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The generation of waste and the collection, processing, transport and disposal of waste—the process of ‘waste management’—is important for both the health of the public and aesthetic and environmental reasons. Waste is anything discarded by an individual, household or organization. As a result waste is a complex mixture of different substances. The management of municipal solid waste has become an acute problem due to enhanced economic activities and rapid urbanization. Increased attention has been given by the government in recent years to handle this problem in a safe and hygienic manner
It's estimated that 59% of Delhi's waste is recycled courtesy of waste pickers, who sift through trash to recover salable waste. It's hardly a glamorous, clean, or particularly lucrative life, but for approximately 1% of the population it's all they have. In the process of making a meagre income, they also provide a public service.
The result of all this is that for over a decade waste incineration projects in Delhi have been considered un-viable, due to the quality of the trash. Nonetheless, a new incinerator is planned to be built in the Delhi suburb of Timarpur and Okhla. Using some skewed logic, it will receive carbon credits under Clean Development Mechanism—which can ultimately be sold on to a country wishing to reduce their on-paper carbon emissions—because of the amount of methane released from the landfill will be reduced as the waste is turned into electricity.

Submitted: July 12, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 12, 2012



Waste Management and Clean Development Mechanism


Rohit Kumar

Campus Law Center

Faculty of Law

University Of Delhi 




Key Words: Clean Development Mechanism, Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Greenhouse gases, Health, Hazardous substance, Kyoto Protocol, Municipal Waste, solid waste management.
















1) Introduction

2) History

3) What is Municipal Waste?

3.1 Environmental issues

3.2 Methods of Waste Management

 4) Hazardous substance associated with Waste Management.

4.1Health Impact of Solid Waste

4.1.1 Impacts of solid waste on health

5) Waste Management and Climate Change.

5.1Climate impact of waste management practices


5.1.2 Combustion

5.1.3 Land filling

6) Municipal Solid Waste and Carbon Finance.


6.1 The Kyoto mechanisms.

6.1.1 Clean Development Mechanism.

6.1.2 Joint Implementation

6.3 CDM in India 

7) Municipal waste management in India.

7.1 Storage

7.1.1 Collection

7.1.2 Transfer and Transport

8) Waste Generation in New Delhi.


8.1 Municipal Solid Waste overview


8.2 Sanitary Land Fill Sites

8.2.1Existing Sanitary Land Fill Sites:

8.2.2Proposed sites:

9)Is Waste to Energy an option for Climate Change?

9.1 Waste to Energy Delhi.

9.1.1 Salient Features of Timarpur Okhla Waste to Energy Project.














Waste Management and Clean Development Mechanism

“Solid wastes are only raw materials we’re too stupid to use”

Arthur C. Clarke


 The generation of waste and the collection, processing, transport and disposal of waste—the process of ‘waste management’—is important for both the health of the public and aesthetic and environmental reasons. Waste is anything discarded by an individual, household or organization. As a result waste is a complex mixture of different substances. The management of municipal solid waste has become an acute problem due to enhanced economic activities and rapid urbanization. Increased attention has been given by the government in recent years to handle this problem in a safe and hygienic manner

It's estimated that 59% of Delhi's waste is recycled courtesy of waste pickers, who sift through trash to recover salable waste. It's hardly a glamorous, clean, or particularly lucrative life, but for approximately 1% of the population it's all they have. In the process of making a meagre income, they also provide a public service.

The result of all this is that for over a decade waste incineration projects in Delhi have been considered un-viable, due to the quality of the trash. Nonetheless, a new incinerator is planned to be built in the Delhi suburb of Timarpur and Okhla. Using some skewed logic, it will receive carbon credits under Clean Development Mechanism—which can ultimately be sold on to a country wishing to reduce their on-paper carbon emissions—because of the amount of methane released from the landfill will be reduced as the waste is turned into electricity.


Solid waste is any unwanted or discarded material that is not a liquid or a gas. In nature there is essentially no solid waste because the waste of organism is nutrient of another organism.

We always produce some solid waste directly and indirectly in creating the goods and services we use.The solid waste we produce directly is called garbage. For the most people in developed countries garbage truck arrive and whisk away this waste out of sight, out of mind. But most people do not realize that mines, factories , food growers, and businesses that supply people with goods and services produce about 98% of the world’s solid waste as the provide us an incredible array of goods and services .

  • Rohit Kumar, Campus Law Center, 2nd year LLB, Faculty Of Law , University Of Delhi.

Why should we care about the amount of solid waste we produce directly or indirectly? First, because much of it Represent an unnecessary waste of earth’s precious resources. Second because producing the solid products we use and often discard leads to huge amount of air pollution (including greenhouse gases), water pollution, and land degradation.

