OFFBEAT...Waste Management Education

Time to look beyond the dump

With the growing emphasis on waste reduction, environmental protection and sustainability, the sector demands more hands to carry forward the mandate

Waste management is a shared responsibility; there are multiple stakeholders involved — citizens, technology providers and the government. The government has been doing its bit through municipal corporations and the technology providers have come up with various new techniques that can lead us towards accurate intervention measures. It is the most important stakeholder — the citizens — who shy away from this cumulative process. There is a need to raise awareness about the various steps which can be taken at waste source level that would help in reducing the efforts of municipal corporations and help in proper handling of waste.

Waste management has established itself as an industry due to the thrust on environmental concerns and green resolve. These jobs primarily deal with handling hazardous and non-hazardous wastes, the development of legislation, guidelines, regulations and standards for better disposal of wastes, and planning and managing workouts that help reduce the environmental impact of waste. With the growing emphasis on waste reduction, environmental protection and sustainability in the private and public domain, the sector demands more hands to carry forward the mandate.

Also, the Clean India initiative calls for greater participation from individuals. Natively, these factors have resulted in new entrepreneurial opportunity besides the creation of new job profiles. Every day, new opportunities are knocking the doors of potential candidates in the country. It is one of those fully untapped careers that evidently are rewarding. Ironically, the sector is unaffected by recession and is here to stay with industrialisation and urbanisation.

The impediment though is the lack of courses. Graduate and post graduate degree programmes along with certain diploma programmes need to be developed to cater to the needs of the sector.

Courses on Waste Legislation, Landfill Management, and Specialist Waste will aid remarkably in making a career in the field. A joint industry-academia initiative can help in solving this gargantuan task. This newly acknowledged domain requires development of different disciplines as waste requires different treatment mechanism in different areas based on the weather conditions of the area.

Varied profiles

Energy Manager: Plan, regulate and monitor the energy usage; discuss and formulate new policies regarding efficient energy management; work on ways to reduce Co2 emissions; and encourage use of renewable energy resources within the organisation and community.

Recycling Officer: Plan and develop environmental and waste reduction policies; manage local recycling schemes; create and deliver educational programmes; and organise community and media liaison initiatives.

Water Quality Scientist: Get to safeguard all aspects of water quality through scientific analysis; set targets and standards in response to specific legislation; compare test results with these standards; investigate shortfalls and take action to remedy problems.

Quarry Manager: Manage quarries and pits; oversee all operations; manage staff; coordinate production and monitor all site systems. Quarries produce rocks, stone, slate, sand, gravel, china clay, brick and ball clay, coal, and other minerals and materials.

Environment Consultant: Works on commercial or government contracts with local government and national regulatory organisations and water-related organisations. Analyse environmental issues closely covering air and water contamination, environmental impact and audit, waste management et al.

Being an evolving sector, job opportunities in waste management is bound to increase manifolds. It will not only fetch jobs but will also allow people to have successful businesses in different domains under waste management like scrap management, electronic recycling, plastic and rubber recycling, medical waste disposal and oil spill cleanup with absolutely minimum capital expenditure.

In fact, a research report on Waste Management Market in India 2014-25, launched by NOVONOUS said, “Waste Management Market in India is expected to reach US$ 13.62 billion by 2025. While Indian Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is expected to grow at 7.14%, the e-waste (electronic waste) management market alone is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10.03%.” Putting the statistics in numbers, e-waste sector alone is expected to generate half a million jobs by 2025.

A collective and timely intervention is required to overpower the existing hurdles and to eliminate the manpower deficit in the sector. This, in turn, will help in achieving a sustainable and circular economy.

Even after having enormous potential, lack of resources in the field continues to halt the progress. Spreading awareness about the opportunities and incentives of the sector is the need of the hour. Not widely known, the government also offers tax incentives to the companies involved in waste management projects. If you choose a career in the waste management sector, you are simply opting to be a contributor in building a cleaner and greener world, simultaneously enjoying a rewarding career.

Additional Information:

Waste Management Jobs in Education, Communication and Marketing: Recycling Education Officer, Communications Manager for Waste Management, Environmental Educator, Program Services Specialist.

Waste Management Jobs in Recycling: Recycling Program Specialist, Waste Minimization Specialist, Recycling Supervisor, Environmental Specialist, Environmental Coordinator, Municipal Recycling Coordinator, E-waste Professional, Environmental Assessment Analyst, Environmental Chemist, Environmental Epidemiologist, Environmental Health Officer, Environmental Scientist.

Jobs in Waste Management Facilities: Hazardous Waste Engineer, Hazardous Waste Coordinator, Hazardous Materials Specialist, Hazardous Waste Technician, Landfill operator, Landfill Engineer, Occupational Hygienist, Pollution Control Technologist, Public Works Services Supervisor, Operations Supervisor, Sanitation Supervisor.

Waste Management Jobs in Industrial waste: Resource Manager, Resource Coordinator, Industrial Waste outside Sales, Industrial Waste Account Executive, Speciality Waste Senior National Account Manager, Industrial Waste Inspector.

Other Waste Management Jobs: Air Quality Specialist, Analytical Chemist, Ecotoxicologist, ISO 14000 Consultant, Wastewater Collection And Treatment Operator, Water And Wastewater Laboratory Technologist, Water And Wastewater Plant Engineer, Water Quality Technician, Water Treatment And Distribution Operator.

The writer is Co-Founder & CEO, Yasasu EMS Pvt Ltd.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 9:34:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/time-to-look-beyond-the-dump/article28973848.ece

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