While a civic law makes it compulsory for citizens to segregate garbage, the civic body does not have enough vehicles to collect the dry waste that is generated because of it.
In the past seven months, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not been plying dry waste collection vehicles in 12 of the 24 wards in the city, because their yearly contracts have not been renewed.
After the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000 and the bye laws of 2006 were adopted by the BMC, it had decided to provide one dry waste collection vehicle for each of the 24 wards.
These vehicles would then make trips to every building in the ward and collect dry waste once or twice every week, depending on the extent to which dry, recyclable waste had been segregated there.
“It is unfortunate that the practice of segregation among citizens is dying. This apathy, combined with the neglect of the administration is only benefitting the contractors in charge of dumping grounds as they get paid for every tonne of waste that is thrown at the disposal site,” said an official from the BMC’s solid waste management department, on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
To ensure that there is house-to-house collection of dry waste, the civic body had tied up with five not-for-profits that would collect dry waste from households, sort through it further at designated dry waste sorting and storage centres and sell it to recyclers.
Many advanced locality managements (ALMs) and civic activists have also been complaining that the civic body lacks the infrastructure
to enforce segregation among citizens.
“That dry waste collection vehicles have not been plying shows that the BMC lacks infrastructure. Then why does it even bring in the concept of mandatory segregation at source?” said James John, Andheri-based civic activist.
But officials and activists said the whole system is flawed and both citizens and the civic body are as to blame for the mess.
“When citizens have the right to demand cleanliness from the civic body, they also have a duty. Citizens must ensure they adhere rules on segregation of dry and wet waste,” said Indrani Malkani, ALM ward coordinator for D ward.