Wasted: The Messy Story of Sanitation in India, A Manifesto for Change by Ankur Bisen

Editor | Non-fiction

Urban India generates close to three million trucks of untreated garbage every day. If these were laid end-to-end, one could reach half way to the moon.

The need for attention to sanitation and cleanliness is both urgent and long-term. Bisen’s book takes an honest look into India’s perpetual struggle with these issues and suggests measures to overcome them. Historically, we have developed into a society with a skewed mindset towards sanitation with our caste system and non-accountability towards sanitation.
Through stories, anecdotes and analysis of events, this book seeks solutions to the current entangled problems of urban planning, governance and legislation, and institutional and human capacity building. Wasted traces interesting relationships between urban planning and dirty cities in India; legislative and governance lacunae and the rising height of open landfills; the informality of waste management methods, and the degrading health of Indian rivers, soil and air.
Arguing that all current solutions of India are extrapolated from these flawed beliefs and structures and are therefore woefully inadequate, Bisen draws a benchmark from clean countries of today. Underlining the need for inclusive human clusters, specificity in legislation, correction of existing social contracts and governance frameworks, creating a formal resource recovery industry in India, and the pursuit of diplomacy around this industry, this book shows how these solutions could lead us towards a brighter future and better social development.

About the author
Ankur Bisen is committed to his concerns about the environment and the accountability of citizens to improving conditions of sanitation in urban India. While growing up in India’s quaint small towns, briefly leading an expat life, and working in bustling Indian cities and towns, he developed an enquiring mind towards a cleaner and greener future.
In his years as a management consultant at Technopak Advisors and before that in the Tata Group and Lemon Tree hotels, he has thought and researched about India’s sanitation problems and possible solutions while working in diverse fields such as affordable housing, food, retailing, urban and rural consumption clusters, resource recovery and consumer products with an India focus.
Ankur has written regularly for leading English dailies in the past. This is his first book.

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