Construction and Demolition waste Management: Towards a sustainable construction era

The industrialization and rapid development in urban clusters has suddenly increased the population load. The per capita urban infrastructure demand is skyrocketing. The sudden increase in urban development in Indian scenario although provides economic opportunities, its ill impact on environment and public health cannot be underestimated. Various national and international studies talks about the increasing pollution lead in these region and challenges forward for urban planners and governments to mitigate the same.

The push of infrastructural development for example has accelerated the need of sustainable urban planning and management. The rapid increase in building Roads, bridges, flyovers, factories, complexes, building, renovation works in up gradation of these in many cities require urgent check on their waste management aspects and solution for its proper management. Construction and demolition (C&D) waste in the form of bricks, concrete, stones, had core subsoil, topsoil, glass gypsum, ceramics and plastics etc. is one such aspect which is required to be addressed ethically. The increase in air pollution is live example, how the presence of particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10) due to construction and debris has increased exponentially. The annual estimate of C&D waste generation in Indian cities is 165-175 million tones as prepared for the period 2005-2013 jointly by Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council and Centre for Fly Ash Research and Management. The practice of fly-tipping i.e. dumping this waste on vacant sites, normally on the sides of highway, below flyovers, besides lakes and rivers or other low lying areas is illegal. This further blocks many of the social amenities viz. drains, contamination in natural resources, pollution etc. and affect the public health.

Gradually this deadly waste has become a challenging task for the government to manage. Government of India with its departments is looking forward for managing and channeling this waste at policy level. The framework still lack in implementation. Reuse and recycling possibilities of the waste into construction material (e.g. recycled aggregate concrete, manufactured sand etc.) could have been a magnificent initiative like European Union (EU). One of EU Study says about the goals set by EU members to recycle C&D waste upto 90% of its production in the economies. This may also provide birth of a vibrant recycling industry, which promotes a new innovation based products and new user base. The same may have a multiplier impact for the economic generation in a totally new segment. The promotion by Indian government as already incorporated in the Building and Construction sector is already in pace. Governments with various steps have been encouraging the Green Building practices through providing FSI and other tax benefits for the projects. The recycled aggregate in building provides credit points under various parameters while applying for Green Building ratings System viz. LEED, GRIHA and IGBC.

Still the proper utilization of C&D waste in India is much away. The Government in its policy Municipal Solid Waste hardly talked about C&D Waste. Recognizing the urgent importance, government with its Ministry of Environment, Forest & climate Change (MoEF&CC) came up with notification, Construction and Demolition waste 2016 for C&D waste specifically.

Governments through the existing Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) must play an active role in assisting the builders to manage their C&D waste. There is great lack of information over the impacts on natural environment and public health. Information dissemination and sensitization time to time may bring awareness and help them manage their waste sustainably. Hon’ble National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also given instructions for reuse and recycling of this mounting waste. The Government projects initially had been instructed to utilize the 10-20% of such recycled products in their construction use. To increase the popularity of the use of C &D waste as raw material, Policymakers may provide additional value addition and quality standard code or may be reduction in taxes for purchasing these RA products.

The C& D waste may become a great savior for available natural resources. Its effective management would surely provide a milestone step in environment friendly development framework in the country. For example, the river sand is primarily used for building and construction purpose, the increase in its demand almost double in last two decades impose adverse environment impact of sand mining. The manufactured sand from C&D waste or use of waste plastic in structural concrete can become a possible and sustainable alternative of sand.

As an under developing economy, we still have to focus greatly on infrastructural development sector to mobilize our national and international economic competitiveness, sustainable construction is the need of this hour.

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