With the rapid growth of population, there has been a substantial increase in the generation of solid waste resulting into the contamination of air, water and land resources. Human activities create waste, and it is the way these wastes are handled, stored, collected and disposed of that pose risks to the environment and to public health. Municipal solid wastes, commonly known as trash or garbage, are the solid wastes generated from different municipalities. Some of these wastes have been proved to be extremely toxic and infectious. The uncontrolled and unscientific dumping of such wastes has brought about a rising number of incidents of hazards to human health. More serious risk to human health is envisaged due to contamination of surface and ground water.
Realizing the need for proper and scientific management of solid waste, the Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2000 were notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, in exercise of the Powers conferred by Section 3, 6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 with the objective of regulating the management and handling of the Municipal Solid Wastes. The objective of these Rules was to make every municipal authority responsible for the implementation of the various provisions of the Rules within its territorial area and also to develop an effective infrastructure for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of Municipal Solid Wastes (MSW). The indiscriminate dumping of municipal solid wastes in water bodies and low lying areas is a common practice followed by most of the municipalities with no consideration of its effect on the environment. Moreover, the lack of the basic information regarding generation, collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste is noted.
These Rules lay down the responsibility of management of solid waste disposal and various standards for disposal of treated leachate (liquid that seeped through solid waste and other medium and has extracted dissolved or suspended material from it). The Rules also define terms like “anaerobic digestion”, “biodegradable digestion”, “composting”, “leachate”, “vasode water”, “vermicomposting”, etc. The management of a solid waste has been made the responsibility of municipal authority under Rule 4. The District Magistrate, Deputy Commissioner shall have the over all responsibility for the enforcement of the provisions under these Rules.