Managing water and other environmental resources for a country the size of India is indeed a complex and difficult challenge. With each passing year it is quite abundantly clear that the environmental (air, land, water) stress levels across the length and breadth of the country are getting worse. Sanitation is a further challenge on our local governance landscape. How does one design flexible water and sanitation management systems for the rural and urban populace is an area of research begging for further critical examination. With exacerbated rural-urban migration, are our governance mechanisms able to adapt to the new demands on the limited resources? How do we envisage creating newer models of transparency, accountability and participation in the creation of ‘smart’ cities? There are several other critical strands that are worthy of further meticulous scholarly attention.
Nothing in nature goes to waste. Waste from one life-form often becomes food for another, thereby resulting in a circular system that rejuvenates and sustains its members. Circular Economy (CE) is a regenerative system in which resource input, waste emission and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing and narrowing material and energy loops (Geissdoerfer, Savaget, Bocken, & Hultink, 2017). This can be achieved through long lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacture, refurbishing and recycling- the idea is to use the products and materials to their maximum value and functionality.
The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is focusing on conceptualizing and developing a Circular Economy framework applicable to Solid Waste (MSW). This will include tools that can help to facilitate tracking of MSW at the ‘first-mile’ (user/household level). Lack of accurate data results in policies that are out of sync with grassroots realities. Nearly 62 million tonnes of solid waste are generated annually in India and about 70-75% of this waste remains untreated. Millions of waste pickers and scavengers work in hazardous conditions to salvage a livelihood. Attempts at de-segregation are becoming increasingly complex given the introduction of new packaging techniques and an increasingly large volume of online sales.
The effort at CPS will include creation of ‘tools’ that can help to facilitate life-cycle tracking of MSW from cradle to grave. We look forward to engaging with several stakeholders deeply involved in the waste value chain such as corporate entities, government representatives, non-government organizations and academia.