Behind the glitz of new and tall buildings in the city is a trail of chunky construction debris with no accountability for its management or disposal -until now. The Centre has come out with new rules to handle construction and demolition waste.
The norms include segregating construction debris into steel, concrete and iron and depositing at a collection centre, a ban on dumping them in the open or on the road, and the mandatory use of water sprinklers to suppress dust and, thereby, pollution.
Environmentalists have welcomed the move. Real estate developers say following the new rules should not pose any technical challenge but will increase the cost of construction.
“Depending on the project size, I reckon the cost would go up by up to 0.5%,” ETA Properties and Investments Pvt Ltd head of projects Fazlullah Khan said. “But we can’t pass on the cost to the customer. The market is competitive.”
He said more large projects follow these rules anyway and it is only small and mid-range builders who may try to skirt the norms. “The small and medium firms account for between 20% and 25% of all construction in the city ,” Khan said.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) Chennai chapter president Ajit Kumar Chordia, is optimistic. “It is more about a change of mind-set than a logistical or a technical challenge,” he said.
The Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, notified by the Union environment ministry , makes it mandatory for large builders to submit waste management plans along with building designs -without which local authorities can deny building permission.
The new rules also make it mandatory for local agencies to commission construction and demolition waste management plants in cities with a 1 million-plus population within 18 months.
Environmentalists say this is the most comprehensive plan yet to deal with the problem of construction waste. Till now it was under the extremely inadequate Schedule III of the rule for separate collection in the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000. Studies by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) estimate that the country generates 530 million tonnes of construction every year. Most of it is dumped in landfills or open spaces, water bodies and plains.
“The problem of debris will only grow as two-thirds of the buildings that India will need by 2030 are yet to be built,” CSE executive director Anumita Roychowdhury said. “The costs to the environment will only escalate with the anticipated construction boom unless the authorities take immediate steps to recycle construction waste.”
Credits ET Realty