It accounts for almost 29 per cent of the country's waste generated annually

Gujarat, which is considered to be the most progressive State in terms of investment and infrastructural development, has been declared as the top contributor to the total hazardous waste generation in the country.

According to a report released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Gujarat generates almost 29 per cent of the 62 lakh metric tonnes of hazardous waste generated every year. It is followed by Maharashtra (25 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (9 per cent).

The report, prepared in February 2009 and released recently, points out that just seven States — Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu — generate over 80 per cent of the total hazardous waste every year.

Court order

The report was prepared following a Supreme Court order in 2003. The court issued directions for management and handling of hazardous waste and preparation of State-wise inventory of the wastes.

The waste generation is further broken down into land disposable hazardous waste (HW), incinerable hazardous waste and recyclable hazardous waste, with the recyclable HW accounting for almost 50 per cent of the total waste.

While Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh contribute almost 63 per cent of land disposable hazardous waste, the first two States generate 62.87 per cent of the total incinerable hazardous waste. The three put together generate 60 per cent of the total recyclable waste.

Standard format

The report collated data from various State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs). “A standard format was developed by the CPCB and sent to all the SPCBs for preparation of an inventory of the hazardous waste generating industries. We also tried to find out the status of the hazardous waste management in the particular area,” a CPCB official said.

The report collected data from each State, district-wise and the final analysis lists 31 districts as the top polluters producing hazardous waste in the range of 3 to 4.7 lakh MTA (metric tonnes per annum). Bharuch district of Gujarat has emerged as the highest generator of waste, generating to the tune of 4.7 lakh MTA, followed by Ahmedabad (3.7 lakh MTA) and Mumbai (3.4 lakh MTA).

However, some States such as Uttaranchal, Bihar and Haryana failed to provide any information on the same.

A worrisome aspect that has been thrown up by the report is the inadequate treatment, storage and disposable facilities (TSDF) in the country. While the present generation of land disposable hazardous waste stands at 27 lakh MTA, the current facilities can only handle 15 lakh MTA of waste.

“It is obvious that additional TSDFs with waste handling capacities to the tune of 15 lakh MTA or so must be developed to accommodate the present and future quantities of land disposable hazardous waste,” the report states. Similarly there is a deficit of 88,000 MTA in incineration capacities, it states.

‘Prepare inventory'

The pollution watchdog recommended that the SPCBs prepare the ‘Inventory of Hazardous Waste Generating Industries and HW Management' according to the CPCB guidelines on a regular basis and advised States that lack TSDF or common incinerators to take up the work on a priority basis apart from augmenting the existing facilities in other States such as Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh.