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Solid Waste Management – A PPP Opportunity?

Meena Gupta, a secretary at the Ministry of Environment and Forests, claims that the Indian government will soon add amendments to municipal solid waste management regulations, and highlighted the private sector’s role in exploring new projects. Merinews, a citizen journalism news portal, quoted Ms. Gupta as saying:

sustainable waste management could materialise only if service delivery was linked to private sector participation. “It is imperative that the private sector comes forward and enables the public sector stakeholders to devise appropriate frameworks that result in a win-win for both sides,” she said, adding that the private sector could also play an important role in building the capacities of municipal bodies. The municipalities, on their part, need to provide guidance for the selection of appropriate technologies.

Solid waste management, along with recycling, presents plenty of opportunities for partnerships. For example, EXNORA is an NGO in Chennai that focuses on the environment through their program, which works in muncipalities throughout Tamil Nadu. An India Together article also provides a good background into the various policies in place, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of private sector participation.

Risks of private sector involvement may include a lack of transparency, a commercial failure that would then lead to disturbance of public services, or low cooperation between stakeholders. A World Bank presentation offers different options for contracting mechanisms and other processes to offset these potential risks, and Vinay previously discussed a primer on PPPs.

The opportunity is there, but is it best for the private sector to get involved in offering what can be considered an essential public good? And do the benefits really outweigh the risks?

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14 Comments on “Solid Waste Management – A PPP Opportunity?”

  • Partho Pramanick
    27 July, 2008, 3:40

    As a private player we are also in solid waste management with a heritage town of West Bengal.The total generation of waste is 46tons/day.Within a span of two years,we succesfully sensitized residents for segration at source and not littering in open areas.Now the city is really becomming clean and people are participating in the movement.We collect wet wastes everymorning and dry wastes weekly.Windrow composting is in process and dry wastes are being recycled.We need more suggetions and advice in this regard.

  • Shital
    30 July, 2008, 19:06

    Partho, it’s great to hear of a success story and sounds like the model is working well if you were to establish the process in two years. Do you also partner with any government agencies or community based organizations?

  • 31 July, 2008, 2:25

    Funny you come up with this question and funnier still mention an article on India Together. I read another related article titled Burning biomass is not green – II

    and sent the author an e- mail asking, guess what?, precisely the same question. Here is the conversation

    [Badhri] How effective are the public-private partnerships? I remember that chennai corporation and French conglomerate Onyx partnered for garbage collection. But I don’t know how effective it is (was) Can you throw some light on status of partnerships in general?

    [Gopal Krishna] The Corporation paid about Rs. 4 crore a month by charging Rs 1,212 per tonne for garbage clearance. There were complaints against the company. In any case the company was simply collecting garbage and dumping it on the dumpsites. There is no engineering miracle in collecting and dumping waste..the lesson from Suryapet [where wastes are source segregated, collected and either composted or recycled with the aim of zero wastes] is loud and clear. There is no alternative to community based waste management that aims for Zero Waste.

    The explanation is very detailed. The answer that I inferred is….the way forward is waste management, if the municipal authorities get the private companies (like onyx) to composting and reclycling wastes rather than just dumping, why not PPP?

    If Partho can provide a web link to his private organization, it would be useful.

  • 1 August, 2008, 0:34

    Here is a link that may help for the common man to do his bit


  • Partho Pramanick
    26 August, 2008, 1:56

    The political will is the first priority.Govt. bodies and municipalities give priority to present problems which they face but do not think for future problems due to environmental decay.Their view is that, they will solve problems when they will face it but not now.Because doing something for environment does not provide political gains or assure next time seat. How can we change this mentality?It took two years time to change people towards not littering.I believe there should be a positive approach for a long time planning and implementation.Municipalities got funds for waste management and they started purchasing equipments first and does not know what to do the next and sitting idle.

  • manali
    24 December, 2008, 2:32

    municipal solid waste management & handling rules 2000 applies to every authority responsible for collection, segregation, storage, transportation, & disposal of msw hope it does well.

