Marianne Paquette has summarized the interview and put together a set of interesting quotes.


SANJAY GUPTA, Sanitation & Waste Management Expert

Recently, the Indian government has been promoting better waste management practices on social media. It can be misleading since it seems like a lot is changing. However, if we take a look at the grassroots level, not much is actually working.

  • Most of the change that we see in India is primarily linked to municipalities that have good leaders dedicated to making change happen.
  • There are great examples of mayors in small towns that were able to implement drastic changes over the years.

‘We also see that when things are working out, the level of corruption either stagnates or reduces. However, in places where the political will is lacking, the corruption is higher.

  • The problem is that some politicians are buying compost plants, bins or compactors, not because they really need it but because they receive a percentage of commission on these articles.
  • They are then available to the cities but are not put to good use since they were not thought of in terms of what the population needs but only in terms of commission rewards.
  • In the smaller cities, it is definitely a lack of capacity, they don’t know what to buy or what is the right equipment. But for the bigger cities that also have done similar things, it is not a lack of capacity

I think the current problem with the system is that there has been no institutional reform in the last seventy years

  • The smaller municipalities in India, which are defined by a population of less than half a million, do not have access to credible data and most of them don’t have the technical knowledge.
  • The information on waste management of their city is either not available or is often already outdated.
  • Actions in the state government must be taken to ensure that the changes will last over time.
  • They need to identify clearly the steps and tasks to be carried out by the waste management director and the people helping him achieve his goal.
  • To implement solutions it is important to work with all politicians, but particularly focusing on the ground level to then make our way up.
  • In the smaller cities, plastic, even high value plastic, is not collected or disposed of in an effective manner because they don’t have a market for them.
  • Traditional recycling might not be the solution since the cost of transporting the plastic to a recycling station is greater than what the plastic would be worth.
  • A more feasible solution would be to make something out of the plastic that could be used locally instead.
  • Sanjay Gupta

    Sanitation & Waste Management Expert

    Dr. Sanjay K Gupta works at Skat Consulting Ltd. on Urban Services including water, sanitation, wast...
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