Dr. Padma Srinivasan
Visiting Faculty
ICFAI Business School


The hotels of India have woken to the global call for waste management issues, finally. The WM issue has gained attention recently due to multitude of reasons. Few of them could be:

    * Global tourists in increased numbers have visited India. Their cleanliness standards & requirements are perceived to be higher.
    * Eco consciousness and local clearances have insisted on better waste disposal system.
    * Local NGO teams have started working in this direction significantly
    * Approvals of the State Tourism Development Corporations are based on these WM systems and so forth.

Needs for Better waste management system:

Can we think of staying on a railway platform on business? Don't we inspect the cleanliness of the room when we check in? Can we enjoy staying in a room when the tap leaks in a wash basin? Can we stay in a room with a trash can overflowing?

But who would turn away from lustrous, picturesque and vast landscape, with a cool drink, when a soft music is played for background? It sounds heavenly after a day of strenuous work. Who would not  stop to take a deep breath when the clean, musty smells of garden greet you with a breeze?

Considering both the small questioning paras above, the waste management seems a logical choice for cost management.

WM mandate:

Every business with the global ambitions in the multi dimensional, volatile atmosphere has to introspect its strategies taking into consideration the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The hotel industry also tags along the line and has to undertake smart and innovative moves to woo its clientele who expect best possible service at competitive rates. We can understand the serious concern the waste management poses for on and all from the proceedings of the Parliament  recently:

Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2585. Answered on 16.8.2004
Five Star Eco-Hotels, CAT-48. 2585. Shri Kailash Baitha:
Will the Minister of Tourism be pleased to state:
(a) the details of five star Eco-hotels in Delhi / New Delhi along with locations;
(b) whether operation of a five star hotel comes under the purview of industrial activities; and
(c) if so, the details thereof?


Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge)
(Smt. Renuka Chowdhury)

(a) Under the Guidelines of the Department of Tourism, Government of India for classification of hotels, there is no category of five star Eco-hotels. However, all categories of hotels including 5-star in the country are required to observe eco-friendly practices like energy conservation, water conservation, waste management, discouraging plastic and facilities for physically challenged persons etc.

(b) and (c) : All hotels including 5-star in the country are regulated by the rules, regulations and laws of the concerned State Government and Central Government.


The term WM  (waste management) is the

  • Administration of the reduction, collection, separation, storage, transportation, transfer, processing, treatment and disposal of wastes. 
  • The reduction in the excessive use or raw materials and water & the reuse/recycling of wastes.
  • Process of dealing with waste.
  • Handling, treatment, storage and disposal of waste products.

The factors leading to optimum resource utilization and waste reduction could be:

1. Thematic Missions: The Hotels may be created as an Ecotel or as a Adventure tourism theme. Then the firm orients itself as the optimal user of all resources reducing waste where ever, how ever and when ever possible.

2. Flexing to the Global web: The MNCs or the foreign investors normally puts a covenant in their franchising deed that the environmental clearances have been obtained from the appropriate authority and waste management system and processes are in place. So also when a international firm, eyes Indian hotels for acquisition or for co branding or a merger, they tend to pin on such clearances and systems.

3. Legal Implications: All the Governmental clearances and statutory licenses are obtainable only after the anti-pollution programs of the hotel are implemented. To receive these without prior approvals have serious consequences. (both civil & criminal).

4. Risk Frontier: The Hotels will have a tough time during inspections of different Officers like that of Inspectors of Food and Essential commodities, Usage of artificial flavors, chemicals for preservation, colorants etc.

5. Poulation Migration: Developing countries, such as India, are undergoing a massive migration of their population from rural to urban centers. New consumption patterns and social linkages are emerging. India, will have more than 40 per cent, i.e. over 400 million people clustered in cities over the next thirty years (UN, 1995). Modern urban living brings on the problem of waste, which increases in quantity, and changes in composition with each passing day.

6. Usage of synthetic fertilizers & other radical shifts in farming: India's Green Revolution rescued the nation from famines, but left over 11.6 million hectares of low-productivity, nutrient-depleted soils ruined by unbalanced and excessive use of synthetic fertilizers and lack of organic manure or micronutrients. City compost can fill this need and solve both the problems of barren land and organic nutrient shortages estimated at six million tons a year.


    * Close taps after use
    * Switch of lights and fans before leaving the room
    * Use car pool whenever possible
    * Use recycled paper etc.
    * Reduce the usage of lights
    * Us paper bags please…
    * Strictly NO SMOKING…..
    * Use lifts only for ascending the stairs and so on so forth.


So wastage of resources in any form has to be discouraged in hotels. A well-defined clear policy on managing resources using waste reduction techniques and processes in hotels and quicker implementation of such plans will assure the financial well being of the hotel for long time to come. This kind of cost reduction will lead to positive changes in the operating style of hotels and, in the due course, on the profits too.

Dr. Padma Srinivasan
Visiting Faculty
ICFAI Business School

Source : E-mail December 1, 2004




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