Everyday Delhi produces over 8,000 metric tonnes of waste. It’s predicted the entire city of Delhi will be covered by waste by 2047.
What is waste segregation?
Waste segregation is the practice of splitting up our waste into dry and wet categories.
How can you do it?
By splitting up our waste into two bins we can recycle dry waste and compost wet waste. Communities can also set up large storage drums where wet and dry waste can be deposited, or compost bins where wet waste is able to biodegrade.
Why should we do it?
Not all waste has to go to landfill, around 500 tonnes of waste can be recycled in Delhi per day. By splitting up our waste less waste will go to landfill and there will be less pollution in our environment. By not separating our waste we are wasting valuable resources that can be recycled and reused, especially plastics, metals and paper. Some waste also contains chemicals which are released into the atmosphere when they are burned, emitting greenhouse gases which add to Delhi’s already polluted air. Improper waste disposal also pollutes our streets where we live, the water we drink and the air that we breathe.
The air in Delhi is toxic. Air pollution levels are 16 times higher than the recommended limit – the effects of breathing the air equal to smoking 45 cigarettes a day. Dangerously high levels of pollution are caused by an array of factors ranging from crop burning to vehicular pollution, improper waste removal and infrastructure pollution. The World Health Organisation has estimated approximately 1.2 million people die prematurely annually, with air pollution reducing life expectancy by 3.4 years across India and 6.3 years in Delhi alone. There have also been reports of:
- Increased heart disease;
- Aggravated allergies;
- Lung and cardiac failures;
- Premature births and low birth weights;
- Chronic headaches;
- Eye and skin irritation and;
- Higher risks of cancer, all as a result of pollution.
What can we do?
To reduce the risk of creating more pollution and contributing to climate change, steps must be taken to protect the environment. By limiting infrastructure dust, introducing waste segregation and solar energy Delhi can help remedy the problem rather than contribute to it. India has an abundance of renewable resources, which if utilised can create jobs, boost the economy and pull millions from below the poverty line. Protecting the environment keeps the atmosphere cool, slows down climate change, reduces solar radiation, stabilises pollution, provides food and income, protects animals, ensures economic stability and increased physical health.
What will happen if we don’t protect our environment?
We must protect our environment in order to secure our future, because if we don’t the livelihoods of the 80% of Indians who rely on the agrarian economy will be in jeopardy. India’s biodiversity will also be at risk, threatening food, water and resources supplies. It has been predicted without environmental protection climate change will result in:
- Higher frequency of unprecedented spells of hot weather;
- Unpredictability of the monsoon season;
- Frequent droughts;
- Falling crop yields;
- Falling water tables;
- Rising sea levels which will impact agriculture, degrade water quality and contaminate drinking water;
- Reductions in rice and wheat production;
- Increased risk of landslides and flash floods;
- The rise of disease and infection;
- Water shortages and;
- An increase in climate refugees, leading to further overpopulation.
If we don’t protect the environment we face a bleak, hard future. But if we do act, we are ensuring a better quality of life for our own generation, and those of the future.
Haiyya’s Youth4Environment Fellows have been taking initiatives by launching their own citizen led campaigns focusing on various issues like solar, dust and waste. They are putting their best efforts in taking their campaigns to a new height by collaborating with RWA’s, local leaders and civic authority officials to fight against the wrong done to Environment and combat Climate Change problem. For more information, you can take a look at the Fellows Stage One Report here.