Stray Dogs And Poor Waste Management


  • Population growth in Indian cities has resulted in an alarming increase in solid garbage. Every day, Indian cities generate around 150,000 metric tonnes of urban solid trash.
  • Cities have also seen significant growth in the stray dog population, which stood at around 1.5 crores in the official 2019 livestock census. However, independent estimates place the figure at around 6.2 crore. Between 2012 and 2020, the number of dog bites more than doubled.
  • While there is no evidence that a growing population and municipal waste directly caused an increase in dog bites, experts agree there may be a link between urbanisation and solid waste production that is visible due to waste disposal mismanagement.

Points to Ponder:

  • The growing population of stray dogs in cities is linked to poor garbage management, which results in the availability of food and shelter for dogs. Due to feeding opportunities, they tend to congregate around urban dumps and landfills.
  • Every day, Indian cities generate around 150,000 metric tonnes of urban solid trash. According to a United Nations Environment Programme 2021 report, 931 million tonnes of food supplied to customers ended up in the dumpsters of families, restaurants, vendors, and other food service providers in 2019. This garbage is frequently used as a source of food for roaming, hungry dogs.
  • The substantial growth in the stray dog population has been attributed to urbanisation. The official 2019 livestock census in India predicted 1.5 crores of stray dogs, whereas independent estimates put the figure closer to 6.2 crores. Between 2012 and 2020, the frequency of dog bites more than doubled, with India having the greatest rabies burden in the world, accounting for one-third of all rabies deaths worldwide.
  • A 2015 research of ten Indian metropolises discovered a substantial relationship between the human population, the amount of municipal and food waste generated, and the number of stray dogs in the cities. It contended that urbanisation and the existing development paradigm foster urban sprawl, slums, and inequalities and that solid waste management has become a serious task.
  • The majority of landfills and dumping sites are located on the outskirts of cities, among slums and settlement colonies. As a result, the disproportionate burden of dog bites may fall on those living in urban slums. A 2016 study indicated that the prevalence of dog bites was higher in urban slums, which were typically located near dumping sites, than in rural slums.
  • India’s solution to the stray dog problem has focused on the Animal Birth Control (ABC) project, in which municipal governments trap, sterilise, and release canines in order to reduce the dog population. The second pillar was rabies control, which included vaccine drives. However, implementation is hampered by a lack of understanding about the health consequences of dog bites, an irregular supply of vaccines, a delay in seeking treatment, and a lack of national policy.
  • Housing and sanitation policies that address the main causes of the stray dog problem, such as inadequate waste management, urbanisation, and a lack of affordable housing, can help to manage the stray dog problem. Proper waste management, combined with animal birth control schemes and enough rescue centres, can help decrease the stray dog population and reduce the number of dog bites.