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Mizoram on India’s road to become cleanest

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The Mizo, in general, have been quite aware of sanitation and cleanliness. In fact, it has been maintained that there has not been any incidence of manual scavenging in Mizoram, writes Lalmuansanga Ralte, Under Secretary in the Government of Mizoram, Department of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation for Elets News Network (ENN).

Hygiene and healthy living have been the hallmarks by which Mizo society has been known for many years now. Since 1977, Faina Hapta also known as cleanliness week has been observed in Mizoram in celebration of Gandhi Jayanti. When Swachh Bharat Mission was launched in 2014, it was received with much delight as the Mission would certainly address many problems and challenges in funding. The Mizoram Cleanliness Week is usually kicked off on 2nd October every year, and during the ensuing one week period various sanitation and cleanliness activities are carried out by all localities across the length and breadth of Mizoram. Sometimes, town-wise or city-wise sanitation work is organised under the aegis of the respective District Administration or the Civil Sub-Division Administration. Individual localities also do partake in this cleanliness and sanitation activities by cleaning their localities. During the Cleanliness Week, district level and town level competitions in cleanliness are held wherein the districts and towns compete against one another to be the cleanest town.

In 2017 Cleanliness Week Competition, Biate town, situated in the eastern part of Mizoram, was declared as the cleanest town in Mizoram. As evident in the forgoing paragraphs, the State Government of Mizoram lays emphasis on sanitation and cleanliness, and is keen on making Mizoram among the first states to become an Open Defecation Free State. With the combined efforts of the Government, NGOs and general public, community garbage are, by and large collected and disposed of in designated locations.

At present the system of disposal available is only open dumping. However, the State Government is taking steps to put in place scientific waste management systems. Presently, construction of Solid Waste Management Resource Centre at Aizawl, a project under Asian Development Bank assistance is underway. Here, wastes will be segregated at source. As part of the project, 54 solid waste management vehicles have already been procured and handed over to the Aizawl Municipal Corporation for collection and disposal of municipal wastes in Aizawl. Apart from this, Solid Waste Management Centre at Kolasib funded under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) is also underway and is expected to be completed within this fiscal year. Another solid waste management project for Lunglei, the second capital of Mizoram has also been approved and sanctioned by the Central Government recently.

In recent years, Mizoram has gained recognition in the country in matters funded project the Government has initiated piloting of waste segregation and composting of green wastes in five localities (out of 83 Localities) in Aizawl from 2014. Wastes are segregated and green wastes are composed at Lengpui (30 kms away from Aizawl City) in collaboration with Vermizo, a private firm. This experiment has been found quite successful in the city. Another important initiative is the grants given by the Government to three institutions viz., Pachhunga University College, Aizawl; Higher and Technical Institute of Mizoram, Lunglei; Aizawl Theological College (ATC), Durtlang, Aizawl; and Academy of Integrated Christian Studies (AICS), Tanhril, Aizawl for setting up of Zero Waste Management Project within their campuses. The concept here is that these institutions will implement these projects, and all wastes produced within their campus will be disposed of within the campuses only and no waste is to be transported outside for disposal.

If these projects prove successful, the same will be replicated in other localities as well. When we say that Mizoram is a relatively clean State, it does not mean that the State is complacent with its position. In fact, it still has a long way to go. There needs to be scientific management centres in very district and towns. The State Government is presently putting its focus to becoming the cleanest State in the country before the Swachh Bharat Mission period comes to an end. relating to sanitation and cleanliness. It may be stated that in 2015, Aizawl has secured the ninth position in being the cleanest city among capital cities in India. In addition to this, Mizoram has also been ranked the 35th position among 476 cities across the nation. Besides what has been mentioned, Mizoram has garnered accolades such as Skoch Award in 2015 for submission of its entry on Sanitation Through Public Participation and HUDCO Award for Best Practices in Sanitation.

In order for Aizawl to be clean, there was a felt need to put in place garbage bins so that people would not litter in the streets. At the same time, the general sense of awareness is worthy of mention as littering and dumping of garbage in public places is relatively minimal. Under the aegis of the Public Health Engineering Department, villages have Water and Sanitation Committees under the umbrella of the village councils. In Aizawl, Sanitation Committees are formed under the umbrella of the local councils. These committees are supported to take up various sanitation activities, including collection of fees, organising social/voluntary works for cleaning of streets. As the State Government is serious in making Mizoram a clean State, it acknowledges the pressing need to have systematic approach to urban sanitation in the State. Therefore, in the year 2011, the Government of Mizoram had notified a policy on solid waste management namely, the Mizoram Urban Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Policy, 2011 which lays down objectives and guiding principles in management of wastes by the State Government and its agencies in the State.

The State Government has initiated various measures for treatment of wastes. Apart from Aizawl, it has acquired suitable plots of land in Lunglei town, Champhai town, Kolasib town and Serchhip town for setting up of waste management centres.

Under its Asian Development Bank funded project the Government has initiated piloting of waste segregation and composting of green wastes in five localities (out of 83 Localities) in Aizawl from 2014. Wastes are segregated and green wastes are composed at Lengpui (30 kms away from Aizawl City) in collaboration with Vermizo, a private firm. This experiment has been found quite successful in the city. Another important initiative is the grants given by the Government to three institutions viz., Pachhunga University College, Aizawl; Higher and Technical Institute of Mizoram, Lunglei; Aizawl Theological College (ATC), Durtlang, Aizawl; and Academy of Integrated Christian Studies (AICS), Tanhril, Aizawl for setting up of Zero Waste Management Project within their campuses. The concept here is that these institutions will implement these projects, and all wastes produced within their campus will be disposed of within the campuses only and no waste is to be transported outside for disposal. If these projects prove successful, the same will be replicated in other localities as well.

When we say that Mizoram is a relatively clean State, it does not mean that the State is complacent with its position. In fact, it still has a long way to go. There needs to be scientific management centres in very district and towns. The State Government is presently putting its focus to becoming the cleanest State in the country before the Swachh Bharat Mission period comes to an end.

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