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 SWM cess & recent headlines 

  • The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) has proposed a Solid Waste Management (SWM) Cess of ₹100 per month for each household

  • Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) levy user fees or SWM cess as per the provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • According to these guidelines, ULBs must collect user fees/cess for SWM services provisions provided

  • ULBs typically charge about ₹30-50 per month as SWM cess, which is collected along with property tax. 

  • ULBs are now considering revising these rates and imposing higher charges on bulk waste generators to meet a portion of the costs incurred in providing SWM services.

How has Bengaluru been handling its solid waste management

  • Offering SWM services is complex and resource-intensive

  • In a city like Bangalore, an urban resident generates about 0.6 kg of waste per day, totalling 0.2 tonnes per person per year. 

  • Overall, Bangalore generates about 5,000 tonnes of solid waste per day

  • Managing this volume of waste requires around 5,000 door-to-door waste collection vehicles, 600 compactors, and about 20,000 Pourakarmikas.

  • SWM services comprise four components: collection, transportation, processing and disposal

  • ULBs package collection and transportation together, and processing and disposal together. 

  • Collection and transportation are resource and labour-intensive and come up to 85-90% of the SWM budget, whereas only about 10-15% is spent on processing and disposal of waste.


  • Solid waste generated in Indian cities consists of about 55-60% wet biodegradable material and 40-45% non-biodegradable material. 

  • The portion of recyclable material in the dry waste is minimal, only about 1-2%, with the rest being mostly non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste. 

  • Although 55% of the wet waste can be converted into organic compost or biogas, the yield is as low as 10-12%, making both composting and biogas generation from solid waste financially unviable. 

  • Typically, operational revenue from waste processing facilities covers only about 35-40% of operational expenses, with the rest subsidised by the ULB.

  • It also face other challenges such as extra work of clearing open points and drains, preventing open littering, seasonal changes in waste generation, and sweeping operations

  • Additionally, the disposal of non-compostable and non-recyclable dry waste, such as single-use plastic, textile waste and inert materials, is expensive since the material needs to be shipped to cement factories or waste-to-energy projects located about 400-500 km from cities.

Way forward

  • Although collection and transportation of waste generate no revenue, several strategies can reduce overall expenditure on SWM and lower user charges

  • These are segregation of waste at source, reducing single-use plastic, decentralised composting initiatives, Information, Education and Awareness (IEC) to prevent open littering, and asking bulk waste generators to process their own waste.

  • A balanced approach, combining marginal user charges with efficient operations, could help make our cities cleaner.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: SWM cess UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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