The sanitation workers of the Garhwal division have reasons to cheer. The local bodies are planning to give them 40% of the revenue generated from the sale of recycled waste.
Additional commissioner of Garhwal division Harak Singh Rawat has already issued instructions to the administrative officials concerned at a recent meeting in Pauri.
"The purpose is to make the person standing at the bottom-most of garbage collection chain feel encouraged so that the overall waste collection, segregation (into dry, mixed and bio-degradable waste) and disposal increases significantly," said additional commissioner Garhwal division Harak Singh Rawat.
According to Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, the Garhwal region produces at least 600 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day.
The local bodies of Garhwal division -- which encompasses 42 of the state's 78 urban local bodies -- have been asked to create bylaws that ensure sharing of 40% of revenue generated through sale of recycled plastic waste/manure with sanitation workers and 10% with ward supervisors while the rest will go to the respective local body.
"To meet this end, the local bodies have been asked to install composting pits and compactor machines (for recycling plastic) in their areas. Later, marketing of green manure can be done with the help of horticulture and agriculture departments," said Rawat.
A large number of households remain inaccessible to garbage collection vehicles in the hill towns of Uttarakhand, thrusting the entire responsibility of door-to-door garbage collection on sanitation workers who often have to trudge several kilometers uphill to gather garbage. The local bodies have also been asked to levy different amount of user charges (fees collected by municipal bodies in lieu of garbage collection) depending upon the degree of segregation and disposal of waste followed by residents in their areas.
Based on the instructions, officials are now gearing up to begin with the bylaw creation exercise.
Abhinav Kumar, executive officer of Uttarakashi Nagar Palika, which generates around five tonnes of solid waste per day, said the distribution of recycled waste sales among sanitation workers would be implemented soon.
SC Bhatt, executive officer of Gopeshwar Nagar Palika in district Chamoli, which is currently generating around four tonnes of waste per day, said, "Through a compactor machine located in Chamoli, we are able to generate around R 3 to 3.5 lakh every year and we would further try to increase the collection to ensure higher payment to sanitation workers.
Meanwhile, a section of experts said before implementing the ambitious plan, the local bodies should first concentrate on increasing garbage collection in their respective areas.
"The plan would remain unrealistic unless proper infrastructure for increasing waste collection, segregation and actual recycling of waste is focused on," said a specialist in the field of garbage management, who did not wish to be named.