Region/Countries: Asia, India Industry: Other, Water / Clean Technology Date: April 2018

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Less than 20 percent of residential wastewater and less than 60 percent of industrial wastewater is currently treated.

Waste management is one of the intractable environmental problems facing urban India. At present, around 62 million tons of municipal solid waste are generated every year in the country, of which about 43 million tons are collected. 12 million tons (28 percent) of collected waste is treated, while the remaining 31 million tons (72 percent) is disposed of in landfills. It is estimated that less than 20 percent of residential and less than 60 percent of industrial wastewater is treated. Among India’s cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, about 29 percent of their wastewater is treated, whereas smaller cities treat only about 4 percent. With growth in manufacturing and domestic consumption, waste generation in India is projected to increase to 165 million tons by 2030.

Current waste management practices in India, despite some promising initiatives, are far from satisfactory. Most cities lack door-to-door garbage collection, adequate transportation infrastructure, and adequate treatment capacity. Dumping of waste at unapproved sites still occurs, as does unscientific disposal of waste.

However, the situation is slowly changing with increased interest from the government and the private sector in efficient and smart waste management. Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the use of information technology for various aspects of waste management, including collection, transportation, treatment, disposal, asset mapping, network management and customer service. This has primarily been driven by the need for efficiencies in operations and loss reduction, and a desire to improve customer satisfaction. Some of the popular IT systems and solutions being deployed by urban local bodies include RFID-based smart bins, GPS-based tracking systems, and management information systems for control and monitoring. Local bodies in the Indian cities of Amritsar, Surat, Pune, Navi Mumbai and Chennai have been particularly active in deploying smart waste management technologies. In addition, utilities are deploying advanced systems such as smart landfill solutions, mobile applications and Internet of Things-based waste management systems. Scientific disposal of waste and waste-to-energy initiatives are gradually gaining traction. Also, there is a renewed focus on the recovery and recycling of waste, and government initiatives like the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) have emphasized improving waste management practices.

Water and wastewater, the most promising subsector in India’s environmental segment, accounts for 26 percent of the country’s environmental technology industry, and is expected to grow at a rate of 13 to 15 percent annually over the next five years. The Indian government is primarily involved in the treatment of raw water, water transmission and distribution, and sewage treatment operations. Private sector businesses in the areas of power, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, refineries and textiles are generating immense opportunities for water and wastewater treatment equipment. These industries prefer advanced treatment technology systems such as reverse osmosis membranes for treating their wastewater.

The water treatment market is gradually shifting from chemical treatment and demineralization plants to membrane technology.  The concept of wastewater recycling and zero-discharge systems is becoming more widely accepted as new technologies such as sequencing batch reactor and membrane bioreactor based treatment gain popularity. The Solid Waste Management Rules (revised by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2016) set new standards for composition of compost, treatment of leachates, emissions from incineration, and waste treatment facilities and landfills. This offers new opportunities for Wisconsin-based waste management equipment and service companies.