India’s Recycling Communities

Scrap waste collected in Bholakpur Photo Courtesy of The Hindu

Scrap waste collected in Bholakpur
Photo Courtesy of The Hindu

What happens to obsolete computer or the animal skins from meat factories?

The majority of people couldn’t answer whether these items are recycled or landfilled. A recent article in The Hindu gives some insight into what happens to these items in Bholakpur, a small area of Hyderabad, and it is a surprisingly important industry. Much of what might be considered trash in the Hyderabad area plays an important role in in the community being recycled by families, and resold on the secondary market.

Once inside (Bholakpur), the animal skins go to one of the 200 skin processing units and the plastic and iron scrap to one of the 500-odd plastic or 300-odd iron scrap dealers. There it is sorted and either cleaned up and resold, or ground, melted and transformed into raw material for industrial use. Thus giving new life to waste and also earning a living for the people involved in the process. This includes over 60 per cent of the ward’s 36,000 voter population.

These recycling communities don’t just exist in the Hyderabad area, but also in many of the large metropolitan areas in India. It is an important industry that serves to help reuse some of the 188,500 tons of solid waste that India produces per day. According to Forbes because of India’s rapid urbanization, its solid waste is expected to double by 2025, while many other countries such as the US and Germany are expected to reduce their solid waste.

Currently there is little to no governmental involvement in these vital communities. In fact in Bholakpur, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation suggested moving the community to a village 25 km from its current location, completely disrupting the trade and recycling of the solid waste of the area, and leaving the majority of the community out of work. The GHMC fails to recognize the community’s value to solid waste management; they also recently entered into a deal to set up a criticized environmentally damaging waste–to-energy plant.

With the waste in India continuing to grow, the government needs to recognize the value these grassroots recycling communities have to the overall country, and offer assistance and support. The communities have the ability to save the government money on solid waste management, and offer a livelihood for thousands of families.

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

3 thoughts on “India’s Recycling Communities

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