New Delhi: The government is seeking technological solutions for managing the huge untreated waste across the country which is not only leading to poor sanitary conditions but also damaging the environment.

Around 62 million tonnes (mt) of solid waste is generated in India every year but only 43 mt is collected and a mere 12 mt treated. Similarly, about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated everyday but of that, only 9,000 tonnes is collected and processed.

Now, the science and technology ministry has called for a concept note in waste management technologies by 31 January from interested academic institutes and research & development (R&D) organizations.

According to the ministry’s note, the government is looking at organizations to participate in developing technologies for biomedical waste and for setting up a demo plant for hazardous waste in an institute or university. 

It is also looking at technologies to address agricultural waste (stubble management) to find an alternative to crop burning, among the major reasons for hazardous levels of air pollution in Delhi and adjoining regions in the winter months. 

The move is part of government’s concept of ‘waste to wealth’. 

Electronic waste is another focus area as the government is looking at developing “simple indigenous material recovery technology for specific applications (precious and other metals, plastics, glass and rare earths) in collaboration with industry".

India generates 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste annually, which is rising at the rate of 5% a year.

Besides these, other major areas that are on the government’s radar are urban and rural solid waste and industrial waste. As per the note, the government is interested in technologies to manage existing landfills for activities like gas extraction and material mining, for addressing non-recyclable packaging material, household hazardous waste, construction and demolition waste, sewage sludge, end of life vehicles, tyres, batteries, solid waste from chemical industry and industrial sludge. 

“Once the ministry gets proposals, ideas will be shortlisted and only selected organizations will be called to take the project further," said a senior official of the Union science and technology ministry requesting anonymity. 

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