Notes by Narsi
If you are a keen observer of the Indian climate startup scene (like I am), you would have come across quite a few interesting startups in the solid waste management space.
Recyckal, Phool, Bio-lutions, Bioprime Agri Solutions, Craste...
But if I ask you to name startups in the waste water treatment sector, I will be surprised if you are able to come up with any at all, at brief notice.
Because there aren't too many startups in the liquid waste management sector in India.
The reasons are not difficult to see - unlike solid waste, liquid waste be it sewage waste or industrial waste water, are difficult to access. And it is even more difficult to recover value from these.
And unlike the solid waste management sector, the liquid waste (especially industrial waste water) has been regulated for a few decades now, and thus has many incumbents providing solutions. While many of the solutions provided today are not exactly sustainable, and nor do many come with low carbon footprints, it will be difficult for startups with more sustainable solutions to dislodge them because industries care more about abiding by regulations (must do) than lowering carbon footprint (nice to do).
While there are a few successful sustainable and low carbon waste water treatment startups like EcoSTP, you will have to hunt hard to find many more. Is this any surprise in the light of what I have said above?