Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

Construction and demolition waste


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: solid waste management

Construction and demolitionContext

  • Huge amounts of construction and demolition waste in a residential area is hazardous for human health and warrants immediate disposal.

Why in news?

  • The Twin towers in Noida, Uttar Pradesh were demolished by controlled implosion. Their being located in a residential neighbourhood of Noida makes it even more essential to introduce interventions to mitigate pollution and waste, post-demolition.

What is construction and demolition waste?

  • Construction and demolition wastes (CDW) are the status of building materials after the end life of buildings. CDW could be concrete, steel, wood products, asphalt shingles, and bricks from building.

What is waste management?

  • Waste management refers to the activities and actions required to manage waste from its start till its disposal. This includes collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste together with monitoring and regulation.

Construction and demolitionWhy they should be managed properly?

  • Waste management and diligent planning becomes critical for regulation of humongous solid waste being generated every day. With growing urbanization and rise of smart cities on the offing the issue of solid waste management becomes even more imperative.

Data to remember

62 million tons of waste is generated annually in the country at present.

India manages to recover and recycle only about 1 per cent of its construction and demolition (C&D) waste, says new CSE analysis.

Construction and demolitionWhat are the impacts of construction waste on the environment and human health?

  • Air: Disassembling and shredding of construction waste generate dust or large particulates into the surroundings and affects the respiratory health of waste management workers and others.
  • Water: (Landfills are not properly designed to hold construction waste + Illegal dump sites + Improper recycling & disposal of e-waste) = compounds leach into the ground = Groundwater gets toxified due to heavy metals from demolition waste.
  • Soil: Soil is contaminated by direct contact with contaminants from construction waste or its by-products from recycling & disposal + indirectly through irrigation. Soils become toxic when substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and polychlorinated biphenyl’s (PCBs) are deposited in landfills. Contaminated soils have bad impacts on microbes and plants => the pollutants reach higher animals or humans through the food chain.

Construction And Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 – Salient Features

1.Duties of waste Generators

  • Construction and demolition waste must be separated by each waste generator, and it must be deposited at a collection site or given to authorised processing companies.
  • Should take care to prevent any trash or depositing that could block vehicles, the general public, or drains.
  • Before beginning building, demolition, or remodelling work, large generators (those that create more than 20 tonnes or more in a single day or 300 tonnes per project in a month) must submit a waste management plan and obtain the necessary approvals from the local authorities.
  • Large generators must have an environmental management strategy to address any environmental problems resulting from building and demolition work, storage, transportation, and waste disposal and recycling.
  • The waste from large generators must be divided into four streams, including concrete, soil, steel, wood, and plastics, as well as bricks and mortar.
  • The appropriate fees for collection, transportation, processing, and disposal must be paid by large generators according to the notices issued by the competent authorities.

2.Duties of Service providers and Contractors

  • Within six months of the rules’ notification, the service providers are required to develop a thorough waste management plan for the waste produced under their control.
  • They must also remove all construction and demolition waste independently or through a third party after consulting with the relevant local authority.

3.Duties of State Government and Local Authorities

  • Within one and a half years after the date of the final notice of these regulations, the responsible State Government department dealing with land should offer suitable locations for the establishment of the storage, processing, and recycling facilities for construction and demolition waste.
  • In order to prevent long-term disruption of the processing plant, the Town and Country Planning Department must include the location in the authorised land use plan.
  • In municipal and government contracts, materials created from building and demolition waste must be purchased and used to the tune of 10–20%.
  • The local authority must install suitable bins for garbage collection, removal at regular intervals, and transportation to suitable facilities for processing and disposal.
  • Large generators of construction and demolition waste must submit a comprehensive plan or undertaking before Local Authorities may approve the waste management plan;
  • Seek help from the relevant authorities for the safe disposal of any nuclear waste or building and demolition debris contaminated with hazardous or toxic materials from industry;
  • Local Authorities must provide the generator with the necessary incentives for salvaging, processing, and/or recycling, preferably on-site;
  • Million plus cities (based on the 2011 Indian census) must commission the processing and disposal facility within 1.5 years of the date of final announcement of these regulations.
  • Local Authorities will build a database and update it once a year.

4.Duties of Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee

  • Construction and demolition waste management operating rules must be created by the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • The construction and demolition waste processing plant will receive authorization from SPCB.
  • The involved local bodies will keep an eye on how these guidelines are being applied.
  • Send an annual report to the State Government and the Central Pollution Control Board.

Construction and Demolition Waste Management – Concerns

  • In spite of the aforementioned, industry and state pollution control boards operate poorly.
  • In India, between 25 and 30 million tonnes of C&D waste are produced each year, but barely 5 percent of it gets treated.
  • It is noteworthy that dirt, sand, and gravel make up 36% of C&D waste. This waste affects soil fertility and poses a threat to public health in cities.
  • The almost total lack of recycling also violates India’s obligations to reduce carbon emissions.
  • The need to recycle C&D waste is critical.
  • This is due to the fact that widespread sand mining is already eroding river beds and ultimately aggravating flood damage.

Some positive suggestions

  • Need robust estimation and characterisation of C&D waste to design systems for material recovery: Cities need comprehensive assessment and quantification of C&D waste generation, to plan adequate infrastructure and systems for treatment and management.
  • Need of documentation: Cities must create easily accessible databases of buildings and their physical and legal attributes. Construction/demolition permits need to be inventorised with associated waste management plans attached.
  • Preparing for waste management from new generation material: Expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS), Styrofoam, plastic spacers, bituminous material and asbestos embedded within new wall assemblies are a recycling challenge. This needs special attention.
  • Infrastructure projects need to set up their own recycling facilities: DMRC has done so. Concrete can be easily recycled. Butt excavated waste is a challenge. Other infrastructure projects like highway and roadwork find recycling of bituminous material waste challenging. Globally, proactive prevention of waste is undertaken through modification of existing on site construction practices etc.
  • Responsibility of the construction Industry: The current system provides no incentive to the construction agencies for managing their own waste via waste reduction and on-site reuse and recycling. The Rules have created a push by creating a legal requirement for waste management but the financial drivers are missing. This requires fiscal strategy.


  • Environmental and material challenges associated with the Construction and Demolition waste problem need urgent and immediate attention nation-wide to recover material, protect environment, and for clean air.

Mains question

Q. India manages to recover and recycle only about 1 per cent of its construction and demolition waste analyse the constraints in it. Also suggest some positive measures to address this challenge.

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch