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Circular Bhubaneswar - The Temple City

Bhubaneswar, a temple town till 1948, became the capital city of Odisha State in 1949. One of modern and independent India’s planned city designed by the German Architect Otto Koenigsberger Bhubaneswar experienced several changes in its physical form and composition through its journey of becoming a Smart City in 2016 from a Temple Town.

Circular Bhubaneswar - The Temple City

Due to rapid urbanization and increasing population, Bhubaneswar’s demand is increasing continuously against a backdrop of resource constraints. Designed for a population of 40,000 the city has a population of 1,163,000 at present which is expected to become 1,515,000 by 2030. To meet the changing needs city is expected to intensify resource requirements which result in the generation of waste due to the linear approach in consumptions.


Vehicle ownership in the city increased to 1.40 m in 2019 from 26,244 in 2001. Vehicular growth not solely contributes to congestion in the city but additionally will increase the demand for petroleum-based fuel, which includes gasoline and diesel.

520 tons (500gm/day/capita) of Municipal solid waste is generated per day in Bhubaneswar. The collected waste is merely 70% of total waste generation and therefore the remaining is lost in the urban environment. No source segregation facility prevails in the city. A city that generates more than 500 tonnes of garbage daily does not have a proper waste disposal system. BMC spends between Rs 500 to Rs 1500 on the collection of solid waste per tonnage. About 60 to 70% of total expenditure is spent on collection alone, 20% to 30% on transportation, and less than 5% on treatment and disposal.

Food waste contributes to 26.63% of the city waste which is directly thrown into the bins. According to Local Governance Network, Bhubaneswar wastes 28,760 tonnes of quality food in its restaurants, informal food joints, social gatherings, and households annually (would be around Rs. 40 lakh). A survey conducted by LGN "About 15-20 items are served in social functions while around 5-8 items in temples. The maximum items wasted include roti, salads, rice, vegetable and some non-vegetarian items making it around 75-125 grams loss in each meal served" the survey had identified.

The groundwater sources are open and tube well. The total water supply in the city amount to 260.78 Million liters daily (MLD) i.e. 209 MLD Freshwater 56.9 MLD Groundwater, the water loss is 40% due to leakage. In 2005, 182 MLD of water is daily supplied to the city, out of which 145.6MLD sewage is generated which is 80% of the total water supplied. 54.78% of the total of 90 MLD sewage generations is flowing through storm drains. An amount of 49.3MLD black water is conveyed through open drains in absence of STP (dispose to the lake, ponds, and river Daya).

The increasing urban heat island effect in Bhubaneswar recorded 42°C temperature in April 2020 this year, which is highest in the State. This leads to high energy consumption at the building level. The city receives around 1500 mm of rainfall a year, but the number of rainy days has been decreased from 70-82 days to 60 days


Bhubaneswar is investing in long-term infrastructure to improve citizens’ quality of life, through the Smart Cities Mission; it could incorporate circular economy principles to meet the needs of expanding cities. Smart and circular cities can integrate different factors viz. economic, environmental, and social amicably for a balanced development trajectory and become resource-efficient. Resource-efficiency initiatives may increase competitiveness, secure growth, and jobs, enable innovation, reduce resource requirements, and allow improved access to resources.


About the Authors

Sonika Sehrawat (LinkedIn) is an architect and urban design enthusiast with interest in sustainable urbanism, accessible and walkable neighbourhood planning, child-friendly urban spaces.

Piyush Dhawan (LinkedIn) is the Cofounder of the Circular Collective was awarded the prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship last year to work on the topic of Circular Economy. He has for the past decade been working with Bilaterals and Multilaterals on a range of topics including business and biodiversity, Vision 2030 for Haryana and Future of Indian Cities. 

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