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Bengaluru Proposes Increase in Solid Waste Management Cess


Recently, Bengaluru has proposed increasing the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Cess to Rs. 100 per month for each household to address the high financial strain in the SWM process. Currently, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) charge about Rs. 30-50 per month for SWM services, which is often collected along with property tax.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is SWM Cess?
  2. What are Solid Waste Management Rules 2016?
  3. Rationale Behind Increasing SWM Cess Collection
  4. Measures to Reduce Operational Expenditure on SWM Services

What is SWM Cess?

  • Definition:
    • Solid Waste Management (SWM) cess is a user fee or charge imposed by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in India.
    • A cess is a type of tax or levy used by governments to fund specific services like waste management or infrastructure development.
  • Implementation:
    • As per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, ULBs must collect user fees or cess for SWM services.
    • The rise in fees is to address the growing costs and challenges faced by ULBs in managing solid waste efficiently.

What are Solid Waste Management Rules 2016?

  • Replacement and Focus:
    • These rules replaced the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
    • Emphasis is on waste segregation at the source, manufacturers’ responsibility for disposing of sanitary and packaging wastes, and user fees from bulk generators for collection, disposal, and processing.
  • Key Features:
    • Residents must separate waste into wet (biodegradable), dry (recyclable), and hazardous categories.
    • User fees are charged for waste collection, with fines for littering or improper segregation.
    • Encouragement of composting or bio-methanation of biodegradable waste.
    • Municipalities are responsible for collecting segregated waste, ensuring proper processing and disposal, and levying user fees to cover costs.
    • Extended Producer Responsibility mandates that manufacturers of disposables financially support waste management systems.

Rationale Behind Increasing SWM Cess Collection

  • High Complexity and Costs:
    • SWM is resource-intensive, using up to 50% of ULBs’ annual budgets.
    • Expenses include capital investments and operational costs like salaries, waste collection, and waste management plant operations.
  • Minimal Revenue Generation:
    • Despite high costs, revenue from SWM services is minimal. For instance, Bengaluru spends around Rs 1,643 crore on SWM services but generates only Rs 20 lakh annually.
    • Only 1-2% of dry waste is recyclable, leading to negligible revenue from recycling.
  • Challenges in Waste Segregation and Market Viability:
    • Inadequate waste segregation at the source complicates processing.
    • Limited market for finished products from waste processing makes it financially unviable.
    • High transportation costs for non-compostable and non-recyclable dry waste disposal due to distant disposal facilities.

Measures to Reduce Operational Expenditure on SWM Services

  • Improving Household Waste Segregation:
    • Enhancing segregation at the household level can increase composting yields and improve dry waste recycling, reducing costs.
  • Reducing Single-Use Plastics:
    • Decreasing the use of non-recyclable single-use plastics can lower transportation and disposal costs.
  • Micro Composting Centers (MCCs):
    • Establishing MCCs at ward levels, as in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, can process wet waste locally, reducing transportation costs.
  • In-House Waste Processing:
    • Incentivizing large institutions to set up in-house waste processing facilities can reduce ULBs’ burden and promote cleaner premises.
  • Information, Education, and Awareness (IEC):
    • Effective IEC campaigns to discourage improper waste disposal can prevent open littering and reduce the labor needed for road sweeping and drain clearing, allowing resources to be redirected to waste processing and value recovery.

-Source: The Hindu

July 2024