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News and Resources

Greening Mumbai: Debris to Development

News and Resources

By Marc Aguanno

Rooftops Canada has been supporting an unusual project in Mumbai, India. The CIDCO-YUVA Building Centre is a joint initiative set up by Rooftops Canada’s partner, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), and the City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). The Centre recycles construction waste – reclaiming what was seemingly useless debris in a cost-effective and sustainable program.
The CIDCO-YUVA Building Centre has been successfully picking up construction waste – including brick, mortar, masonry and ceramic tiles – for a small fee. The debris is sorted, crushed and turned into new paving stones, bricks and mortar. The Centre has created jobs in its recycling of old debris from construction sites and building demolitions and renovations, and its success has led to recognition by the City.  
The Indian brick industry, which is the second largest producer in the world next to China, consumes more than 24 million tons of coal annually. While the government has been emphasizing the use of more efficient kilns to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, it also realizes that efficiency alone will not solve the problem. In response, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has extended a call to the international engineering community to design, construct and manage a 500-ton per day construction and demolition (C&D) waste recycling facility for the city. The ultimate goal of the project is to substitute a portion of clay brick production with recycled material collected from the overwhelming amounts of C&D waste produced in the city each day.
The CIDCO-YUVA Building Centre has been approached by the City to help in this ambitious undertaking. A plant of this size has never been constructed in the country and will also require the experience of international partners to carry it out effectively. The Indian construction industry remains unconvinced about recycling technology. This project is therefore an important opportunity to demonstrate that alternative methods not only function just as well as traditional practices but offer significant benefits for the environment and people of India. With an estimated one year remaining until landfill space in Mumbai is completely gone, the new large-scale recycling facility is urgently needed.
Rooftops Canada is committed to support the CIDCO-YUVA Building Centre meet this challenge by providing technical support.
Marc Aguanno is a 2010 Rooftops Canada intern who was placed in the CIDCO-YUVA Building Centre.