HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Let’s end this separation anxiety and manage waste responsibly
More flexibility, friendliness, politeness needed
For the success of the waste segregation system, the administration must educate the residents about the importance of managing waste by organising door to door visits of officials. Garbage collectors should be trained in social skills to engage with the residents politely. A large chunk of Chandigarh’s population comprises senior citizens and the collectors must help them segregate waste and pick it up. Independent garbage collectors must be adjusted in the system to enable them to earn a livelihood. Collection charges should be economical so that everyone can welcome the new changes.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Put collection vehicles to optimum use
Determination is the key to success. The municipal corporation (MC) should not spend on new vehicles if these are not put to optimum use. The collectors are the ones who should be motivated to clean up the city and workshops should be organised for them on waste management, especially making the distinction between dry and wet waste. The public should be informed about this new policy and fines should not be immediately collected from them for non segregation. MC must give up the idea of collecting revenues baselessly. With the right guidance the residents will cooperate in segregating waste.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar
Only sustained efforts will work
Collection vehicles amount to a tiny step in the whole waste management process in the city. As proposed, all garbage: Wet, dry and that containing chemicals will be collected from people’s doorsteps. But where will all of it end up? Do we have an efficient working garbage processing plant in the city to process it daily? The local administration and MC officials were on the warpath over the performance of a garbage processing plant at Dadumajra, which was almost two decades old and performing far below its guaranteed performance parameters. The newly appointed consultants have written off that plant and advised the administration to add a new unit. However, the MC has taken over that under performing unit and is now in litigation with the private promoter. Until the final court orders come in, the authorities will not be able to make any changes in the plant and machinery of the plant and no plans have been made to set up a new processing unit. Scientific disposal will take time. The local authorities should also ensure that garbage thrown across the cycle tracks, on pavements and at parks or religious places should be cleared up and should give waste collection and processing tasks to their own employees. Only a systematic and sustained professional approach on all fronts will work.
Suresh Verma, Chandigarh
RWAs, citizens and admin have to come together
No waste segregation plan can work until all three: The citizens, RWAs and administration work together. Once it’s decided that the city shall stay clean no matter what then everyone will do his or her bit to manage waste. Making people aware of the importance of garbage control is the first step in this direction.
Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh.
Sectors should have waste disposal units
The welcome step taken by UT Chandigarh to segregate waste at source and also to penalise people for violations will save us from growing mountains of waste created at Dadumajra. Each sector should set up a resource management centre to recycle waste there, thus doing away with the need to cart everything to the dump. Dry waste (Non biodegradable) like paper, cardboard, polythene bags, wrappers, etc should be recycled by compressing these in hydraulic machines to make useful items like planters, benches and tiles. Wet waste (biodegradable) like vegetable leaves, curd, tea leaves, etc should be put in rectangular bins daily to make organic manure which will be ready in 50 to 60 days. This will also increase garden yield by recycling wet waste into organic manure and save us from chemicals like urea. Our ultimate mission should be to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Basic hygiene counts
What’s needed most is cooperation from residents in segregating waste in two bags before handing it for collection. What might seem to be a tedious chore for residents will ultimately help the MC meet its waste management targets. Those assigned duties to collect waste need minimum basic training to make the project successful. Collectively we also have the responsibility to practise hygiene, not to spit or throw used wrappers or disposables at will.This becomes even more important during the coronavirus pandemic.
Subhash Puri, Panchkula
Smart technology needed
The MC is very short staffed, with just 2,200 sanitation workers against a sanctioned strength of 4,500 employees in a city with a population of nearly 12 lakh. The garbage disposal system and waste management issues are not being addressed urgently. Why is technology not being used to tackle five lakh tonnes of waste that has accumulated in the dumping ground? Information on new technologies that can actually flatten trash in a few weeks is not being sought because of the funds crunch. The sanitation situation is going from bad to worse. The MC had notified the penalties and user charges, but failed to find partners to do garbage collection work. This move could have assisted the MC in streamlining the waste management system, albeit with a token fee in the Property Tax bill. But, in an election year (2019), the MC scrapped this too. It seems that the reins of city sanitation need to be taken over by the residents themselves to help the MC control the mess.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain
How you segregate waste is important too
Waste segregation starts from home so all citizens must be made aware of and responsible for it at source. Three different bins: Red for wet waste, green for dry and blue for solids such as glass and iron must be used in every household. The collection system from home to processing plant should also be done similarly. At the plant the three different wastes must be processed and recycled separately. The responsibility of residents and waste collecting staff must be fixed keeping in mind that motivation is more effective than penal action. This system will take time to get working. Also, at this time the MC has one shed for all types of waste. This has to stop and sheds should be built for three types of waste.
Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, Mohali
Need to access all areas of city
It is essential to offload dry and wet waste separately at the receiving inlets of the waste processing plant to make it run smoothly. Now it is all the more essential for the waste collectors to pick up the segregated waste from each household from the lanes and narrow bylanes of the city where collection vehicles cannot enter and dump it in the separate compartments of the waiting vehicles at the designated place and time. Such arrangements also have to be made for eateries under the watchful eyes of MC staff concerned. It’s mandatory for all households to ensure that segregated waste is disposed of properly.
