Air Pollution

Pollution watchdog issues guidelines to manage odour at urban solid waste landfills

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.

How effective was demonetisation as a policy, in achieving its stated goals? Critically examine.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Demonetisation implications


  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) issues detailed guidelines for proper monitoring and management of odour at urban municipal solid waste landfills

Solid waste management

  1.  As per official estimates, at present around 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year and it is expected to reach 165 million tonnes in 2030.
  2. Of the 62 million, only 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 millions tonnes is treated
  3. The Solid waste Management Rules 2016, identified odour as a public nuisance.
  4. Odour regulation” is still in nascent stage in India. Odorous compounds may have a direct effect on human health. It generally leads to vomiting, headaches, nausea etc


  1. It suggested a green belt around landfill sites and advocated for selection of “appropriate plant species for vegetation cover” to assist in reducing odours.
  2. MSW Landfill system be designed for tapping LFG (landfill gases) efficiently to mitigate fugitive odorous emissions
  3. The guidelines also batted for initiating legislative norms for creating baseline data on odour
  4. Need for gradual shift for installation of Continuous Odour Measurement Systems (sensor based)  for getting real-time data.
  5. It also outlined challenges to odour monitoring like lack of source-based database on odour levels, low awareness on odour (public nuisance) and lack of legislative obligations
  6. It stated that the selection and number of landfill sites for a city should be based on factors like requirement of land for the disposal site by considering the present population and projected growth over the next 20 years at least.
  7. Other factors include whether the selected site is free from the influence of other odorous sources and the topography of the site (slope, proximity to water sources like river and natural springs).
  8. Selection of landfill site should be integrated with the urban development planning so that even expansions of city in next two or three decades are not encompassing the selected MSW site
  9.  Guidelines have been prepared keeping in view the various mandatory and statutory provisions and the climatic conditions that accelerate biodegradation of organic wastes

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