Picture this: The city generates 10,500 metric tonnes of garbage everyday. But only 525 metric tonnes —that’s 5% — of that waste from housing societies is segregated and less than 2% of them carry out composting.
According to a report by the civic body’s solid waste management (SWM) department, only 14,000 of an approximate 2,65,000 housing societies, buildings and gated complexes across the city’s 24 wards segregate waste.
Recurring fires at the city’s dumping grounds were caused by the unsegregated toxic garbage catching fire owing to a high methane content. Apart from a host of pollutants released in the air when mixed garbage burns, the dark liquid produced when waste gets decomposed along with rainwater penetration, leaches into the soil and can contaminate ground water – a source of drinking water – and surface water. “There are still a lot of apprehensions regarding segregating waste in Mumbai. Citizens are not seeing this as a responsibility of dealing with their own waste and hence mixed garbage is being collected at dumping grounds,” said a senior official, SWM department.
“Even after door-to-door collection of dry and wet waste is being provided through separate bins, most societies are collecting all their waste in only one bin,” said the official.
The official added that a total of 276 advance locality managements (ALM) across the city have been sensitised about waste management, biomethanation, vermicomposting and benefits of biogas.
“Even after conducting several awareness drives under such initiatives, citizens continue to ignore even basic segregation,” he said.
On the other hand, the report suggested that 25% of the slum settlements were segregating waste at the source. “While carrying out our survey for waste management at slums, we found that more than 500 slum settlements are doing door-to-door collection and two-bin separation out of 1,959. We also found that 90 slums settlements are carrying out composting,” said Subhash Dalvi, chief nodal officer, Swachh Mumbai Prabhodan Abhiya, a project under BMC.