Having been born and brought up in Chandigarh, I have always found the city to be clean and charming. Small area, low population density, proactive administration and easy-to-manoeuvre roads also make it clean. However, a big problem here is lack of a waste to compost plant. With the ongoing garbage disposal crisis in the city, such plants could be a good addition to ensure that biodegradable waste is transformed to usable compost. This will also encourage the residents to start composting and thus bring down the volumes of waste generated.
Abhishek Kumar, Chandigarh
Penalties no guarantee for success
The new system has many pitfalls as the habits of the citizens will not change overnight. Unless there is segregation of waste at the origin it will be very difficult for the garbage collectors to carry out the process in vehicles. The MC should have at least launched a drive beforehand to create awareness about the changes in the collection system. Penalties are not guarantees for success and it will antagonise the citizens. Many are even not aware about the classification of garbage in various categories. MC should have taken a lesson from other cities across India, which have ranked in the top three slots of the Swachh Survekshan in this and previous years, on disposing of garbage. However, all of us should cooperate with the MC to make the drive a thumping success.
Anil Kumar Yadav, Chandigarh
Don’t be lazy and uninformed
People need shun this lax attitude of mixing garbage. RWAs must start making renewed efforts to ensure that the locals do what is required of them to make the collection drive a success. They must keep bins outside homes with segregated waste for the convenience of collectors. Garbage should be lifted from each house, even where very senior citizens live on their own. In fact, they should be helped by the collectors to move waste. Awareness and co-operation are most important at this juncture.
Amanpreet Kaur Bains, Kurali
No segregation? Stop collecting waste
The authorities should start planning to set up infrastructure to process the amount of waste generated in the city, including building composting units. Those who make compost at home should be allowed to sell it at a centralised facility at a fixed rate. I don’t think that penalising a resident for not segregating the waste will work as the manual collectors have demanded 50% of the penalty, and usually, whenever money comes into play it creates room for corruption. Instead, authorities should stop collecting waste from houses where segregation has not been done. This way people will get back on track on their own. Moreover, authorities need to keep following up with people who are responsible for the execution of this plan and make sure that the measures listed are followed strictly at all levels.
Krrish Madaan, Ambala
Clear all doubts
The best way to ensure success of waste segregation in city is to educate people through door to door campaigns to identify wet and dry waste and segregate it in two separate bins in each household before delivering to the collector. Most people are confused about kitchen waste, which is a mix of fruits and vegetables peels, tea leaves and tea bags. Clearing their doubts will help.
Pull up your socks, people
A dedicated and disciplined plan has to be implemented to achieve cleanliness objectives, on which, unfortunately, everybody fails miserably, right from politicians, the residents to the workers. No one is keen on performance. Instead of forcing implementation of policies, the administration and MC are being liberal with all segments when it comes to cleanliness. No one is willing to put in some work and do one’s duty, be it government employees or citizens. Unless we develop a constructive spirit and culture, this waste segregation plan too will fail. Instead of trying to help, we specialise in accusing others of faults. Let’s try to clean our homes, then our streets and then cities. There is no other mantra of success.
MPS Chadha, Mohali
Get the collection timings right
For success of the new system, there should be
1. Awareness in households of segregating dry and wet waste. The MC councillors can play an effective role in this regard. Leaflets should be printed explaining the benefits of segregating waste and should be distributed to each household
2. Without cooperation of the present garbage collectors, the MC scheme will not be successful
3. There should be fixed timings for collection
4. At the initial stage waste can be lifted on alternate days
5. Garbage from upper floors will have to be collected by attendants
6. Collection timings should be either fixed before 8 am or after 6 pm, so that working couples can also avail of the facility
7. Being the first planned city of India, we are already far behind others in matters of sanitation, so we should make out all efforts to make this proposal a great success.
Sham Sunder Sharma
Create an app to track garbage trucks
The government needs to work sincerely to make this drive a success. An app can be created where residents can learn how to segregate waste and also report any problems they face. They should also be able to, through the app, track the truck that collects the segregated waste or communicate with those operating the vehicle. Senior citizens living on their own should be assisted in segregation and collection.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
More information required
There has been no drive to make residents aware of the segregation system, even though they will be ensuring its success. Many people do not know how to segregate wet and dry waste, they have no idea when the vehicles will visit their sectors. What happens to those living in the upper stories? What’s going to happen to the present door to door collectors? For the success of the waste management system, there should be awareness through media, pamphlets should be distributed and residents contacted through NGO/RWS besides, inducting all door-to-door personnel on MC rolls to lift waste and get paid 50% of the fine collected from defaulters as this is the only means of their employment and source of income in the economically challenging times of corona and otherwise.
Fixed timings for vehicles
Chandigarh is a planned city but the new system of collecting segregated waste is not an easy job. Most couples in the city work and can’t wait the whole day for the garbage collector to show up. So timings should be fixed for the vehicles. In case that’s not done then a point should be specified at a sector where vehicles can come in the morning once and then in the evenings.
System riddled with flaws
Senior citizens and working couples are not likely to take kindly to the new system as the former will have to step out of the gates to dump waste and the latter might have problems with collection timings. Another likely flaw is that the jumbo-sized vehicles will not be able to enter the narrow streets with dead ends. The new system will also not work for people living on the first, second and third floors as they would have to move downstairs to dump waste. The MC authorities would have done better had they kept sector welfare associations and other stakeholders in the loop for rolling out a better and effective system. However, since the drive has already been launched, the authorities must ensure in the first place that it is implemented strictly.
Ramesh K Dhiman