Today, a third of India’s 1.2 billion people live in urban areas. Together, they generate approximately 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually. This waste heap is expected to grow rapidly to 165 million tonnes per year by 2031. As a result, the already-massive annual GHG emissions from MSW are expected to double, from 19.17 million tonnes of CO2e in 2015 to 41.09 million tonnes by 2030.
Until now, most MSW is disposed of at landfills or unmanaged dumpsites, causing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental, social and economic problems. The very low treatment rate is due to the absence of waste segregation-at-source, deficient management capacities, a lack of data regarding waste stream composition and insufficient financing and enforcement of existing regulation and policies.
This NSP aims to achieve the low-carbon transformation of the Indian waste sector by scaling up and de-risking investment, strengthening the regulatory framework, thus ensuring uptake of the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle concept of an integrated circular-economy waste management system, and leveraging the strengths of the informal recycling sector. In addition, the NSP will facilitate the implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) through platforms for the coordinated engagement of various stakeholders.
The NSP will be implemented in five model cities: Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Varanasi and Goa (state), and potentially two additional cities. It will create role model Source Segregation Systems in these cities, set up semi-mechanized material recovery facilities and upscale existing recycling facilities. Innovative organic waste treatment technology will be piloted in new plants, existing compost facilities will be improved and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) co-processing in cement plants will be supported.
With these combined measures, it is expected that the NSP will help to reduce CO2 emissions in the waste sector by around 5.2 million tonnes of CO2e over 10 years, and 10.4 million tonnes with the inclusion of indirect emission reductions. Through the increased financial sustainability of the soon-to-be introduced integrated MSW management, other municipalities across the country are expected begin replicating this NSP's approach.