India is home to some of the filthiest cities in the world, but the success of its mission to clean up its streets will hinge on whether it can completely revolutionise the way it recycles waste, one expert says.
In October, prime minister Narendra Modi launched the clean India campaign, a five-year bid to modernise the country’s sanitation system by installing toilets, sweeping filthy streets and taking down trash mounds.
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The director of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, Sunita Narain, said India’s cities are drowning in rubbish because the country does not have a garbage management system.
“We are generating more and more waste because we are getting to be a more and more affluent society,” Ms Narain said.
“We are using more and more products which have a lot more plastic [and] which have a lot more waste as a result.”
Ms Narain said it was time governments became involved in what was currently an informal sector run by so-called “rag pickers” and junk shop owners, who scour the rancid rubbish heaps looking for items to sell.