Low-carbon action plan

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

Recently, Bihar has initiated a well-designed work plan to strengthen its waste management profile by formulating a Low-Carbon Action Plan (LCAP) for the waste and domestic wastewater sector.

About the LCAP:

  • The plan is a part of Bihar state’s commitment to transform itself into a Net Zero state by 2070.
  • LCAP has come after the Chief Minister of Bihar unveiled a comprehensive draft of Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Development Pathway for the State.
    • It is a first of its kind in the country, marking a significant stride towards mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fostering a sustainable and resilient environmental future. 
  • The visionary objective of LCAP for the waste sector, prepared by ICLEI South Asia, is to ensure: -
    • Holistic solid waste management and a sustainable sanitation pathway integrating the concept of low carbon solutions.
    • Enabling mitigation of GHG emission from the waste sector and contributing to the state-level goal of pursuing climate resilience and low carbon development pathway for eventually achieving carbon neutrality.
  • The recommendations highlighted in the LCAP are an outcome of the collaborative efforts involving multiple stakeholders at various levels and departments, complemented by field visits by the ICLEI team. 
  • These concerted actions proposed in the LCAP are expected to create a substantial GHG emission mitigation potential across the state.

Methodology used in the LCAP:

  • The detailed assessment was done by ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia, of the waste and wastewater sectors that constitute a critical part of the strategy.
  • ICLEI, as one of the partner agencies, collated data for the existing domestic wastewater and solid waste management system, both at the urban and rural levels. 
  • The data was used to develop a GHG emissions inventory for both the solid waste and domestic wastewater sectors. 
    • Based on the inventory and discussions with the key actors and stakeholders in the state, a list of low-carbon interventions and recommendations for strengthening the waste sector was proposed as part of the LCAP. 
  • The LCAP includes scenarios for future emission reductions for the years 2030, 2050 and 2070 through the proposed interventions.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability:

  • It is a global network working with more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.
  • ICLEI engages at the local to global levels, shaping policy and sparking action to transform urban environments worldwide.

Major concerns that led to LCAP:

  • From 2016 to 2020, emissions from solid waste disposal alone rose by 32.3 per cent at a CAGR of 7.5 per cent, underscoring the urgency for the state to act immediately. 
  • The treatment of domestic wastewater has been a notable contributor to the GHG emissions, highlighting the need for improved management strategies.
  • In 2020, emissions from domestic wastewater increased to 6.69 million tCO2e, growing at a rate of 2.6 percent from 2016. 
  • The prevalence of septic tanks and untreated discharge due to inadequate sewage collection and treatment, has been identified as a source of high methane generation. 
  • Industrial wastewater, with a staggering rate of 49.7 per cent, emitted approximately 1.1 million tCO2e.
  • The solid waste processing and disposal contributed around 0.37 million tCO2e. 
  • The present situation emphasises the importance of developing a holistic and scientific waste management in the state.

Targets under LCAP:

  • Bihar aims to secure 100 percent access to scientifically designed, universal and economical toilet systems by 2024, and 
    • By 2070, to realise 100 per cent treatment efficiency and optimal reuse of generated wastewater, with maximum methane recovery in the state, among several other core targets. 
  • Anaerobic treatment of wastewater with methane recovery is one of the primary targets for maximum reduction of emissions from the waste sector. 
    • Methane recovery is the capture of methane gas from wastewater treatment, organic waste or landfills, preventing it from entering the atmosphere, thereby, reducing GHG emissions. 
    • This gas can be reused as a source of renewable energy such as biogas, electricity.
  • Bihar’s climate ambitions are pivotal actions designed to transform the state’s waste management landscape. 
  • The plan aims for statewide coverage of sustainable containment systems for human excreta, significantly reducing GHG emissions from poorly managed or openly discharged wastewater.

Way forward:

The Low-Carbon Action Plan (LCAP) for Bihar's waste management is a significant step towards achieving carbon neutrality. There are a lot of opportunities for the state to explore to strengthen its existing waste management landscape and adopt a holistic and scientific integrated waste management plan to move towards a circular economy and low carbon development pathway. Bihar must prioritize implementing the proposed interventions, such as sustainable sanitation and methane recovery, to meet its ambitious targets. Collaboration among stakeholders and effective monitoring mechanisms will be crucial for successful execution, ensuring a sustainable and low-carbon future for the state.

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