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India’s population growth, urbanization trends, patterns of income distribution, and increasing industrial production leads to increasing waste generation. Inappropriate waste management results in emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) constituting methane and nitrous oxide, contributing to global warming.
IPCC 2006 model estimated GHG emissions from waste sector across India considering a gross domestic product growth rate of 6.5 percent as 70.13 million tones CO2 eq in the year 2011, expected to rise 1.60 times by the year 2031. Emission mitigation options for waste sectors including diversion of organic waste from landfills towards treatment options, diversion of wastewater from domestic and commercial sectors towards sewer, and further capturing and utilising methane from landfills and effluent treatment units indicate a potential to lower the emissions to around 78.75 million tonnes CO2 eq in year 2031. There is an urgent need to apply appropriate policy, political will, financial resources, capacity building, and indigenous technology to reduce impact of our activities on global warming.
This paper has substantial implications for strategy makers and technocrats in formulating policies to reduce global warming.