Activists and waste management experts are not surprised that the civic body has now accepted that it can’t force citizens to segregate, and will try and process mixed waste.
Insiders said powerful lobbies behind the city’s collection and disposal system stand to benefit if there is no segregation.
An insider in the solid waste management department explains: “The collection contractor gets to make extra trips if there is more garbage and thus he earns more.
Then at the dumping ground, the contractors charge us according to the weight of the garbage. The more the weight, the more they earn.”
A member of the ragpicker organisation, which works with the BMC to segregate waste, said, “It is in the BMC and contractors’ interests if the waste isn’t segregated at the source. Lobbies of contractors earn, but ragpicker organisations lose out since the BMC doesn’t organise efforts for us to segregate waste.”
It’s not just this alone. Even waste management experts believe that treating mixed waste is technically not a practical idea. “They [the civic body officials] are flouting Supreme Court norms, which have clearly said that segregation at source is compulsory. The BMC is playing games with the environment. They are not looking at the right options,” said Rajkumar Sharma, waste management expert and activist working to promote composting. Sharma added: “A municipal corporation that encourages non-segregation and treating mixed waste should be ashamed of itself.”
A waste management consultant, who did not wish to be named, said, “Dry waste is very rich and its constituents can be used to great financial benefits. Of the total waste generated in the city, nearly 30% is dry. Imagine the money that can be earned and the resources that can be saved if this dry waste is segregated at source.
However, the BMC has got its priorities wrong and hence, doesn’t look at encouraging segregation.”