Solid[1] waste management is a polite term for garbage management. As long as humans have been living in settled communities, solid waste, or garbage, has been an issue, and modern societies generate far more solid waste than early humans ever did. Daily life in industrialized nations can generate several pounds of solid waste per consumer, not only directly in the home, but indirectly in factories that manufacture goods purchased by consumers. Solid waste management is a system for handling all of this garbage; municipal waste collection is solid waste management, as are recycling programs, dumps, and incinerators.

To the great benefit of archeology, early solid waste management consisted of digging pits and throwing garbage into them. This created a record of the kinds of lives that people lived, showing things like what people ate, the materials used to make eating utensils, and other interesting glimpses into historic daily life. When human cities began to be more concentrated, however, solid waste management became a serious issue. Houses that did not have room to bury their garbage would throw it into the streets, making a stroll to the corner store an unpleasant prospect. In response, many cities started to set up municipal garbage collection, in the form of rag and bone men who would buy useful garbage from people and recycle it, or waste collection teams which would dispose of unusable garbage.

For[2] most industrialized nations today, solid waste management is a multibillion dollar business which is also crucial to survival. Garbage collection agencies remove tons of garbage yearly and sort it for recycling or ultimate disposal. Most cities require citizens to pay for waste collection, while rural areas have dumps and recycling facilities for citizens to bring their garbage to. The end goal is a reduction of the amount of garbage clogging the streets and polluting the environment, whether that garbage is disposed of or recycled into something useful. Solid waste management also is focused on developing environmentally sound methods of handling garbage; for example, solid waste is no longer dumped into oceans or unlined pits.

There are a number of types of solid waste which need to be dealt with. The first is recyclable waste, objects which are useful, but no longer wanted. Solid waste management includes the construction of facilities to recycle these goods, which include scrap metal, glass, cans, paper, plastics, wood, and similar materials. Another category is toxic waste; waste which could potentially contaminate the environment, meaning that it needs to be handled with care. This category includes electronic waste, a growing problem in many industrialized nations. Next is green waste such as compost and yard clippings. People with land can compost their own green waste, and many cities collect it separately from true garbage, the final category, so that the green waste can be composted and returned to the earth.

The majority of solid waste is collected in bins ranging in size from household trash cans to industrial dumpsters which are filled by individuals or companies. Solid waste collection trucks roam the streets on regular schedules to collect these bins. Garbage is also collected by street sweeping agencies, volunteer cleanup organizations, and through consumers who bring their waste directly to the solid waste management company. Once solid waste is collected, it is routed to a recycling facility, garbage facility that can handle toxic waste, composting center, or disposed of. Many solid waste management companies maintain large dumps for this purpose, while others incinerate their garbage, using the energy generated by the incinerator to run a recycling plant or feed power back into the electrical grid.


Between 1942 and 1953, Hooker Chemicals3[3] and plastics (owned by Oxychem since 1968) sealed chemical waste containing at least 200 different chemicals into steel drum and dumped them into an old canal excavation (called love canal after its builder William love) near Niagara Falls, New York

In 1953, Hooker Chemicals filled the canal, covered it with clay and topsoil and sold it to the Niagara Falls school board. The company inserted a disclaimer in deed denying legal liability for any injury caused by the waste. In 1957, Hooker warned the school board not to disturb the clay cap because possible danger from buried toxic wastes.

By 1959, an elementary school, playing fields, and 949 homes, had been built in the 10 square-block Love canal[4] area. Some of the roads and sewer lines crisscrossing the dumpsite disrupted the clay cap covering the wastes. In 1960s, an expressway was built at one end of the dump. It blocks the underground water from migrating to the Niagara River and allowed contaminated groundwater and rainwater to build up and overflow the disrupted cap.

  Residents began complaining to the city officials in 1976 about chemical smells and chemical burn their children received playing in canal area, but their concerns were ignored. In 1977, chemicals began leaking from the badly corroded steel drums into storm sewer, gardens basements of homes next to the canal, and the school playground.

In 1978, after media publicity and pressure led by Lois Gibbs, a mother galvanized into action as she watched her children come down with illness after another, state acted. It closed the school and arranged for the 239 homes closest to the dump to be evacuated, purchased and destroyed.


Two year later, after protest from families still living fairly close to the landfill, President Jimmy carter declared Love canal a federal disaster area, had the remaining families relocated, and offered federal funds to buy 564 more homes. Because of the difficulty in linking exposure to the variety of the chemicals to specific health problems, the long term health effects of Love canal residents’ exposure to hazardous chemicals remain unknown and controversial.

The dumpsite has been covered with a new clay cap and surrounded by a drainage system for pumping leaking wastes to new treatment plant. In June 1990 state officials began selling 260 of remaining houses in the area – renamed it as Black Creek village. Buyer must sign an agreement stating that New York state and the federal government makes no guarantees or representations about the safety of living in these homes.

