Eco-Wise: Braving New Frontiers in Waste Management

Waste management is a significant challenge for India, specifically in urban areas, where the accumulation of trash leads to the prevalence of preventable diseases in poor, underprivileged populations. In order to address this issue, change is required on both a systemic and individual level, as the cause of the problem is rooted not only in lack of sanitation infrastructure / policies, but culturally accepted behavioral norms as well. In other words, not only do individuals not believe in maintaining the integrity of public spaces, but there is no formalized system in place to ensure that waste is collected and disposed of properly. Unfortunately, if there is no sense of personal responsibility, as well as no concept of proper trash disposal (neither the infrastructure to support this notion), how can we even begin to take the next necessary steps towards recycling and reuse?

As part of its “Climate Connections” series, NPR recently featured India’s first waste-recycling company, EcoWise Waste Management, the “leading provider of waste and environmental services” outside the Delhi area. To date, the company has achieved the following:

Headquartered in Noida, the company’s network of operations includes 15 collection operations, 2 transfer stations, 2 waste-to-compost plants and 5 recycling plants. These assets enable Eco Wise to offer a full range of environmental services to nearly 1.5 lac residential, industrial, municipal and commercial customers. We collect and treat 40 tons of waste on a daily basis, which would otherwise be found lying on the roadside or make its way to the landfill site.

  1. Our activities diverted more than 2,400,000 tons of waste from ending up in land fill sites just last year
  2. With 80 manual rikshaws and 8 trucks running on bio-diesel we operate the cities largest fleet of clean vehicles
  3. Eco Wise is the only company in India that has its own waste segregation and treatment site.
  4. Our operations have permanently shut down more than 15 road side dumps in Noida.

The question, then, is this – if private actors are able to do (efficiently, cost-effectively, scalably) what government entities are supposed to do, how can the government capitalize on the insight of these entities? We’ve talked about PPPs on this site before, but what potential is there for these types of partnerships in the sanitation sector? (More after the break) Continue reading

India’s Losing Battle Against Malnutrition

In a report entitled, “India’s Malnourished Children: A Call for Reform and Action,” the World Bank warned that malnutrition is a problem with “dire consequences for morbidity, mortality, productivity and economic growth.”  According to a recent Reuters article, this is especially true in India, where millions of babies are born “underweight and then underfed during the crucial early stages of development,” thereby resulting in stunted physical and mental growth.  Moreover, malnourished children “end up less productive workers, too, costing India about 3 percent of national income.” 

In an attempt to ameliorate this crisis, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has established several “nutrition centers,” or special clinics for malnourished children.  Currently, there are 60 such clinics in Madhya Pradesh, with hopes of expanding to other parts of the country as well:  

The scheme is intended to plug gaps in an older program that failed to reach children in the most critical first two years of life, educate mothers about nutrition and reign in corruption which meant free food handouts went missing. 

However, UNICEF staff members warn that the scheme has its shortcomings:

More after the jump. Continue reading

Where does Private stop and Public start?: Dissection of PPPs

From PFM Blog here is some excerpts on their primer on PPPs.

Though by no means a holistic definition, the primer briefly outlines public-private partnerships as being “arrangements in which the private sector supplies infrastructure assets and services traditionally provided by governments. Some authors add that the presence of external financing as a necessary condition; others focus specifically on design-build-finance-operate arrangements.”

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