garbage is thrown into the municipal bin for further disposal of municipal solid waste. Do not litter on road or in offices, theatres, market places and/or any other common public places. When you go out, do not throw paper and other wrappings or even leftover food here and there, make sure that it is put into a dustbin.

Do not throw the waste/ litter on the streets, drains, open spaces, water bodies, etc.

Community storage/ collection of waste in flats, multi-storied building, societies, commercial complexes, etc. " Manage extra of pet dogs and cats appropriately.

Provide waste processing/disposal at a community level.

Organise public education and awareness programs. Increase awareness in children by interesting education programs in schools.