Construction industry is regarded as one of the foremost reasons of environment degradation worldwide. Waste is considered an apex issue in the construction sector because of its economic and ecological influences. From the past 25 years, the concentration on the Construction and Demolition (C & D) waste has been developing from various academicians, investigators and experts worldwide. This study analyses the C & D waste management and its effect on environment in India. The prime factors related to C & D waste disposal that influence the environment adversely are dust and noise in India. The present study reviews the impacts of C & D waste and their role in construction industry which is required for providing a hopeful and precautionary system for environmental management and protection. Suggestions have also been proposed to improve the condition of utilization of the C & D waste and making the environment sustainable. The issues discussed are suitable for construction managers and others related to the management of construction projects to have awareness of impacts of C & D waste on the environment. It is suggested that the understanding and awareness of the project participants with respect to the impacts of construction processes on the environment needs to be strengthened.
Keywords: Construction activities; Waste; C & D waste; Construction; Demolition; Environmental impacts; Sustainability
Abbreviations: C & D: Construction and Demolition; MT: Million Tonnes; CPCB: Central Pollution Control Board; TPD: Tonnes Per Day; MSW: Municipal Solid Waste; ULBs: Urban Local Bodies; LCA: Life Cycle Assessment; DBOT: Design, Build, Operate & Transfer
After China, India is the second largest populated nation with over 1.29 billion population contributing 17.6% of the total population worldwide. In contrast, India is sharing 5% of the world’s total area book-keeping for 3,185,263sq.km of which 68% lives in countryside and 32% lives in built-up zones i.e. cities, towns, etc. To provide housing facilities to the growing population, lots of construction activities are in progress. The construction primarily depends on the natural environment for the source of raw resources like wood, sand, timber and aggregates and in construction work large amount of debris is being produced. According to the Indian Government estimates, India produces at present about 165-170 million tonnes (MT) of debris annually and as per estimates of the Union Ministry of Urban Development, India produced 12-14.7 MT of C & D waste per annum as reported by CPCB in March 2017.
According to Shen et al. , “C & D waste is as a combination of surplus constituents generated from construction, renovation and destruction activities such as site clearance, land excavation and roadwork and demolition”. The Solid Waste Management Rules  also defined C & D waste as “Waste consisting of building materials, debris and rubble resulting from construction, re-modeling, restoration and destruction of any civil construction”. These wastes are bulky with high density and inhabit large storage area on the road and common waste bins or containers. It has been estimated that New Delhi itself generates at present about 4500 to 5000 tonnes per day (TPD) of C & D Waste. The waste generation for new construction activities and re-construction activities has been estimated as 35 and 350kg/sqm, respectively while about 2000 TPD C & D waste is being received at the landfill sites in Delhi. Similar situations prevail in other metropolitan and large cities in India. As per the old report by the World Bank in 2012, cities produced about 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per annum globally and this was predicted to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by the year 2025. According to the studies, it has been revealed that building materials alone constitute about half of the solid waste produced throughout the world.
C & D activities generate huge quantities of waste and more accumulation of waste is creating harmful effects on both environment and human life. Researchers around the world have reported that C & D waste constitutes around 20 to 30% of total solid waste and about 70 to 80 % of C & D is concrete and masonry. As C & D waste forms a significant portion, the appropriate management of C & D waste is vital for sustainable environment.
Besides population increase, the boost in the fiscal growth after
several advancements and re-development projects in India and
subsequent rise in the urbanization and industrialization have
made construction sector to boost remarkably, but the adverse
environmental effects from the C & D waste are progressively
becoming challenging tasks in urban solid waste management
. This study assesses the impacts of construction and other
civil engineering related activities on the environment and
investigates the utmost serious challenges and hopeful measures
for the management of C & D waste particularly in India.
The C & D waste produced in the construction, preservation
and discarding segments of a structure including waste from
demolished structures, renovations and construction as well
as repair of roads, flyovers, bridges, etc. is a composite waste
stream and comprises of a varied range of constituents such as
debris from the structures, bricks, concrete, soil, steel, timber
(wood) and a mixture of site clearance materials that arises from
several building activities. It also comprises occurrence of surplus
consumptions in labour and energy used in various construction
In India, it is a day-to-day practice for large C & D projects to
accumulate waste on the road sides leading to traffic congestion.