Love canal sparked creation of superfund law, which forced polluters to pay for cleaning up (polluter pay principle) abandoned toxic waste dumps and made them wary of producing new ones. In 1983, love canal became first superfund site. After 21 year and nearly $400 million in clean up costs, it was removed from superfund priority list in March 2004.

The love canal incident is vivid reminder of three lessons from nature: we can really throw anything away; wastes often do not stay put; and preventing pollution is much safer and cheaper than trying to clean it up.

3.What is Municipal Waste?

Municipal solid waste (MSW)[5], commonly known as trash or garbage (US), refuse or rubbish (UK) is a waste type consisting of everyday items that are discard by the public.

The composition of municipal waste varies greatly from country to country and changes significantly with time.

In countries which have a developed recycling culture, the waste stream consists mainly of intractable wastes such as plastic film, and un-recyclable packaging. At the start of the 20th century, the majority of domestic waste in the UK consisted of coal ash from open fires

In developed countries without significant recycling it predominantly includes food wastes, yard wastes, containers and product packaging, and other miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial sources. Examples of inorganic wastes are appliances, newspapers, clothing, food scraps, boxes, disposable tableware, office and classroom paper, furniture, wood pallets, rubber tires, and cafeteria wastes. Municipal solid waste does not include industrial wastes, agricultural wastes, and sewage sludge. The collection is performed by the municipality within a given area. They are in either solid or semi-solid form. The term residual waste relates to waste left from household sources containing materials that have not been separated out or sent for reprocessing. Following are the different types of wastes.

  • Biodegradable waste: food and kitchen waste, green waste, paper (can also be recycled).
  • Recyclable material: paper, glass, bottles, cans, metals, certain plastics ,fabrics, clothes, batteries etc.
  • Inert waste: construction and demolition waste, dirt, rocks, debris.
  • Electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) - electrical appliances, TVs, computers, screens, etc.
  • Composite wastes: waste clothing, Tetra Packs, waste plastics such as toys.
  • Domestic hazardous waste (also called "household hazardous waste") & toxic waste: medication, , paints, chemicals, light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, spray cans, fertilizer and pesticide containers,, shoe polish.


3.1 Environmental issues

Traditionally, municipalities[6] have focused on providing solid waste management services. Provision of urban solid waste services, including waste collection, transfer, recycling, resource recovery and disposal, is separately discussed as a key urban service directly under Urban Development. That discussion includes key elements of institutional and financial arrangements, regulatory frameworks, economic instruments, privatization, technology choices and occupational health and safety of solid waste workers.

Increasingly, municipalities additionally address urban environment issues related to solid waste management. Public concern and sensitivity to environmental issues is driving this expanded agenda. These include:

  • health and environmental impacts of solid waste facilities, including transfer, composting and landfill facilities
  • air emissions from waste collection and transfer vehicles
  • Special handling and disposal of hazardous wastes, including healthcare and industrial hazardous waste.

Urban environmental management of solid waste responds to the local regulatory framework that is typically articulated within municipal ordinances and the national public health code. More recently, municipalities need also to address national environmental policies and regulations. There is opportunity for cities to motivate environmental improvements in solid waste management through economic instruments. Such instruments provide incentives and disincentives for polluters to reduce emissions and recycle wastes beyond regulatory requirements.

Clandestine solid waste accumulations and official solid waste dumping facilities raise public concerns because of potential smoke from open burning, odors, insects, rodents, gaseous emissions and water pollution that might result. To successfully develop new and improved solid waste disposal facilities under projects requires strong commitment to public consultation and consensus building. To a lesser extent, transfer and treatment facilities also trigger public concerns, often about truck traffic, and require public consultation as part of project development. There are numerous opportunities for community-based solid waste primary collection, recycling and composting systems through involvement of neighborhood and non-government organizations working closely with residents. Ultimately, successful cost-recovery for solid waste improvements relies on public consultations that enable local government to understand the public’s service preferences and willingness to pay.




3.2 Methods of Waste Management

Waste management[7]  is now tightly regulated in most developed countries and includes the generation, collection, processing, transport and disposal of waste. In addition the remediation of waste sites is an important issue, both to reduce hazards whilst operational and to prepare the site for a change of use (e.g. for building).