  • Mailene
    6 February, 2009, 18:30

    Risks??Risks that you’re talking about are just manifestation of ineffective government. There is nothing wrong with involving private and engaging them in the delivery of the so-called “public goods”.
    Cleanliness of environment is everybody’s concern. If one city or town is to employ such scheme, make sure that they have established a definite management or policy framework and strictly enforce it so as to mitigate if not control those risks.

  • Abdulkadir Diyo Sule
    22 September, 2009, 7:33

    Good work by Partho on ppp opportunity. Am very much interested in the topic and would be grateful if I can be opportuned to have a full text of PPP ON SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT. Thank you sir

  • 3 October, 2009, 3:39

    I would like to know about Segregation Process of Solid Waste Management & Recycling of the same. I seriously wanna see my CITY GO GREEN though substantial amount is spent on it , Greener is far far away & it would provide employment opportunity too. Anybody can guide me please write…

  • Partho Pramanick
    11 October, 2009, 23:46

    During my experience of nearly seven years in solid waste management, one thing became very clear that segregation at source is to be practiced. There are lot of initiatives to manage wastes but goes in vein because of not identifying wealth in wastes.In India, we cannot afford sanitary land filling as land is precious here and there are lot of municipalities who do not have land as trenching ground.even.The source segregation needs lot of study on human behavior against waste littering.A continous sensitization programme is to be planned according to the sentiments of the residents towards their city and ultimately it works as wonders. I am happy that myself have achived it.

  • sudesna
    13 October, 2009, 10:31

    public participation is necessary for a proper wastw management system.They will segregate,they will not litter–when? When they will be provided with a proper service. At least my experience say so. Segregation at source is the only solution to waste management. DMC has realized that—-at last.Mine is a little job–in a small area.Around 20 tons were source segregated. but i am able to change the habits of littering, can change the approach towards wastes.

    6 April, 2010, 22:57

    I am retired chief engineer from railways and I am keen to join with ANY NGO who is working on waste management. Moving around the world, we realise that our country is mosy dirty.the factors may be many but serious efforts are required and awakening generated in the minds of people.
    Pl guide me or give email adresses of few sincere NGO,s who are in this field.
    with best wishes sagar singh

  • 17 October, 2010, 9:35

    Dated 22nd Dec2009

    The secretary, ………………
    Municipal Corporation


    Subject: We are interested to tie up with your Municipal Corporation and do this MSW Business legally as an Environmental Health Centre according to guidelines of PPP (Private public Participation) in your premises.

    Municipal Corporation was able to produce compost till 1985 by using Municipal Solid Waste. Due to the increase in large quantity of plastic in MSW has made it impossible to make compost.

    We have invented and patterned a technique and machine named GREENAPSM for automatic separation of plastic from MSW. By using APSM in the industry Environmental Health Centre can produce good quality of 99.5% plastic free compost for agricultural usage. Our process is 100% Eco friendly. The compost manufactured by APSM is a Profitable Industry. The separated waste plastic can be converted to plastic fencing poles, bricks and floor tiles, etc.

    We are interested to tie up with your Municipal Corporation and do this industry as an Environmental Health Centre legally in your premises.


    1. Municipal Corporation should bear the only expenses of land, building & biogas plant for this industry (immovable capital Asset) The 65% of the cost of the bio gas plant will be financed by us without any interest stated as per the CDM KOYOTO Protocol.

    2. We will bear only the expenses of machinery for the industrial usage.
    (Movable capital asset)

    3. We will also bear the expenses for maintaining the given machinery to the industry.

    4. The Municipal Corporation can appoint the workers by itself to function the industry.
    The municipal corporation should pay us according to the need of workers for their wages & other benefits if we appoint them.
    Otherwise you can pay us according to the processing cost of waste per ton basis.

    5. Whatever products are produced in the industry will entirely belong to us.


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