C & D waste from separate houses are dumped into neighboring
municipal bins or containers and waste storing yards creating
the bulky municipal waste and lowering its value for actions like
energy recovery, composting, etc.
In January 2014, the then Minister of Urban Development
informed the Parliament that no estimates exist for C & D waste in
India as it is very problematic to quantify the C & D waste. According
to the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) located at New
Delhi, the entire C & D waste produced by buildings alone was
estimated by 531 million tonnes in 2013 which was about 50 times
higher than the existing official estimate. The Union Ministry of
Forests and Environment (MoEF) has acknowledged that there is
no organized evidences or database on the C & D waste. According
to the estimations of CSE, India has recently built 5.75 billion
sqm of extra floor space since 2010 with nearly 1 billion sqm in
2013. According to the Technology Information, Forecasting and
Assessment Council (TIFAC), new construction produces 40-
60kg/sqm. of C & D waste. Based on this, India produced almost
50 MT of C & D wastes in 2013. From the past 8 years as per the
estimates only for new construction, India produced about 287
MT of C & D wastes. Demolition as well as renovation and repairrelated
unused dump of the older stock create extra waste. The
waste generated 300-500kg per sqm of destruction is ten times
of that produced during the construction phase as per TIFAC. It
is assumed that annually 5% of the current building assets gets
dismantled and reconstructed entirely and therefore, nearly 288
MT more of C & D waste had been produced in the year 2013 itself
due to demolition activities. TIFAC also reported that repair and
maintenance of the buildings produces 40-50kg per sqm of waste.
If one-third of the current building assets gone through repair or
renovation, India had produced typically 193 MT of C & D wastes
only from restoration and revamp in 2013. Thus, the entire C & D
waste produced only by buildings in 1 year i.e. 2013 amounts to
530 MT which is 44 times higher than the official estimates . If
the waste produced by other infrastructural developments such
as roads and dams is also considered and then the C & D waste is
measured, it will be in excess of all the other kinds of solid waste
placed all together. Where all this C & D waste produced is going?
The answer to this is that lot of waste is used to unlawfully stock
up the water bodies and swamplands in the vicinity of the urban
areas for industrial, commercial and housing development while
the rest is dumped into the rivers, streams, etc. as well as open
lands turning them into dump yards .
In India, some of the C & D waste is re-utilized and recycled
(near about 50%) while the remaining is generally land-filled.
Characterization findings on C & D waste are negligible in India
as it is typically aggregated and combined with municipal solid
waste (MSW). The conventional constitution of C & D waste in
India according to three different surveys conducted by TIFAC ,
MCD and IL&FS is presented in Table 1 as reported by Gayakwad
& Sasane in the year 2015.
Gayakwad & Sasane  further reported that the waste
generation during construction was estimated to be 40- 60kg
per sqm. On similar basis, waste produced all through renovation
and restoration work was projected to be 40-50kg per sqm. The
significant addition to C & D waste production comes from the
destruction of the buildings. Destruction of pucca and semi-pucca
constructions typically produces 300 and 500kg per sqm of waste,
Thus, it can be concluded from the various studies that there
are various factors that affect the C & D waste generation such
as demographic factors like population, rate of urbanization,
population density and socio-economic status of people; age of
the city and construction and demolition patterns and practices
According to Dajadian & Koch , the waste can be originated
from the various operations and processes before, during and
after construction. They found that there are several causes of
construction waste according to the origin of the waste and they
are classified accordingly as shown in Table 2.
Buildings have long lifespan and their impacts affect the lives
of many generations of our ancestors and stretch into the future
of unknown resources, pollution and unstable climatic conditions
. Several investigations have shown that the consequences on
the environment instigated by building activities are severe and
require to be inhibited [11,12]. Building sector contributes majorly
in the development of the society. While acknowledging this fact,
it is also being professed as a key contributor to environment
deterioration. Some of its negative effects on the society are land
depletion, energy requirement and use, solid waste production,
discharge of dust and gas, noise pollution, and utilization of
natural resources including non-renewable resources . In
the past 100 years, the earth has heated by nearly 0.5 C each
year which is due to escalated concentrations of a few traces of
greenhouse gases; most prominent among them being the carbon
dioxide (CO2) . The energy use and associated CO2 emissions
have been increasing at a faster rate globally over the past few
decades. The impact of the continuous development of energy
use are disastrous. The developed countries should enhance their
energy efficiency to curb the problem of excessive energy use
and thereby reducing the associated CO2 emissions. Construction
industry related energy use is responsible for nearly half of India’s
energy use because of urbanization and industrialization. The
use of non-renewable fuel source in the generation of resources,
during the building practices, and by the dwellers or the end-users
of the buildings/structures during their lifespan is a basis of large
amount of CO2. The climatic changes due to the global warming
are issuing a warning and treat to the environment and demands
changes in the construction practices .
