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Managing the Construction and Demolition Waste

 Handling the construction and demolition waste is a worldwide challenge as the pace of construction activity, expansion of infrastructure and demolition of old structures  has been increasing manifold. More construction leads to increased creation of waste material which can often also have hazardous elements in it. In the European Union, it is estimated that over 25 % of all waste generated is the construction and demolition waste. This waste includes concrete, bricks, gypsum, wood, glass, metals, plastic, solvents, asbestos and excavated soil. To save the environment, it is necessary to segregate the waste at source and to recycle and reuse it as far as possible.

In India, the estimate of annual generation of construction and demolition waste is around 530 million tonnes of which only a small amount is processed, the remaining being sent for dumping, adding to the already overburdened dumping sites which can lead to further environmental problems.

Taking forward the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) campaign, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has recently issued a notification making it mandatory for CPWD and National Buildings Construction Company (NBCC) to use recycled portions of Construction and Demolition (C & D) waste in their construction activities, if the same is available within 100 km from the construction site. The notification specifies that coarse and fine varieties of recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) and Recycled Aggregate (RA) derived from the C&D waste are to be used in lean concrete, plain concrete cement (PCC) and Reinforced Concrete Cement (RCC) used in construction.

For the first time, the Union Government has notified Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016. Outlining the salient features of the Construction and Waste Management Rules, Union Minister of State (Independent Charges) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Prakash Javadekar said the rules are an initiative to effectively tackle the issues of pollution and waste management. He said that at present, the Construction and Demolition Waste generated is about 530 million tonnes annually. The construction and demolition waste is not a waste, but a resource. The basis of these Rules is to recover, recycle and reuse the waste generated through construction and demolition. Segregation of construction and demolition waste and depositing it to the collection centres for processing will now be the responsibility of every waste generator.

The Environment Minister highlighted that the local bodies will have to utilize 10-20 % material from construction and demolition waste in municipal and governments contracts. Cities with a population of more than one million will commission processing and disposal facility within 18 months from the date of final notification of these rules, while cities with a population of 0.5 to 1 million and those with a population of less than 0.5 million will have to provide these facilities within two years and three years respectively. “Permission of construction will be given only when the complete construction and demolition waste management plan is presented”, he said. The Minister also pointed out that large generators of waste will have to pay relevant charges for collection, transportation, processing and disposal, as notified by the concerned authorities.

The salient features of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 are that they apply to everyone who generates construction and demolition waste. According to these rules, waste generators shall segregate construction and demolition waste and deposit at collection centre or handover it to the authorised processing facilities. They shall ensure that there is no littering or deposition so as to prevent obstruction to the traffic or the public or drains. The large generators (who generate more than 20 tons or more in one day or 300 tons per project in a month) shall submit waste management plan and get appropriate approvals from the local authority before starting construction or demolition or remodelling work. They shall have environment management plan to address the likely environmental issues from construction, demolition, storage, transportation process and disposal/reuse of C&D Waste. Large generators shall segregate the waste into four streams such as concrete, soil, steel, wood and plastic, bricks and mortar.

These measures can go a long way in dealing with the civic and environmental problems created by such waste and we can look forward to cleaner surroundings.


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