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Case Study of the Day: Decentralized Solid Waste Management – Cradle-to-Grave Model

Table of Contents


In the city of Mysuru, Karnataka, changes have been brought about by adopting the decentralised management of biodegradable waste and the cradle-to-grave model.

About the Model

  • Before 2014, the scenario of waste generated in Mysuru was not different from that of other cities, as waste collected was not segregated, resulting in a growing height of dumpsites, all of which demanded a sustainable solution.
  • The following system has been introduced for the implementation of biodegradable waste management:
    • Source segregation
    • Processing of biodegradable waste by Aerobic composting, which include:
      • Centralised biodegradable waste processing unit, which produced compost from Biodegradable waste
      • Decentralised zero-waste management units: To maximise processing efficiency and minimise load on the centralised compost unit, while minimising transfer-related issues such as the spilling of waste, foul smell and leaking.
        • This process also reduces the chances of mixing waste at the secondary centre, making the processing of biodegradable waste more accessible and convenient, and material recovery more reliable and efficient.
  • The following Impacts have been evident:
    • Environmental
      • According to Mysuru City Corporation, due to the effort, only 2–4% of inerts, non-recyclables and residues from zero-waste plants go to landfills.
      • Solid waste’s biodegradable content is a potent polluter, due to its capacity to generate methane and leachate during decomposition, whose long-term effects include global warming, climate change and groundwater pollution from seepage.
      • Environmental and human health has reportedly improved because of decreased pollution levels.
    • Employment and Empowerment:
      • The manual work in the operations of the model engages more women workers, safaimitras and self-help groups, which helps them achieve dignified lives.
  • Considering the impact of the cradle-to-grave model, while realising its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, makes it a perfect model to replicate in small urban local bodies of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, in other parts of India.

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