Guest author: Thomas Block | General Manager | REMONDIS Aqua Private Ltd.

The natural environment is used to extract resources in order to satisfy human needs, but unfortunately also to deposit residuals and wastes of urbanization. Especially emerging and developing countries face negative and long-term impacts on the natural environment or material cycles like the natural water cycle. These damages are often only to fix by great efforts or even unfixable – at a local level as well as a global one.

Both science and industry developed a great variety of technologies over the last decades to reduce or even avoid environmental pollution. Various techniques established by the waste and water management industry led to optimizing the resource utilization or even a recovery through recycling of waste materials. These achievements are of great importance to countries with a small raw material endowment. In Germany, nearly 19 % of all raw materials are obtained through recycling, whereby the waste management sector contributes a significant part to the industry.

The Indian government faces the challenge to establish appropriate forms of water and environmental service sectors to make it sustainable. The water management issue was yet mentioned in the July-September edition of M+V`s industry newsletter. A growing amount of immense waste streams are annually generated, caused by the rise of population and prosperity in India – at a rate which is far beyond what German companies could imagine.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board 150.000 tonnes of mixed household waste are produced every day in India. This large volume requires particular diligence to be taken in defining the necessary infrastructure, especially regarding the useful life of facilities. The knowledge about the composition of waste streams and its development is absolutely necessary for preparing and making investment decisions both on material recovery and thermal recovery.

Besides historical driven prejudices about the caste system in India concerning the implementation of a recycling economy and resulting duties and obligations, financial challenges should be regarded as well. Although many well-known and proven technologies are yet available in India, the implementation of projects sometimes fails due to the absence of skilled labour to run the facilities in a sustainable way. Broadly speaking, the complexity of recycling and waste management in India is underestimated quite often.

REMONDIS has many-years’ experience in the water and recycling management industry as well as in resources management at international level. The group is in place n India since 2008. The growing number of clients in India and the success of past projects support the strategic decision for this market. Therefore technologies and management methods needed to be adjusted to the specific conditions in order to be successful. The rising production and consumption as well as the increasing regulation in the Indian market drive the need of recycling management and corresponding services for the industry and municipalities.

Today India is able to choose the path towards the establishment of a sustainable waste and water industry. Therefore, a lot of challenges are to face due to difficult local framework conditions. Our experience shows that these processes may take time – but still we are hoping for an expedient implementation.

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