Four months on, garbage segregation at source still not doable for Delhi residents | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Four months on, garbage segregation at source still not doable for Delhi residents

The north and east Delhi civic bodies had launched the waste segregation at source project at 10 selected neighbourhoods on the occasion of World Environment Day. The objective was to encourage people to sort out their domestic trash

delhi Updated: Oct 02, 2017 16:12 IST
Vibha Sharma & Snehal Tripathi
Residents in some Delhi localities complained that the campaign to segregate ran out of steam in the absence required monitoring and follow up by municipal officials.
Residents in some Delhi localities complained that the campaign to segregate ran out of steam in the absence required monitoring and follow up by municipal officials. (Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

The ambitious waste segregation at source programme launched by the civic bodies in Delhi has failed to yield desire results.

The initiative launched around four months ago has done very little to change the situation on the ground with the municipal corporations pursuing the programme half-heartedly.

Residents complained that the campaign ran out of steam in the absence required monitoring and follow up by officials.

The north and east Delhi civic bodies had launched the waste segregation at source project at 10 selected neighbourhoods on the occasion of World Environment Day (June 5). The objective was to encourage people to sort out their domestic trash.

The project was aimed at creation of model colonies, which could be showcased before officials went full-throttle on the implementation of the Centre’s Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The agencies were supposed to run awareness drives, distribute bins, and engage vehicles with separate cabins for collecting bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste.

However, four months later, residents in the areas selected for the drive — Minto Road, Pushpanjali Enclave, New Rajendra Nagar, Shakti Nagar, Vivekananda colony Indira Colony, Dilshad Garden, Preet Vihar, Loni Road DDA flats and Jhilmil — continue to dump waste without segregating them. The civic bodies have also not been able to procure enough vehicles or finalise plans for disposing segregated waste.

Experts blamed lack of clarity, arrangements, and clear cut policy as some of the reasons for the poor results.

Poor co-ordination

The project began with a series of introductory workshops educating people about the relevance of segregation of waste.

“But after two interactions, the north municipal officials became inaccessible. Most of the vehicles coming to collect dry and wet waste separately disappeared too,” said Kumari Pankaj Sharma, RWA vice president of Vivekanandpuri.

Residents further claimed that the sanitation workers coming to collect garbage don’t help them in emptying the contents of the garbage bins into the vehicles (tippers).

“The height of the tipper is too much for me to reach it. Half the garbage falls on the road, while I try emptying the contents on to the tippers. Once inside, the dry and wet waste gets mixed. Then what’s the point of segregating garbage at homes?” said Beena Aggrawal, a homemaker based in Shakti Nagar.

The RWA members of Pocket A and B of Dilshad Garden (east Delhi) had approached the area councillors last month to complain about similar issues.

“There were loopholes in the project. That’s why I instructed the RWAs not to distribute separate bins in Dilshad Garden and DDA Flat, Loni Road area,” said Bir Singh Pawar, chairman, DEMS committee, EDMC.

Officials, however, refuted Pawar’s claim. “We explained the concept of composting to the residents. With a little effort, they can dispose their wet waste within neighbourhood parks. But people want assistance at each step, which is impossible,” said the EDMC official.

Half-hearted effort

At the launch of the segregation project, the north and east municipalities had distributed 6,000 blue and green bins in residential and commercial areas for keeping dry and wet waste, separately.

In Preet Vihar, 600 such containers were given to shopkeepers and residents, officials said. But Hindustan Times failed to locate bins any blue or green bins in most of the places it visited.

“How can you find the green and blue bins when these were not distributed by the department at all,” said Gulfam Qureshi, a resident of G block of Preet Vihar.

Ashok Kumar, president A Block market association, Preet Vihar, said, “Five months ago, only green dustbins were given to shopkeepers and they are still using it. No segregation is happening in the market.”

EDMC officials, however, said that there are 40 lakh people living in east Delhi and it is impossible to provide bins to every household.

“Residents have to understand that segregation is their moral responsibility and buying dustbins won’t need major investment. In any case, once the Solid Waste Management rules are notified in the next two weeks, we will start imposing penalty on defaulters,” said a senior east corporation official.

At New Rajinder Nagar, only 100 bins were distributed in the neighbourhood, which is very less compared to the number of households, said residents.

Ashok Kumar Uppal (69), a New Rajinder Nagar resident said, “My house has three floors. But we got bins only for the ground floor. What will the other people do,” said Uppal.

A senior north corporation official denied the claim. “We visited all the houses and distributed bins. However, the final report about percentage of segregation happening in city still need to be collected,” he said.

Need for awareness

Most of the people in Vivekanandpuri and Shakti Nagar areas were not aware about the use of two dustbins supposed to be given by the civic body.

“Ek dabba kaafi hai kachra rakhne ke liye… Do dabbon ka kya karenge? (One garbage bin is enough for keeping waste. Two bins are not needed),” said Preeti Singh (38), a homemaker from Vivekanandpuri. Singh is using the second dustbin for growing plants.

For many residents, the second bin was “extra” and was put to purposes other than storing waste.

“The municipal corporation distributed some pamphlets about Solid Waste Management rules and composting at home. But who has time to do that on a daily basis,” said another resident.

Experts blamed civic authorities for the neglect. “Even after the third year of its launch, the purpose of Swachh Bharat is not clear to officials. Unless they carry out repeated awareness drives and engage waste pickers in segregation programmes things are not going to change. They have to make people understand that money can be generated out of trash and incidents like Ghazipur can be checked if waste is segregated properly,” said Chitra Mukherjee, head of programme, at social organisation Chintan.

Project never took off

Due to lack of resources areas such as Jhilmil and DDA flat (Loni Road) have dropped from the project’s list.

In their place, the east corporation decided to start segregation activity at Vasundhara Enclave and Mayur Vihar.

“The representatives of NGO have conducted awareness drives. We will soon sign a memorandum of understanding with them to formally start the programme, including starting composting in the area,” said Vivek Pandey, additional commissioner of east corporation.

Policy on waste segregation

The east corporation now is planning to engage a concessionaire who will be responsible for collection and disposal of waste till end. “We are also in the process of engaging NGOs that would encourage people to segregate waste,” said Pandey.

But Swati Sambhyal, programme manager at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that nothing will change unless there would be a clear cut policy on waste disposal.

“Transferring the responsibility on a concessionaire will only deteriorate the situation. We can take the example of the poor quality of city compost generated at plants in the city. The compost consists metal, plastic and other harmful material because even at the landfill, segregation is not done properly,” she said.

According to her, the civic agencies should convert the 2,100 dhalaos in city into processing units and use the skill of waste pickers in segregating waste again.