Clearing the Air Seminar Series: Panel on 'Municipal Solid Waste as a cause of Air Pollution’

12 March 2018
Clearing the Air Seminar Series: Panel on 'Municipal Solid Waste as a cause of Air Pollution’

Watch the full video (above) of the panel discussion with Ravi Agarwal, Nalini Shekhar and Dr Seema Awasthi, moderated by Arkaja Singh, on municipal solid waste as a source of air pollution in the National Capital Region. Solid waste burning is being recognised as a significant contributor to the deteriorating air quality in the NCR. Regulatory and technological interventions have been made; both, to prevent the burning of open waste as well as to manage the quantum of waste reaching the landfill sites. However, compliance still remains an issue. The panel discussed some of the best practices on waste disposal that can help reduce exposure to airborne toxins from municipal solid waste. Some of the strategies suggested give primacy to waste workers, whereas others emphasize on technology, infrastructure and management.

Ravi Agarwal is founder director of Toxics Link (, an environmental NGO based in New Delhi and working on areas of chemical safety, toxics and waste, for over two decades. He has been a part of several high level national regulatory committees and international forums on chemical safety besides being the Treasurer and Executive Board Member of the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), an international civil society network working on chemical safety.

Nalini Shekhar is co–founder of Hasiru Dala (, a non-profit organization working on the informal waste economy. Her main focus of work is on inclusion of waste pickers in the solid waste management process of urban local body in Bangalore. She co-founded Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), a union of wastepickers in Pune in 1993, and she is also co-ordinator of the National Alliance of Indian Wastepickers.

Dr Seema Awasthi is a founder and director of  ICUC Consultants Pvt. Ltd.( an environmental start-up based in Delhi that provides consultancy services in the field of urban environment, climate change, environment management and sustainability, carbon credit markets and renewable energy. She has advised on design for closure of landfill sites at Ghazipur and three other landfill sites under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi with emphasis on utilization of landfill gases and conversion of landfill gases to CNG, among many other projects.

This is the sixth event in the Clearing the Air Seminar Series, organised by the Initiative on Climate, Energy and Environment (ICEE) at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR). The series aims to promote sustained and informed public understanding around the data, impacts, sources and policy challenges involved in clearing Delhi’s air. While it will focus on the context of Delhi, the series will also reflect on the fact that the problem extends far beyond Delhi. The seminar series will present the work of experts in a range of areas to help promote informed public discussion about what changes are needed, what is possible, and how to get it done. Clearing the air in terms of knowledge and public information, we hope, will make a small contribution toward actually clearing Delhi's air.

Presentation by Mr Ravi Agarwal can be accessed here and Dr Seema Awasthi can be accessed here.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.