The major methods of waste management are:

  1. Recycling—the recovery of materials from products after they have been used by consumers.
  2. Composting—an aerobic, biological process of degradation of biodegradable organic matter.
  3. Sewage treatment—a process of treating raw sewage to produce a non-toxic liquid effluent which is discharged to rivers or sea and a semi-solid sludge, which is used as a soil amendment on land, incinerated or disposed of in land fill.
  4. Incineration—a process of combustion designed to recover energy and reduce the volume of waste going to disposal.
  5. Landfill—the deposition of waste in a specially designated area, which in modern sites consists of a pre-constructed ‘cell’ lined with an impermeable layer (man-made or natural) and with controls to minimize emissions.

4.Hazardous substance associated with Waste Management

Environmental monitoring[8] of all potential sources of pollution from different waste management options has been, and is being continuously, carried out and thus a great deal is known about the types and amount of substances emanating from them. Whatever the waste management option, it is generally the case that: (a) there are usually a large number of different substances; and (b) only a few of these are produced in any quantity with many being at extremely low levels. Gases emitted from landfill sites, for example, consist principally of methane and carbon dioxide, with other gases, such as hydrogen sulphide and mercury vapour being emitted at low concentrations, and a mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) comprising approximately 0.5%. A WHO exposure assessment expert group suggested that priority pollutants should be defined on the basis of toxicity, environmental persistence and mobility, bioaccumulation and other hazards such as explositivity. In addition to the substances above, they suggested that landfill site investigations should consider metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), chlorinated hydrocarbons, pesticides, dioxins, asbestos, pharmaceuticals and pathogens. Waste incineration also produces a large number of pollutants from the combustion of sewage sludge, chemical, clinical and municipal waste, which can be grouped as particles and gases, metals, and organic compounds. Ten pollutants considered having the greatest potential impact on human health based on environmental persistence, bioaccumulation and amount emitted and/or on inherent toxicity were cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, and dioxins, PCBs, PAHs, PM10 and SO2. Microbial pathogens are a potential source of hazard, particularly in composting and sewage treatment but also in landfill. Dust and the production of particulate matter are produced in landfill, incineration and composting processes and by road traffic involved in all waste management options.

Less easily quantifiable hazards, which might nevertheless impact on the population near a waste disposal site, include odours, litter, noise, heavy traffic, flies and birds.

4.1Health Impact of Solid Waste

Modernization[9] and progress has had its share of disadvantages and one of the main aspects of concern is the pollution it is causing to the earth – be it land, air, and water. With increase in the global population and the rising demand for food and other essentials, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated daily by each household. This waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centres from where it is collected by the area municipalities to be further thrown into the landfills and dumps. However, either due to resource crunch or inefficient infrastructure, not all of this waste gets collected and transported to the final dumpsites. If at this stage the management and disposal is improperly done, it can cause serious impacts on health and problems to the surrounding environment.

Waste that is not properly managed, especially excreta and other liquid and solid waste from households and the community, are a serious health hazard and lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Unattended waste lying around attracts flies, rats, and other creatures that in turn spread disease. Normally it is the wet waste that decomposes and releases a bad odour. This leads to unhygienic conditions and thereby to a rise in the health problems. The plague outbreak in Surat is a good example of a city suffering due to the callous attitude of the local body in maintaining cleanliness in the city. Plastic waste is another cause for ill health. Thus excessive solid waste that is generated should be controlled by taking certain preventive measures.


4.1.1 Impacts of solid waste on health

The group at risk[10] from the unscientific disposal of solid waste include – the population in areas where there is no proper waste disposal method, especially the pre-school children; waste workers; and workers in facilities producing toxic and infectious material. Other high-risk group include population living close to a waste dump and those, whose water supply has become contaminated either due to waste dumping or leakage from landfill sites. Uncollected solid waste also increases risk of injury, and infection.

In particular, organic domestic waste poses a serious threat, since they ferment, creating conditions favourable to the survival and growth of microbial pathogens. Direct handling of solid waste can result in various types of infectious and chronic diseases with the waste workers and the rag pickers being the most vulnerable.

Exposure to hazardous waste can affect human health, children being more vulnerable to these pollutants. In fact, direct exposure can lead to diseases through chemical exposure as the release of chemical waste into the environment leads to chemical poisoning. Many studies have been carried out in various parts of the world to establish a connection between health and hazardous waste.

Waste from agriculture and industries can also cause serious health risks. Other than this, co-disposal of industrial hazardous waste with municipal waste can expose people to chemical and radioactive hazards. Uncollected solid waste can also obstruct storm water runoff, resulting in the forming of stagnant water bodies that become the breeding ground of disease. Waste dumped near a water source also causes contamination of the water body or the ground water source. Direct dumping of untreated waste in rivers, seas, and lakes results in the accumulation of toxic substances in the food chain through the plants and animals that feed on it.

Disposal of hospital and other medical waste requires special attention since this can create major health hazards. This waste generated from the hospitals, health care centres, medical laboratories, and research centres such as discarded syringe needles, bandages, swabs, plasters, and other types of infectious waste are often disposed with the regular non-infectious waste.

