June 2017

Sustaining Integrated Solid Waste Management Initiatives

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Raghu Ram
Consultant
Swachh Bharat Mission

Community participation has a direct bearing on efficient solid waste, yet the municipal authorities have failed to mobilise the community and educate citizens on rudiments of handling waste and proper practices of storing it in their own bins at the household, shop and establishment level, write Raghu Ram and Madhu Sri, Consultants, Swachh Bharat Mission.

Hyderabad has a population of 8.6 million people which generates about 4,500 metric tonnes of waste per day (MTP), covering 21-lakh households’ door to door and commercial area with 2,000 Swachh Auto tippers and 600 tricycles.

In the same time, about 3,300 MTP waste was generated last year. Due to recent initiatives, solid waste collection has improved by 26 per cent compared to last year. The increase in collection of waste is triggered by various innovative ideas that motivated the sanitation staff, administrative staff and public to work for sanitary practices for the novel idea of Swachh Hyderabad and Swachh Bharat.

Solid Waste Management (SWM) is one among the basic essential services provided by municipal authorities in the country to keep urban centres clean. However, SWM is a poorly rendered service in majority of the municipalities in India.

Waste is littered all over leading to unsanitary living conditions. Municipal laws governing the urban local bodies do not have adequate provisions to deal effectively with the ever-growing problem of solid waste management.

“If any part of the street in a colony is not cleaned, the citizens can reach out to the concerned sanitation workers and have a dialogue for cleaning the area on priority basis. This kind of collaboration has worked for inclusive participation and overall development of the area.”

The urban population has grown fivefold in last six decades, with 31.6 per cent people living in urban areas as per the 2011 census. Per capita waste generation ranges between 0.2 kg and 0.6 kg per day in the Indian cities amounting to about 1.15 lakh MT of waste per day and 62 million MT annually.

Due to use of more packaging material in urban cities, per capita waste generation is increasing by about 1.6 per cent per year. With the urban population growing at 2.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent per annum, the yearly increase in the overall quantity of solid waste in the cities will be more than six per cent.

Community participation has a direct bearing on efficient solid waste, yet the municipal authorities have failed to mobilise the community and educate citizens on the rudiments of handling waste and proper practices of storing it in their own bins at the household, shop and establishment level.

In the absence of a basic facility of collection of waste from source, citizens are prone to dumping waste on the streets, open spaces, drains, and water bodies in the vicinity, creating unsanitary conditions. Citizens assume that waste thrown on streets would be picked up by the municipality through street sweeping. This mindset is primarily responsible for the unscientific systems of waste management in the country.

Reasons of bad waste management:

  • Lack of public awareness, motivation, and education
  • Lack of wide publicity through electronic and print media

Resistance to change:

  • Difficulty educating slum dwellers
  • Lack of sufficient knowledge on benefits of segregation
  • Unwillingness on part of citizens to spend on separate bin for recyclables

Elimination of Garbage Vulnerable Points

  • GHMC has taken various initiatives for the elimination of Garbage Vulnerable Points (GVPs), the process implemented for the collection of solid waste starts from a household level. This is the key and the crucial step for the end results to be effectively workable.
  • The need for segregation of waste is taken into practice by individuals and the government, so as to make the mission functional. The mismanagement and the comfort methods by individuals have led to GVPs.
  • Thus, the collection of dry waste (the waste that has been stored over period of time due to the lack of proper and guided disposal) is a good step to move ahead. Cleaning of GVP is costing Rs 300-500 at a location but after cleaning, the place is again acclimated with the garbage then the real motive is not resolved.
  • To overcome this problem, behavioural change of the citizens has to be addressed along with capacity to deal with factors influencing garbage generation. The systematic approach for removal of Vulnerable Garbage Point is a novel idea for upkeeping the city sanitation by duly involving the people in the activity.
  • Many VGPs are 10 to 15 years old tell the factual scenario of the area. Due to the initiative by the civic administration, VGPs were not only cleaned and removed from the area but also city beautification movement started with the help of the sanitation staff and local elected representatives, Residential Welfare Associations, NGOs etc.
  • Due to this act, people ownership has started which has prevented the open littering resulting in more efficient system to check the public hygiene.

Parichayam

  • Parichayam is an initiative honouring the sanitation worker, with officials and citizens extending the hand of friendship to all municipal workers.
  • Parichyam — knowing each other or making gesture of friendship with the sanitation workers — is an innovative programme conceptualised and designed by B Janardhan Reddy, Commissioner, GHMC, to facilitate the knowledge of sanitation workers details in local ward/street level, by passing the contact information of sanitation workers to the citizens.
  • This establishes a relation of knowing and owning the sanitation workers responsible for in cleaning the area and making the place better.
  • The idea of decentralising the work and engaging the citizens in decision making has won hearts of citizens and motivated the workers thus leading towards a holistic approach towards sanitation in the city.
  • Name and contact details of the sanitation workers hierarchy wise are written on all major street nodes where citizens can easily reach out.
  • A small programme is organised in RWAs to introduce the staff. If any part of the street in a colony is not cleaned, the citizens can reach out to the concerned sanitation workers and have a dialogue for cleaning the area on priority basis.
  • This kind of collaboration has worked for inclusive participation and overall development of the area.

Good Practices Day

  • Well performing GHMC staff, sanitation workers, NGOs, etc, are honoured by the Commissioner, on good practices day conducted in GHMC office on the first Saturday of every month.
  • Best performing employees are honoured through a shawl and flowers and in few instances, elected representative who presides the event, gives away cash price to the workers. This initiative under new public management has proved very effective to motivate the staff.

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