The most common effects on environment from various
activities are dust, noise, smoke and odour (fugitive discharge).
In circumstance of C & D waste management, the fundamental
factors affecting the environment are dust and noise . Earth
movements, destruction and other building activities frequently
includes the generation of spreading clouds of dirt with destructive
impact on the growing figures of people suffering from respiratory
diseases, and undesirable impact on the degradation surfaces. The
dust generation activities also comprise of various restoration
activities and dusting of façades. Also, setting up of dust-averting
services must be imposed in such cases necessitating cautious
assessment and assortment of appropriate precautionary
measures . Approximately 6 MT of waste from marble
industries is being spread in India from various operations related
to marbles such as cutting, processing, polishing, and grinding.
Rajasthan having about 4000 marble mines alone has almost 95%
of the entire marble produced in India and can be thought-out as
the major marble deposits in the world. Approximately 70% of
the processing waste is being dumped in the neighborhood [17-
19]. The marble dust is mostly disposed on the riverbeds and
possesses excessive environmental threat. The marble powder
trails in the air, soars and deposits on flora and harvest during the
dry season creating many hazards. All these incomparably impact
the environment and local bionetworks. The marble dust dumped
leads to the reduction in porosity and permeability of the top soil
and causes the problem of water logging. Additionally, the minute
constituent part of marble dust creates infertile soil because of the
intensification in alkalinity.
According to a recent IIT Kanpur study in 2017, the main
source of urban pollution was found to be road dust from C & D
Waste and making up 56% of course PM10 pollutants and 38%
of the dangerous and respirable PM2.5 particles. Construction
industry uses a set of pollutant fluids like paints, solvents, oils and
washing water that may damage the land and nearby pavements.
Such pollutant fluids should be cautiously used to reduce the
pollution hazards on the ground. Workers should confine the use of
unnecessary shuttering oil through proper usage of the products.
Alternative oils derived from the vegetables and synthetic base
are environmentally better but are expensive which can be
recommended as they are less threatening for workers .
Noise produced by the construction activities at the site affect
the peace, ease and healthiness of the residents and the visiting
community and influences the general commotion of nearby
schools, hospitals and other day-to-day services. The critical
causes of noise are the demolition, operating various machinery
at the site, pneumatic hammers, concrete mixers, re-processing
of the C & D waste, etc. There are various harmful impacts of the
noise produced from C & D waste disposal, re-processing and reuse
to the environment urging the need to take initiatives and
formulate the legislations in India.
The management practices of waste from construction
activities are endorsed with the goal of conserving the ecosystem
recognizing the fact that wastes from C & D works subsidize
considerably to the polluted surroundings . This booming
consciousness of effects of C & D wastes on environment has led
to the growth of waste management as a valuable function of
construction project management . Currently, C & D waste is
regarded as a part of MSW. Except for a few isolated cases, C &
D waste is not managed properly in India by Urban Local Bodies
(ULBs). The common practices of C & D waste management
a. Reuse of valuable materials (by informal sector dealers)
b. Illegal open dumping: Debris consisting of concrete, brick
and mortar. Excavated earth is dumped illegally on roadsides,
low-lying areas and river beds. This causes the waste to pile
up on roads causing inconvenience, choking surface drains,
disrupting traffic and is an eyesore on the urban landscape.
c. Use as filler materials in low-lying areas especially
before new construction.
d. Use in sub-base layer in roads.
e. Dumped in ULB designated dump yards (in a few cities only).
Various strategies have been taken up in different cities in
India and are discussed as below:
a. C & D waste management strategies exist in Delhi
and Ahmedabad. Processing facilities have been set up in
collaboration with private entities. Proper collection and
transportation systems have been set up to aid processing.
Illegal dumping practices are also discouraged due to penalties
on open dumping.
b. Chennai and Kolkata are some exceptions to unaccounted
C & D waste production. Kolkata keeps records of the extent of
C & D waste getting dumped in landfills. Chennai is the only
city which gives demolition permits to waste generators as
compared to reconstruction permits given in other cities.