Waste treatment and disposal sites[11] can also create health hazards for the neighborhood. Improperly operated incineration plants cause air pollution and improperly managed and designed landfills attract all types of insects and rodents that spread disease. Ideally these sites should be located at a safe distance from all human settlement. Landfill sites should be well lined and walled to ensure that there is no leakage into the nearby ground water sources.

Recycling too carries health risks if proper precautions are not taken. Workers working with waste containing chemical and metals may experience toxic exposure. Disposal of health-care wastes require special attention since it can create major health hazards, such as Hepatitis B and C, through wounds caused by discarded syringes. Rag pickers and others, who are involved in scavenging in the waste dumps for items that can be recycled, may sustain injuries and come into direct contact with these infectious items.


5.Waste Management and Climate Change

Methane emissions[12] from landfill are generally considered to represent the major source of Climate impact in the waste sector (this impact is quantified in later sections). It is worth noting That, if a broader view of waste management were taken, which included materials Management, landfill methane would no longer be the largest source of GHG in the sector. The Potential to save GHG through improved materials management (i.e. preventing material waste) Waste contains organic material, such as food, paper, wood, and garden trimmings. Once Waste is deposited in a landfill; microbes begin to consume the carbon in organic material, which causes decomposition? Under the anaerobic conditions prevalent in landfills, the microbial Communities contain methane-producing bacteria. As the microbes gradually decompose Organic matter over time, methane (approximately 50%), carbon dioxide (approximately 50%), and other trace amounts of gaseous compounds (< 1%) are generated and form landfill gas. In controlled landfills, the process of burying waste and regularly covering deposits with a low permeability material creates an internal environment that favors methane-producing bacteria. As with any ecological system, optimum conditions of temperature, moisture, and nutrient source (i.e. organic waste) result in greater biochemical activity and hence greater generation of landfill gas. The gradual decay of the carbon stock in a landfill generates emissions even after waste disposal has ceased. This is because the chemical and biochemical reactions take time to progress and only a small amount of the carbon contained in waste is emitted in the year this waste is disposed. Most is emitted gradually over a period of years.


5.1Climate impact of waste management practices

Every waste management practice generates GHG[13], both directly (i.e. emissions from the process itself) and indirectly (i.e. through energy consumption). However, the overall climate impact or benefit of the waste management system will depend on net GHGs, accounting for both emissions and GHG savings.


5.1.1Composting (an option for organic materials such as food scraps, yard waste and agricultural waste). Composting is the natural biological breakdown of organic material. During the process of aerobic composting (in the presence of oxygen), microorganisms consume the organic matter and release heat and carbon dioxide (CO2). However, most of the carbon contained in the organic matter is retained in the compost and therefore not released into the atmosphere. Composting is a waste management system that creates a recycled product that can be used in place of inorganic fertilizer. The net GHG emission is reduced because the energy intensive fertilizer production and associated GHGs are reduced.

5.1.2 Combustion releases both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide (around 300 time more potent a GHG than carbon dioxide, but making up only a small percentage of the total emissions). Energy released during combustion can be harnessed and used to power other processes, which results in an offset of GHG emissions from a reduction fossil fuel use. In addition combustion diverts waste from landfill, reducing the amount of methane produced. However burning garbage also produces waste in the form of ash. Most of this ash is sent to landfill but some is used to make products like building materials and road base.

5.1.3 Land filling is the most common waste management practice, and results in the release of methane from the anaerobic decomposition of organic materials. Methane is around 20 times more potent as a GHG than carbon dioxide. If the disposal of organic matter were decreased (for example by composting or combustion) it would be possible to reduce the amount of methane emissions. However, landfill methane is also a source of energy, and some landfills capture and use it for energy. In addition, many materials in landfills do not decompose fully, and the carbon that remains is sequestered in the landfill and not released into the atmosphere.

6 Municipal Solid Waste and Carbon Finance


Carbon finance is a new branch of Environmental finance. Carbon finance explores the financial implications of living in a carbon-constrained world, a world in which emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) carry a price.

 Kyoto Protocol[14] an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialized countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

The Kyoto protocol has set the guidelines for the calculation of and certification of Emission Reduction Units (ERU), commonly referred to as “Carbon Credits”. These are created by countries that have emissions to “spare”: this means the country has released emissions less than the amount allowed to them by Kyoto protocol. This difference creates a new market commodity. The protocol states these credits can be trade amongst parties to meet their reduction caps as under Annex B to the protocol. These credits may also be generated by CDM (clean development mechanism) or JI (Joint implementation)projects and brought/ sold as per market value.



