Proper waste management still a distant dream for Mumbai
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) collects about 9,600 metric tonnes of waste every day and transports it to three dumping sites across the citymumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2016 23:55 IST
Though Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that an integrated waste management system will be implemented in Mumbai, it will be long time before this becomes a reality. An integrated waste management system is a comprehensive programme that includes collection, recycling and disposal of waste.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) collects about 9,600 metric tonnes of waste every day and transports it to three dumping sites across the city. However, only 1,200 metric tonnes of this is segregated into wet and dry waste daily. This, according to waste management experts and officials from solid waste management department, is at the heart of the city’s waste management problems.
Currently, only 3,000 metric tonnes of waste is processed at Kanjurmarg. The BMC want to increase this by 1,000 metric tonnes but the dump’s expansion depends on Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance.
Following the Wednesday’s meeting with officials from the ministry of environment and forests, the BMC said it will issue tenders for the closure of the Mulund dumping ground within 15 days. However, its complete closure, which involves processing existing waste, is likely to take five years after the contracts are awarded.
lso, the BMC is cannot shut down the Deonar landfill immediately and is thus treading slowly. The Deonar dump is the city’s largest – it holds holds 12 million tonnes of waste and subsumes an additional 3,000 metric tonnes of waste daily. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been appointed to study the feasibility building a waste-to-energy plant at the yard. According to the current plan, waste-to-energy conversion will be conducted on 10 to 12 hectares of the 132-hectare dump and the rest of the landfill will be closed in stages.
“To make sure that the city doesn’t face pollution havoc from repeated fires at the dumping ground, we will have to segregate waste and reduce the amount of garbage transported to landfills. Only then can the problem be solved,” said a senior civic official, who did not wish to be named. BMC chief Ajoy Mehta had also said in a press conference last week that the only way to solve the problem is segregating waste at source. However, a status check on this paints a gloomy picture.
In 2012, the BMC had issued a circular stating that by July 2013, it would stop accepting mixed waste and issue legal notices to housing societies that failed to segregate their garbage.
The civic body had also planned long-term measures to ensure 100% segregation, the initial deadline for which was March 2015. A year later, however, the BMC is still discussing measures such as zero-garbage societies. At present, the city has 32 segregation centres and the BMC aims to add 35 more by the end of the year.
The BMC has also planned landfills at Taloja and Airoli. However the sites are already embroiled in controversy, with various political parties opposing the move. And even if all the clearances were in place now, the sites would be only operational by 2019.