This facilitates the estimation of C & D waste generated based on
area and type of the buildings demolished.
c. Many investigations have concluded a decline in
environmental effects including CO2 emissions which can be
ascribed to recycling of C & D waste. Life cycle Assessment
(LCA) studies can provide elementary guidance to design
engineers and researchers working in this field .
Good practices across the world offer lessons for developing,
implementing and sustaining an efficient and adequate C & D waste
management system. Several initiatives across the world show the
approach to counterbalance the challenges faced by India in the
management of C & D waste. There have been various initiatives
taken by state governments as well as central government in India
which are summarized as:
a. CPCB has come out with the detailed guidelines to act on
dust mitigation measures for handling both on-site and offsite
management of such waste in the cities and towns across
b. Timelines for the states have been planned to take
into account key objective of the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’
envisaging handing out of 100% solid waste produced in the
cities or towns by October 2, 2019.
c. Dust control norms have been laid down in EPCA’s
Comprehensive Action Plan and the Graded Response Action
Plan to minimize the pollution at construction sites.
d. The Solid Waste Management Cell of the Government of
various states has given a noticeable position to C & D waste
in their accomplishment plans.
e. Municipal Corporations in various parts of India have
reported the “Construction and Demolition and De-silting
Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016.”
f. The volume of C & D waste produced in Delhi does not
spread into the MSW stream as Municipal Corporation of
Delhi (MCD) has definite transitional points for C & D waste
but appropriate discarding is problematic for the reason that
the debris is disposed in the current landfills accumulating
g. MCD has designated a Design, Build, Operate & Transfer
(DBOT) plan for adequate storage and assortment of 500
TPD C & D waste from 3 MCD regions/zones, transportation
to a recognized location and then processed and utilized. The
rejected material would be land-filled at the same location. The
DBOT partner; IL&FS Waste Management and Urban Services
Ltd. would also form a test road utilizing the processed C &
D waste with methodical support of Central Road Research
Institute (CRRI), New Delhi which would be then supervised for more than a year. Hard work would be made for the growth
of the market of processed C & D waste.
h. Rules and regulations have been developed to reduce
the construction waste thereby protecting the environment
and improving sustainability of the construction sector.
i. Furnishing sufficient facts to the public at the time
of applying for permission for the building/structure on
the website and other modes including display at the zonal
workplaces on the decorum and list of operators in the area
j. The C & D Waste Management Rules, 2016 were
announced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and
Climate Change (MoEF & CC) on 29th March 2016 and came
into effect since then.
k. Pilot initiatives in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru
have shown that C & D waste can be recycled and reused in
construction and such efforts have produced commendable
Some of the applications of the C & D waste management
concepts are mentioned below:
a. A school building in Rajkot, Gujarat has been built
utilizing the rubble of Bhuj earthquake which was designed
by Ahmedabad based architect Surya Kakani.
b. The Institute of Rural Research and Development
(IRRAD) building in Gurugram, Haryana has creatively
recycled and re-utilized its own construction waste during the
construction of the same building itself.
c. Initiatives are being taken by building administrators or
Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in townships in India
to collect and dispose C & D waste. RWAs in condominiums
in Gurugram, Haryana have issued notices to home owners
not to mix C & D waste with MSW. The waste is collected in
separate bins and transported to designated dumpsites by
contractors. Such initiatives have shown the increasing levels
of awareness on C & D waste in India.
d. Low cost housing and Integrated Low-Cost Sanitation
(ILCS) program government buildings and civil structures
have also been proposed.
e. Contractors at some site in India have taken the initiative
to reuse some of the materials. Reuse of bricks, stone slabs,
timber (wood), channels, etc. at site to the likely amount and
confined to their condition.
f. Selling or auctioning the resources which cannot be
used or are in the unused condition at the site due to design
constraints or changes in the design or over-ordering.
g. Plastics, broken glass, scrap metals, etc. are being used
by recycling manufacturing units.
h. Debris, brick bats, fragmented plaster, concrete
fragments, etc. have been utilized for building purposes, such
as under coat of lanes where there are not much heavy traffic
loads, leveling, etc.