6.1 The Kyoto mechanisms

Under the Kyoto Treaty[15], countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Kyoto Protocol offers them an additional means of meeting their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms.

The Kyoto mechanisms are:

  • Emissions trading – known as “the carbon market" 
  • Clean development mechanism (CDM)
  • Joint implementation (JI).

The mechanisms help stimulate green investment and help Parties meet their emission targets in a cost-effective way.

6.1.1 Clean Development Mechanism

The Clean Development Mechanism[16] (CDM), defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.

The mechanism is seen by many as a trailblazer. It is the first global, environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardized emissions offset instrument, CERs.

A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers.

The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.

The CDM[17] is subject to the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol and is to be supervised by an Executive Board. Emissions reductions resulting from project activities require certification by operational entities to be designated by the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on the basis of various factors, including that the reductions in emissions are additional to any that would occur in the absence of the certified project activity and that there are real, measurable and long-term benefits related to the mitigation of climate change. As with joint implementation, participation in the CDM may involve private and/or public entities, subject to the guidance of the Executive Board. Article 12 leaves the ‘modalities and procedures with the objective of ensuring transparency, efficiency and accountability through independent auditing and verification of project activities’ to be elaborated by the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.


6.1.2 Joint Implementation

Joint implementation[18] is a strategy proposed in Kyoto Protocol by which parties under Annex 1 of the convention may cooperate and meet their emission reduction requirement together. Countries proposing JI projects must show greater decrease in emission due to project than would occur between the Annex 1 countries having emission caps in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol.


6.2 As waste to energy projects helps to reduce the CHGs. The JI and CDM[19] have been useful mechanisms for obtaining external investment from industrialized countries. Open dumping and burning are common waste disposal methods in many developing countries, where GHG emissions occur concurrently with odours, public health and safety problems, and environmental degradation. In addition, developing countries often do not have existing infrastructure for collection and treatment of municipal wastewaters. Thus, the benefits from JI and CDM are twofold: improving waste management practices and reducing GH emissions. To date, CDM has assisted many landfill gas recovery projects while improving landfill operations, because adequate cover materials are required to minimize air intrusion during gas extraction (to prevent internal landfill fires). The validation of CDM projects requires attention to baselines, additionality and other criteria contained in approved methodologies; however, for landfill gas CDM projects, certified emission reductions (CERs, with units of tCO2-eq) are determined directly from quantification of the CH4 captured and combusted.


6.3 CDM in India 

India is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)[20] and the objective of the Convention is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

To strengthen the developed country commitments under the Convention, the Parties adopted Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which commits developed country Parties to return their emissions of greenhouse gases to an average of approximately 5.2% below 1990 levels over the period 2008-12.

The Kyoto Protocol provides for quantified emission limitations and reduction commitments for the developed countries and mechanisms to facilitate compliance with these targets, reporting and review and it lists six greenhouse gases - Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

India acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in August 2002 and one of the objectives of acceding was to fulfill prerequisites for implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (hereinafter referred to as CDM) projects, in accordance with national sustainable priorities, where-under, a developed country would take up greenhouse gas reduction project activities in developing countries where the costs of greenhouse gas reduction project activities are usually much lower with the purpose to assist developing country parties in achieving Sustainable Development and in contributing to the ultimate objective of the Convention and to assist developed country Parties in achieving compliance with their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments.

7 Municipal waste management in India

In India, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forests[21] "municipal solid waste" includes commercial and residential wastes generated in municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excluding industrial hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes (MoEF, 2000).  In simple words the municipal solid waste can be defined as the waste that is controlled and collected by local authority and municipality.
Municipal Solid Waste Management in India falls under the public health and sanitation and hence as per the Indian Constitution is a State responsibility.  This service has always been within the public domain until very recently, that the waste management services started being privatized. The activity being local in nature has been given to local municipal authorities that provide this service with its own staff, equipment and funds.

The Government of India (GoI) has encouraged the proper management of MSW from as early as 1960s when the Ministry of Food and Agriculture gave soft loans to the local municipal authorities for MSWM.  GoI also gave grants and loans to state government for setting up MSW composting facilities under the fourth five-year plan (1969-74).  In 1974 GoI modified this scheme making it specific only for cities having a population above 30 lakhs.  The Water (prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974 resulted in the creation of Central and State Pollution Control Boards (CPCB and SPCB) with the aim of prevention, abatement and control of water pollution.  The Air (Control and Prevention of Pollution) Act of 1981 also empowered the CPCB and SPCB.  These Boards now authorize process plants and sanitary landfill sites.

