For the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the best way out of the mess of an inefficient waste collection system, as revealed in its pilot study, is to empower citizens using a mix of information and technology.
For the information aspect, the BMC is in talks with citizen groups and advance locality managements (ALM) in the city, urging them to form groups of three or four and conduct regular social audits, or checks, on the waste collection in their wards.
To encourage prompt redressal of complaints and encourage more citizens to participate in these audits, the civic body is contemplating the introduction of new software, on the lines of the pothole tracking system, using which citizens can click post photographs of any anomalies found in the waste collection and send feedback about these services to officials concerned.
These photos could then be directed to officials to take remedial action, within a stipulated time.
The BMC is also planning to ask lower-level civic officials to take photographs of waste being picked up.
“We plan to ask both the contractors and civic officials to take photos so that we have proof of trash being collected,” said Prakash Patil, deputy municipal commissioner, solid waste management.
The civic body will also make public the information on waste collection schedules.
“Each ward has been instructed to have a fixed schedule with details of vehicles going to each locality, timings of the trips, and the number of trips that will be made. The schedule will most probably be uploaded on our website,” said a senior civic official.
Activist Bhaskar Prabhu, who has been a proponent of social audits in the city, has been roped in for the project.
Prabhu said, “Citizens are paying for this service and it’s prudent that they get an opportunity to check and give their feedback on the service.”