India, one of the world’s most rapidly growing economies, is projected to grow 12.55% in 2021, according to Nasdaq. The country’s construction sector is more than keeping pace, and is expected to grow 13% in the same period. But growth comes at a price. A new report from a Delhi-based nonprofit, the Centre for Science and Environment, estimates India’s building activity—construction and demolition combined—generates a whopping 165 million tons of waste per year.
Despite the national government’s 2016 C&D Waste Management Rules, which make debris recycling mandatory, dumping outside designated sites illegal, and stakeholders responsible for waste disposal, the report found that only 1% of construction and demolition waste is being recycled. The United Kingdom, by contrast, recycled more than 90% of its construction waste as of 2018, and the United States recovered or recycled 76% of all C&D waste in the same year.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the local government of the former colonial capital formerly known as Calcutta, is taking extreme steps to address its share of the construction and demolition waste issue. According to the Times of India, Kolkata recently mandated that any project expected to generate 22 tons or more of waste must have its own waste recovery plant on site. For smaller projects, the municipal corporation has set up a central waste recovery plant capable of processing 550 tons per day, and has a second plant in the works.