Chennai: Solid waste management business in India largely remains untapped and unorganised, despite being capable of fetching over Rs6,000 crore per annum, an industry study has said.
By providing an efficient system to manage 15 million tonnes of waste generated annually in India, entrepreneurs could make a handsome Rs6,128 crore, said the study, which would be published in the forthcoming issue of Dare, a magazine for entrepreneurs from the CyberMedia group.
As part of the study, Dare spoke to experts in the field of waste management, NGOs and a handful of companies which had ventured into this sector.
More then half of the revenue— Rs3,624 crore— could come from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. The remaining revenue could come from the 36 big cities, including Ahmedabad, Baroda, Pune Patna, Jamshedpur, Amritsar, Bhopal, Coimbatore and Kochi.
“In India, the market is yet to take shape, thanks to the government’s apathy and our mindset on waste disposal. We need to take a page out of the experience of Western countries,” said Krishna Kumar, Group Editor of Dare.
Being unorganized, the Indian waste management market is very small compared to that in the US, which earned $46.5 billion (around Rs181,675 crore) in 2005.
The waste management cycle involves collection, transportation segregation, treatment and disposal of organic, recyclable and inert waste.
The waste could be used to landfill sites, incineration, recycling and composting.
In Delhi, the collection of 6,000 tonnes of waste every day could rake in Rs365 crore a year.
Sale of compost made out of bio-degradable could earn Rs657 crore and that of recyclable could fetch Rs274 crore, making a total revenue of Rs1,022 crore annually.
According to Assocham estimates, Mumbai generated 5,800 tonnes of waste per day followed by Kolkata at 4,000 tonnes, Bangalore at 2,800 tonnes, and Chennai at 2,675 tonnes.
Currently waste management in India mostly means picking up waste from residential and industrial areas and dumping it at landfill sites.
Waste collection is usually done on a contract basis in most cities it is done by rag pickers, small-time contractors and municipalities.
Conversion of garbage into energy through burning is also a method of waste management. According to the Planning Commission, there was a potential of 2,700 mw of power generation from urban and industrial waste in the country.
The Eleventh five year plan even targets 400 mw of power generation from waste. However, the study points out that several such initiatives have suffered due to red tapism.
In the recycling method, garbage is segregated into organic, inert and recyclable waste. In India, unlike Western economies, segregation of waste at the household-level is not widely practised.
The study points out that the first step towards maximizing this opportunity was a change in mindset about doing business from waste.