12 March 2024

The Management Of Construction & Demolition Waste And Viksit Bharat

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It is an undeniable fact that the Construction and Infrastructure (C&I) sector plays an integral role in driving the economy of any developing country.
India Environment
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It is an undeniable fact that the Construction and Infrastructure (C&I) sector plays an integral role in driving the economy of any developing country. For India, which has recently adopted a vision of attaining a 'Viksit Bharat', this role played by the C&I sector has attained a refreshed importance.

One of the significant drawbacks, however, connected with robust construction activities is the substantial amount of solid waste generated on a daily basis, which has the direct effect on increasing the carbon footprint of not only the industry, but also the nation altogether.

Recently, during the National Workshop on "Recent Development with recycling and use of Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste in construction sector", the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, quoted certain estimates which specified that the Construction Industry was responsible for producing over 150 – 500 million tonnes of C&D waste annually1. These statistics, if read with the highlighted need for the country to build over 700 – 900 million sq. metres of commercial and residential spaces2, enhances the concern regarding the drastic environmental degradation which may be caused, if a simultaneous focus over the use of sustainable methods is not given enough weightage.

Net Zero Carbon Emission Goals

During the 26th United Nations Conference of Parties (UNCoP), the Speaker representing India expressed that the Indian Government intended to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and was working towards attaining net zero carbon emission levels by the year 2070, whereas, an interim target, set to be achieved by the year 2030, was a reduction of the total projected carbon emission levels by one billion tonnes3.

In yet another press release published by the Government of India in August 2023, it was further elaborated that the aforementioned goal adopted before the 26th UNCoP, was dependent on a total of '7 key transitions to low – carbon development pathways, wherein one such transition was provided to be the adaptation of urban design, energy, and material efficiency in buildings, and sustainable urbanization4.

Net Zero Carbon Emission goals have since been widely promoted, not only by the Union Government, but also by various State Governments, which have taken different measures to reduce the emission levels, either by transitioning to energy efficient mechanisms, through inclusion of renewable energy in their infrastructure, or through the promotion of various environmental friendly measures.

However, owing to the drastic involvement of the C&I industry in the State and Union Economies, the involvement of sustainable measures in the latter industry has been comparably gradual.

The Implementation Efficiency of Regulations

In India, the C&D Waste management is governed by the C&D Waste Management Rules, 2016, which were notified with the purpose of bringing about an enhanced efficiency to the method of handling solid waste, especially the waste generated from activities of construction and demolition. However, in a Report published by the NITI Aayog in 2018, it was reported that there had been little to no progress in the widespread adoption of C&D waste processing and utilization in India5.

That said, while it may be appropriate to observe that the Report was published within 2 years of the notification of the C&D Rules, it is also manifest to note that even in a recent Report published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CESR) in the year 2023, it has been specified that 'most cities still lacked the requisite institutional preparedness to scientifically and systematically deal with the C&D waste owing to certain gaps in the implementation of the C&D Rules 2016'6. Wherein, this latter Report took a State-wise view of the management of C&D waste and specified that, owing to the fact that every city had adopted a different manner to design its C&D waste management system, the challenges faced by the Government were different and thus, there was a dire need for introduction of a strategic and efficient approach.

Not All is Black

In its Report dated 2023, while the CESR detailed the various measures which were deemed necessary for efficient disposal and management of C&D waste, a silver lining was found in the fact that certain cities, which may be considered to be the largest producers of C&D waste, had initiated the reporting of such waste (generation and management), which was an essential step towards attaining a successful implementation of the C&D Rules.

Even during the address presented by the Union Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs, it was specified that regions like the NCR were able to process almost 78% of the waste on a daily basis, wherein the said statistics painted an impressive picture owing to the fact that the Union Territory of Delhi alone, has been termed to be one of the largest C&D waste producers in the country8.

In addition to the aforementioned, it may also be needful to note that in the month of October 2023, the Government of the Union Territory of Delhi paved way for an effective management of C&D waste by the establishment of the Country's largest C&D Waste Recycling Plant. This initiative was also taken alongside the decisions of various other State Governments including that of Uttar Pradesh, which had been working diligently to tackle the issue of C&D waste management by way of various policies and initiatives, thus, providing for a reasonable inference to the fact that the implementation of the C&D Rules 2016 was gaining the necessitated traction.

Sustainable Construction – Sustainable India

In the various steps taken by the Government of India, a focus has been towards incorporating the values of sustainability within the C&I Industry, whether by means of the processes and procedures, or through the development of renewable energy plants.

In these sustainability measures, the Energy Conservation Building Code, published by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, has emerged as a champion, by mandating certain buildings to have minimum energy standards, which will result in the promotion of technologically neutral and renewable energy efficient values in the construction of commercial buildings.

However, while the aforementioned code has been effectively adopted and efficiently implemented by various States, the C&D Rules 2016 are yet to gain such kind of a momentum. It is needless to note, that the true sense of sustainability in the C&I industry may only be achieved when the structures constructed and the waste generated are both managed in an environmentally friendly manner.


One of the advantages of India being a developing country working towards incorporating sustainable values in the C&I industry, before attaining full development is the envisioned cost efficiency. That is, while any developed country would face certain technical issues in including sustainable values in its existing economy, for India, this inculcation shall be rather simple if undertaken strategically.

The C&D Rules, 2016, is a well-thought out piece of legislation, which if implemented correctly and efficiently, will lead India to its desired path of net-zero carbon emissions and ultimately, the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

After all, the primary step towards a sustainable and 'Viksit' Bharat must be taken by the Foremost Accelerator of the Indian Economy.


1 PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU, (last visited Feb. 29, 2024).

2 Id.

3 PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU, (last visited Feb. 29, 2024).

4 PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU,,promoting%20economy%2Dwide%20decoupling%20of (last visited Feb. 29, 2024).

5 NITI Aayog, Strategy for Promoting Processing of Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste and Utilisation of Recycled Products, 1, 6 (2018),

6 Anumita Roychowdhary, Rajneesh Sareen & Mitashi Singh, Construction and Demolition Waste: Closing the Waste Loop for Sustainability, 1, 6 (2023).

7 Id at 10.

8 Supra note 1.

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