Municipal solid waste management is a problem that is experienced by all counties in the world. Because of its nature, it has remained one of the major environmental problems man continues to face. Municipal solid waste management is considered as one of the most serious environmental and social problems challenging municipal authorities in all major cities in India. Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is facing a lot of hardship in day to day management and maintenance of solid waste management. Therefore the present study was taken to find out the problems and prospects of Municipal solid waste in Visakhapatnam city. A detailed investigation was made regarding the methods of practices associated with sources, quantity generated, collection, transportation, storage, treatment and disposal of municipal solid waste in Visakhapatnam city. The data concerning to SWM in Visakhapatnam was obtained through a questionnaire, individual field visit, interacting with people and authentic record of the municipal corporation. Photographic pieces of evidence were also made about generation, storage, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of MSW. The study reveals the issues to be addressed for a more effective and efficient solid waste management practices in Visakhapatnam city as per Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules 2000.

Problems with the disposal of wastes can be traced from the time when humans first began to congregate in tribes, villages and communities and the accumulation of wastes became a consequence of life (George Tchobanoglous, 1993). Improper disposal leads to the breeding of rats, with their attendant fleas carrying the germs of disease-causing plague. Lack of planning and management of solid waste led to an epidemic of plague, the Black Death that killed half of the Europeans in the 14th century and caused many subsequent epidemics and high death tolls. Solid waste management is a integral part of urban and environmental management of each city with more than 65% of India’s 250 million population living in class I town (population over 0.1 million) and 23 cities getting distinction of being metropolises (population over 1million) (Asnani et al; 1992, Bhide and Sudarshan, 1976) Municipal solid waste management, like most of the other infrastructural services has come under great stress, consider low priority areas, solid waste management was never taken up seriously either by the public or by concerned agency or authorities and now the piled up waste is threatening our health, environment and well being (Chouhan and Reddy 1996, Mazumdar 1994).

Visakhapatnam is the second biggest city in undivided Andhra Pradesh after Hyderabad. Once a small fishing village has evolved into a major port city in south India over the decades and considered as the fastest growing city in India. The total area of the city is 540 sq.km (GVMV, 2012) and with Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal corporation jurisdiction of 111sq.km with a growing population of more than 30.82 lakhs. The city is the biggest economic hub with both public and private sector undertakings like Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Visakhapatnam Port, National Thermal Power Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Hindustan Zinc, Hindustan Shipyard, Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels and any more private companies are located in and around the city generating huge amounts of waste. The Public Health and Sanitation Department of GVMC is responsible for collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste generated in Visakhapatnam City. The present study is carried out in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation area in the year 2012 to understand the solid waste management scenario in GVMC area.

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