After the outbreak of the plague epidemic in Surat[22], the magnitude of the problem was realized by the government.  A high powered committee was set up in 1995 which gave many recommendations for the improvement of MSWM like door to door collection, setting up of transfer stations, charging user fees, etc. The ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and CPCB held meeting with the municipalities to evolve a strategy for MSWM.  About 50 waste treatment facilities were set up after this.  In 1996, the MNES initiated a pilot program to promote waste-to-energy projects in India, which may be considered as the birth of the new era of waste-to-energy programs in India. 

 As per the recent estimates, the country produces about 100000 MT urban solid waste daily.  The municipal waste generation in metro cities varies between 0.2- 0.6 kg/capita/day, and urban MSW generation is estimated to be approximately 0.49 kg per capita per day. This is estimated to be two or three times more than the waste generated by rural residents.  The figures, however, vary from city to city. For example, while the per capita waste generated in Delhi is 0.5 kg per day, MSW generated per capita per day is 0.35 kg in Hyderabad and 0.64 kg in Bangalore.  According to studies carried out by (NEERI)[23] the per capita waste generated in a typical Indian metropolitan city increases by 1.3% per year while the estimated urban population growth is around 3.5% per annum.  These studies point out that there is a large difference between urban and rural level of waste generation, which reflect the economic extremities existing with the Indian society.  . 

7.1 Storage

Municipal Solid Waste[24] is commonly stored in circular concrete open bins in India.  There have hardly been any studies conducted on the most suitable type of storage bin for the Indian waste.  The waste should be preferably stored in closed bins and for not more than 24hrs, as the Indian waste has high organic content and is highly putricible.

7.1.1 Collection

The waste collection methods that are mainly adopted in India are Door to door[25] collection and Community method.  Community bin method has been the most commonly adopted method in India.  A study carried out in Indian Institute of Science describes that in community bin method, the improper placement of bins, bins not designed as per quantity of waste generated and bins not being covered causes problems like odour, stray dog nuisance and unaesthetic appearance. 

On the other hand, a study conducted on municipal solid waste management describes the collection of waste by Door-to-Door method in Ahmedabad .  Here the worker uses a pushcart with 6 drums for the separate collection of waste.  The householder has to collect the dry waste in plastic bags and biodegradable waste in bins.  The worker collects the waste and put it in separate bins.  This is then transferred into large storage containers, which are designed as per the population density.  The same system has been adopted in Chennai.  In From these studies, it has been observed that the door to collection method has improved the efficiency of collection of segregated waste. 

The collection efficiency ranges between 70 to 90% in major cities whereas in several smaller cities the collection efficiency is below 60%.  Street sweeping is another type of collection method for the collection of street litter; many cities spend 30-50 % of their solid waste budgets on street cleansing. 

Studies show that in most urban areas it is the slums and areas where the poorer communities reside which are most badly served. One possible reason could be that municipal authorities give priority to localities where the elite and the better-off populations reside because of their influence and political weight. Meanwhile, the areas which are not serviced are faced with clogged sewers and littered waste, creating serious health problems for the resident population.

7.1.2 Transfer and Transport

Many methods have been adopted for the transfer of waste from either the pushcarts to trucks or Bins to truck.  In Ahmedabad[26], door-to-door collection method is adopted.  Here once the waste is collected in pushcarts, it is transferred to large covered metal bins having separate compartments for storage of segregated waste.  From here it is transferred to the trucks with a mechanized collection truck that lifts the container and empties the waste into the truck.  This mechanism adopted in Ahmedabad is new and can be found only in select cities in India.  The most common method for transfer is manual transfer from community bin to trucks by 2 to 3 workers.  The transfer of waste directly from pushcarts to trucks by meeting at a specified time and place called synchronization points is suggested by, which is a suitable option for the door to door collection method.

Transportation of waste is carried out by the municipalities employing vehicles like open trucks, tractor-trailers, tipper trucks and dumper placers. According to calculations done on a basis of waste density, waste generated etc. indicate that on an average 320m3 capacity is required for daily transportation of waste generated by 1 million population.  However, a study carried out in 1996 stated that out of the 44 cities that were studied, 70% of these cities did not have 320m3 transport capacity.  Many improvements have been made since then including the introduction of container-carriers and dumper-placers that was done by 1997.  Bangalore itself has about 13 dumper placers that do two trips a day.

8.Waste Generation in New Delhi

The quantity of municipal solid wastes generated in Delhi[27] has been consistently rising over the years. This can be attributed to the rapid population growth, mass migration of population from rural to urban areas, increase in economic activities in general in the city and the change in lifestyle of the people. According to the Population Census 2001, the highest percentage of urban population in India is in Delhi (93.01%).There has been a decennial population growth of 46.31% between 1991 and 2001 as

Against the corresponding All-India level, which is 21.34%? Along with intrinsic population growth the rural to urban mass migration account for additional population pressure on the city. Change in lifestyle of the people has resulted in increased wasteful consumption, leading to a change in the composition and increase in the quantum of solid waste generated.


