India's Mega Cities: Coping with Landfill Overload


India is grappling with a waste management crisis, with landfills overflowing and the problem worsening each day. Cities all over the country produce tons of waste that often goes to landfills, further polluting the environment. According to a CNN news report, India is home to over 3,100 landfills scattered throughout the country.

India, with its rich tapestry of culture and traditions, boasts a diverse clothing industry. However, this leads to an unintended consequence: enormous waste generation, resulting in vast clothing landfills. Many cities are grappling with mountains of discarded garments, which pose an environmental burden with harmful effects.

In the "Waste to Wealth Report" by Reverse Resources, it's revealed that India accounts for roughly 7,793 tons, or 8.5%, of the world's textile waste annually. Breaking down the sources of this waste, 51% originates from domestic post-consumer collections, 42% from pre-consumer stages, and 7% from imported post-consumer waste.

Landfills across the country have led to health and environmental hazards. Below is a list of landfills from major Indian cities fighting with waste management crises.


Delhi is home to three major landfill sites: Ghazipur, Okhla, and Bhalswa, with Ghazipur being the largest and featuring towering mountains of garbage. According to the most recent estimate by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the city of Delhi produces a staggering 11,332 tonnes of solid waste on a daily basis.

(Image: Garbage Mountains at Ghazipur Landfill)

The Ghazipur landfill located in Delhi, India, serves as a prominent example of inadequate urban waste management. Covering an area of more than 70 acres, it has gained a reputation for releasing harmful gases and leachate into the environment. This substantial heap of waste, which exceeded the Taj Mahal in height as of 2021, highlights the pressing need for viable and sustainable waste management remedies.


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) states that the city produces approximately 6,400 tonnes of waste daily. The Deonar landfill in Mumbai, the country's largest and oldest, receives tonnes of waste. Harmful gases from the accumulated garbage have caused respiratory issues and other health ailments among the population. This landfill has posed significant environmental and health problems for the city's residents. Addressing this, the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) has set a fresh goal to close and rehabilitate the Deonar dumping ground – the city's biggest and oldest waste site – by 2025.

(Image: Garbage Heaps at Deonar Landfill)


Panipat, often dubbed the "cast-off capital," is a major hub for textile recycling. However, its landfills brim with discarded textiles. This mounting waste not only poses environmental threats but also health risks to local residents. Addressing the landfill issue is crucial for sustainable development in India's textile city.

(Image: Textile Dump in Panipat)

A BBC report reveals that torn or damaged clothes from the UK, US, and other countries frequently find their way to Panipat, Northern India's "cast-off capital." Every day, hundreds of tonnes of discarded clothing arrive in Panipat from various international locations.


According to a news report by Deccan Herald, Bengaluru's Mitaganahalli landfill receives more than 3,000 tons of waste every day. The landfill is filled with both dry and wet waste. Heaps of mixed garbage can be seen, including unopened bags in green, yellow, and black. The waste is diverse and includes items such as vegetable peels, recyclable bottles, plastic items, paper, tender coconut shells, cardboard sheets, clothing, and many other materials.

(Image: Mitaganahalli Landfill Site-DH Photo/Pushkar V)


- Open Dialogue

Open dialogue among brands, organisations, and individuals is crucial for addressing the massive landfills and for creating prevention through awareness. Such discussions can lead to a collective resolution to adopt better habits.

- Reusing and Repurposing

The importance of reusing and repurposing textiles is significant. Instead of discarding these items, one can either reuse or repurpose them to reduce landfill burden. Even minor wear and tear can often be mended, extending the lifespan of garments and other textile products.

- Donation and Repair

Donation and repair offer additional options. Unwanted clothes don't necessarily have to go to waste; they can be donated to charities or sold to second-hand stores. Furthermore, worn-out clothes can serve a new purpose as cleaning rags, stuffing material, or quilts. 

You can donate your unwanted clothes to Refash's Take Back Program, which is designed to prevent clothing from ending up in landfills. To do so, simply fill out this donation form. In return, you'll receive a repair kit as a token of gratitude.

Upcycling, Recycling, and Reusing can divert waste from landfills, reducing both national and global waste levels by keeping items in circulation. These practices transform discarded items into valuable resources, easing landfill burdens and lessening environmental impact.

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