In India, creative steps are being taken even though legal
transformation is consuming a lot of time. It has been seen
from various studies that in prevailing policy environment, the
economic benefits of C & D waste recycling facility are not very
attractive. However, if environmental and social benefits could
be monetized, C & D waste recycling facility becomes very viable
option for waste management [24-26].
Based on the various surveys conducted related with the C
& D waste management, the following recommendations and
suggestions are proposed:
a. Detailed waste management strategy should imitate
the magnitude and complications involved with the project’s
b. Constantly amending the waste management strategy
to report how waste is handled and review where waste is
c. Environment-friendly technologies should be utilized
for C & D waste management.
d. Offer training about the waste management strategy to
the people concerned.
e. Building activities may deteriorate flora on site and in
its surroundings. As trees are important natural elements
of urban landscape, utmost care must be taken to guarantee
f. Assessment of the level of noise generated by construction
locations will absolutely be established in the future owing to
the requirement to follow the rules and regulations and to
evade any undue claims from the neighborhood. Distinctive
site organizational measures must be adopted.
g. Lean construction techniques must be adopted outlining
the procedures relate to the elimination of waste.
h. Sustainable or green building practice must be adopted
to reduce, re-use, and recycle the C & D waste. Advocating
‘deconstruction’ in place of ‘demolition’ and developing
designs which aid ‘deconstruction’.
i. Waste recycling strategies should be promoted for C &
D projects prior to the commencement of the construction
j. Statutory orders, action plans and voluntary agreements
must be carried out.
k. Banning of landfills with C & D waste must be done to
reduce air/land pollution and hence help the environment from toxic waste and gases.
l. Promoting recycling and developing market for recycled
m. Awareness circulars or notices can be issued to
communicate the citizens about the new C & D waste
assortment and dumping system and the locations of the
bins and direct the citizens to discard the C & D waste in the
designated bins only or directly to the C & D facility site. The
civic authority must alert that no person should discard C & D
waste on the pavements, streets, open land, drainage (storm)
or areas associated with the municipality or the government.
If such waste is disposed on a private property, the owner of
that property would be obligated for the disposed waste and
would be held accountable for any kind of deterioration of the
surrounding area or causing pollution.
n. Mandating compliance of a C & D Waste management
plan by massive generators of C & D waste (>400sqm of
o. Enforce a construction waste charge on developers and
the revenue generated can be utilized to support and subsidize
C & D waste recycling centers.
p. Consistently dismantle the structure or the building
instead of destroying them.
q. It can also be suggested that the Government can offer
tax concessions to C & D recycling centers and bring out
various tax policies to minimize waste production and avoid
r. Barricading the area, cleaning the vehicles before leaving
the construction site, covering vehicles carrying construction
material, using of wet jet for grinding and stone cutting
and sprinkling recycled water at the site can be some of the
measures to minimize the pollution at construction sites.
Thus, there must be an appropriate institutional system to take
utmost care of the assortment, transportation, transitional storage
(if necessary), utilization and discarding of C & D wastes. Rightful
rules and regulations should be formulated and instigated at each
level. Segregation of C & D waste must be encouraged at source of
waste and private enterprise can be advantageously engaged for
the assortment and transportation of that waste. In India, Public-
Private-Partnership (PPP) schemes can be a potential system of
utilizing of C & D waste management .
To economize the resources from the earth such as river
sand, stone, soil, etc. and energy to protect the environment
from various pollutants, C & D waste management requires to be
focused upon. C & D waste has potential use after processing and
the application such waste is typical in industrialized countries
but in India so far, no systematized effort has been made but some
NGOs and Private companies have taken the initiative to reduce,
reuse and recycle the C & D waste. There is an enormous challenge
to manage C & D waste in the future. Data should be created on C
& D waste production and its characteristics to assess the waste
and its potential re-use, reduction or recycling. There should
be easy admittance to the data pertaining to C & D production,
governmental and regulatory framework and measures to all
stakeholders and public. There is a need for countries like India
to take up inter-disciplinary research in all areas related C & D
waste management. With the growth of the economy leading to
increased construction activity, it is important that this area is
addressed in a mission mode to ensure sustainable growth.
Thus, in India, the level of knowledge and awareness and
the obtainability of technology for C & D waste re-utilization
and recycling require to be enhanced to make a sustainable
transformation. Quality standards for the recycled or re-used
products are required to be formulated and carefully supervised
by Bureau of Indian Standards.