Urban solid waste is normally a complex mixture of household, construction, commercial, toxic industrial elements and hospital wastes. On an average, Delhi generates 4000 tonnes1 of municipal solid waste per day. A physical analysis reveals that it consists of about 32% compostable matter. The recyclable components include paper 6.6%, plastics 1.5% and metals 2.5%. Primarily the responsibility of solid waste management is vested upon several public sector agencies. However, various other stakeholder groups, such as waste pickers, waste dealers, recyclers and recycling unit workers play significant roles in the overall scheme of things.


Three municipal bodies - the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB), are responsible for solid waste management in Delhi. MCD alone manage almost 95 % of the total area of the city. The above authorities are supported by a number of other agencies. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is responsible for siting and allotment of land to MCD for sanitary land filling. Delhi Energy Development Agency (DEDA) under

Delhi Administration (DA) is responsible for solid waste utilization projects aiming at bio- gas or energy generation in consultation with the Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (DNES), and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India. The Department of Flood Control of Delhi Administration looks after the supply of soil to be used as cover for sanitary landfills by the MCD.

Apart from the above public agencies there are other important agents who play their part in the overall scheme of solid waste management in the city. They are private sweepers and garbage collectors employed by the people for cleaning privately owned premises, waste pickers, waste dealers and recycling industries, which consume recyclable waste to produce recycled products.








8.1 Municipal Solid Waste overview


Area (Sq. Km)

Population (Million)

Waste Generation (MT/Day)















Delhi Cantonment Board







8.2 Sanitary Land Fill Sites


8.2.1Existing Sanitary Land Fill Sites[28] :

  • Ghazipur (70Acres),
  • Okhla (56Acres),
  • Bhlasawa (40Acres)

8.2.2Proposed sites:

  • Jaitpur (26 Acres)
  • Bawana (150 Acres)


9. Is Waste to Energy an option for Climate Change?

Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW)[29] is the process of creating energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of waste source. WtE is a form of energy recovery. Most WtE processes produce electricity directly through combustion, or produce a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane, methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels

Waste to energy Incineration is where typically unsorted waste is burnt at high temperatures to reduce its volume and to produce heat and electricity. Plants have traditionally wasted this heat by exhausting it to the atmosphere. A purpose built Energy from Waste (EfW) plant is designed to provide usable electric heat and energy, unlike a conventional incinerator, which is designed primarily to reduce the volume of waste.

If the goal is greenhouse gas reduction,  then waste-to-energy is the option for waste disposal.  When greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are released into the earth’s atmosphere, they trap infrared radiation from sunlight.  This is stored as heat in the atmosphere and can be tied to the increase in the earth’s average temperature, causing what is known as global warming or climate change.  Waste to Energy offsets greenhouse gases to combat climate change.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for every ton of municipal solid waste processed at a Waste to Energy facility, the release of approximately one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions into the atmosphere is prevented due to the avoidance of methane generation at landfills, the offset of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel electrical production, and the recovery of metals.


9.1 Waste to Energy Delhi

Timarpur Okhla[30] Municipal Solid Waste Management project is the first commercial waste-to-energy facility in India that aims to convert one-third of the Delhi garbage into the much-needed electricity, enough to serving 6 lakh homes.

The project is CDM is registered with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for earning carbon credits.

The project is the first and largest integrated waste management project ever being set up in the country, aiming for a sustainable solution (Zero Waste Concept) taking MSW through an environmentally friendly process to generate clean and renewable energy from MSW.

Under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism program, waste to energy is recognized as a source of greenhouse gas credits. The Okhla Waste to Energy facility has been registered under the UNFCC program.

9.1.1 Salient Features of Timarpur Okhla Waste to Energy Project


  • Timarpur Okhla[31] Integrated Waste processing facility offers a safe, technologically advanced means of waste disposal while also generating clean, renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas and in particular methane gas emissions and supporting recycling through the recovery of metals and other recyclable materials;
  • The Okhla Waste to Energy (WtE) project is India’s first large scale Waste-to-Energy facility that aims to disposes and process 1/3rd of the Delhi garbage and convert into the much-needed Clean Renewable Energy, enough to serving 6 lakh homes. .
  • First and largest integrated waste management project ever being set up in the country, aiming for a sustainable solution (Zero Waste Concept) taking Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) through an environmentally friendly combustion process to generate clean and renewable energy
  • Sustainable solution to waste management problems
  • Source of clean renewable energy
  • Global climate benefits
  • Full compliance with Emission standards (“100% safe”)
  • Comprehensive Air Pollution Control equipment (“filters”)


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