While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had, in the last financial year, set a target to recycle 80% of the city’s waste, it could only touch 3% mark, revealed a civic environment report.
According to BMC Environment Status report of 2015-16, the city generates 30.96 lakh tonnes of trash annually. Of this, the civic body had a target of recycling 24.76 lakh tons in the past year. However, the solid waste management (SWM) department managed to recycle only 74,304 tonnes.
Additionally, the report also identified that the civic body had a target of 100% waste segregation this year but managed to segregate only 27% at their 35 waste segregation centres. Only 30% of the extent of scientific disposal of waste was achieved through the system installed at Kanjurmarg dumping ground.
HT had reported on October 9 that the maximum trash produced by the city includes food waste at 73% and the figures come at a time when housing societies and institutes have been segregating only 5% of its waste (civic body report). The remaining trash ends up choking city dumping grounds, where recurring fires were witnessed earlier this year.
Civic officials said housing societies were flouting norms for mandatory waste segregation as per waste management rules, 2016. As a result less waste was being segregated for recycling purposes.
“The maximum waste sent by housing societies and institutions continues to be mixed (dry and organic waste together). While we have managed to segregate a large amount this year, only little has been returned to industries as raw material,” said a senior civic official from SWM department.
The official added that the department was working on a proposal for levying a penalty on societies sending mixed waste. “Within a year, we will have additional 35 waste segregation centres in Mumbai and begin penalising societies to keep them in check,” said the official.
The city currently produces 8,600 metric tonnes (MT) of waste per day. Of which Deonar dumping ground, the largest, receives approximately 23.50%, Kanjur 35.30% and remaining 41% goes to Mulund, according to BMC.
“The figures are a clear indication that this is not a desirable system and will lead to a garbage crisis, which will become very difficult to solve,” said V Ranganathan, former civic chief. “While there is awareness among the masses, there is a lack of implementation at the basic level. The civic body needs to send separate dumpers for dry and wet waste while citizens need to compost organic waste at open areas such as Shivaji Park, Oval grounds through techniques such as vermiculture.”
“The majority of methane generated, which led to fires earlier this year, comes from decomposition of organic waste. If mixed waste is sent to the dumping ground, the land becomes toxic,” said Jyoti Mhapsekar, president of Sree Mukti Sangathana, an NGO that has successfully initiated six biogas plants in Mumbai.