The Harmful Effects of Construction Waste on the Environment And What We Can Do About It

Piles of rubble encroaching the pavements! Mounds of construction materials being dumped on the roadside! Dirt and debris from the demolitions spilling onto the streets from the uncovered, unfenced construction sites!

All of the above are common sights across India -- be it a small town or metro cities. In fact, the capital of the country is infamous for having severe air pollution. While car emissions, burning of crops, and power plant stations have been blamed for poisoning the city air, one of the most dangerous culprits often escaped the attention of the environmental groups -- construction waste. It’s hardly surprising in view of the fact that a 50,000 Sq ft office building can produce 100 tons of waste. – Hope you have backups for this statement

The capital city’s construction sites – especially those along the Eastern and Southern fringes of the city -- and the production of the raw materials used in construction (such as bricks and concrete) heavily add to the toxicity of air that, according to physicians, is making Delhi increasingly more hazardous, particularly for children and the elderly. As per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) officials, 30 percent of air pollution is caused by the dust coming from construction sites. – Hope you have backup

According to a 2015 study, antiquated construction standards, practised across thousands of building sites, fill up the air with a huge amount of coarse pollutants. This phenomenon, in turn, is strongly linked to heart disease.

However, Delhi is not the only city to be suffering from the onslaught of construction waste; the picture is more or less the same across the subcontinent. Construction activities result in the accumulation of huge amounts of solid waste, comprising concrete chunks, stones, sand, gravel, bricks, wood, and event glass, metal and the worst one – plastic. Hence, the management of construction waste has become a big headache for urban planners, nationwide. Moreover, diminishing availability of dumping sites on the one hand and ever-increasing volume of rubble, on the other hand make the situation even more critical. No wonder, the waste disposal expenses are on the rise. According to some estimates from the Central Pollution Control Board, India generates a whopping 48 million tons solid waste per annum of which waste from Construction Industry accounts for 25%. Such a high quantum of waste puts enormous pressure on cities’ waste management systems.

The most common types of construction waste include:

  • • Cement and ceramics
  • • Bricks and tiles
  • • Wood, plastic, and glass
  • • Metallic waste
  • • Paints and dyes

The mountains of the debris created due to traditional practices eventually transform into garbage. This also causes soil pollution. And eventually, all these harmful debris are carried away by the rainwater. Construction sites often produce hazardous waste such as mercury, lead, aerosol cans, and more. The heap comprising of hazardous waste is often burnt after the completion of construction, emitting unhealthy and toxic fumes into the air.

Can banning construction be a solution?

NO.

First of all, construction being the backbone of infrastructure development, construction works cannot be stalled for a long time. This highly employment-intensive sector accounts for a lion’s share of the country’s capital investment on a year-over-year basis. The share of investment in this sector is even predicted to grow in the upcoming years.

Besides, stopping an ongoing construction project can lead to negative consequences. Discarding a construction project midway leaves the site in a pathetic state with leftover debris further polluting the environment and making matters worse.

What is the way out then?

Embrace inovative construction Adopting alternate construction methods powered by off-site techniques can be an effective way to eliminate construction waste from the equation. In the case of prefabricated construction, individual modules are fabricated in a controlled factory environment. The finished modules are then transported to the construction site and assembled to form a building of any size. This offsite method substantially reduces waste, which is a characteristic feature of brick-and-mortar construction. Not only does modular construction promote efficient use of building materials; According to recent reporting from the Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) in the USA, it can allow for nearly 90-percent waste reduction. (Please send me the backup)

At Nest-In, we offer steel based prefabricated construction solutions which can be used in multiple sectors ranging from real estate to hospitality and from sanitation to military infrastructure. Our construction solution offerings includes seven products, namely Nestudio, Habinest, Ezynest modular toilets, Smart Ezynest, CanvaNest, AquaNest and Mobinest. These modular solutions help minimize construction waste as fewer raw materials are handled on the building site. Modules are transported to the site and assembled. Made of light gauge steel frames, they help you save on building load. What is more? Much of the components of construction can be reused in further construction. If you are interested in knowing more about this low waste construction methods, visit our website or call our toll-free number at 1800-108-8282.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/15/delhi-deadly-dust-how-construction-sites-choking-city

https://tifac.org.in/index.php/8-publication/184-utilisation-of-waste-from-construction-industry

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/india-s-challenges-in-waste-management-56753

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/post-diwali-pollution-in-delhi-likely-to-be-lower-than-last-3-years-safar/articleshow/71786277.cms?from=mdr

https://www.wbdg.org/resources/construction-waste-management

https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2016/how-modular-construction-keeping-waste-out-us-landfills/28726

http://www.modular.org/htmlPage.aspx?name=Eliminate_Waste