HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Sweeping changes required for waste management

The war against waste can only be won if segregation at household level is implemented with strict penalties, collectors are allowed to profit from recycling garbage and the residents cooperate with RWAs to ensure minimum waste generation in their sectors
Chandigarh virtually overflowed with garbage due to the recent strike by door to door waste collectors.(HT Photo)
Chandigarh virtually overflowed with garbage due to the recent strike by door to door waste collectors.(HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 30, 2020 11:28 PM IST
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Compost pits in every sector

We must focus on decentralised waste management through which households must segregate waste at source to manage it as a resource. Compost pits should be dug in every locality to process organic waste. Well engineered landfills have to be created or waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants set up to reduce the load of landfill sites. Economic opportunities generated by recycling garbage could lead to waste minimisation and ensure protection of human health and environment. Smart waste technologies involving in-vehicle monitors, innovative tools for fast sorting processes with optical sensors, magnets and advanced disk screen are eco friendly, improve energy efficiency and reduce operational costs and collection frequency. This acts as an ongoing evolution which eliminates particular job functions at which humans are inefficient or are exposed to risk. The Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) must subject unskilled workers to rigorous training as flexibility and adaptability are likely to remain key human advantages. They must initiate mapping and integration of various stakeholders like urban local bodies, commercial centres, markets associations and hotels to take the bull by the horns.

Komal Singh, Chandigarh

Privatise system

Strikes should be banned by the government. By launching strikes, the workers pay attention only to their demands instead of doing their work. The garbage collection system should be privatised as it will mean a cleaner city and efficient safai karamcharis.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Lessons on cleanliness for youth

Each and every resident of this city has to be made aware of the garbage disposal system, especially children. Lessons on waste and its control should also be included at primary levels in schools. This is likely to encourage youngsters to actively participate in ensuring the cleanliness of their surroundings and be acutely aware of the consequences of allowing dumping of garbage just about anywhere. Strict implementation of littering laws and the two-bin system is a must.

Sunibala Laishram, Chandigarh.

Zero tolerance to garbage

There should be zero tolerance to garbage and waste material. The road near the Central Library in Chandigarh’s Sector 34 is a case in point. One can see waste piled up there, emitting an unbearable stench. Residents must take the initiative to take care of their city and not dump garbage randomly.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

What happened to reduce, reuse, recycle?

The MC has failed to follow the three R’s of waste management: Reduce, reuse and recycle. The garbage problem is getting worse by the day due to this problem. The Sehaj Safai Kendras remain dirty, the garbage processing plant at Dadumajra has run out of space. The effluent treatment plant is not operational. Toxins such as dioxins and furans are being released in the atmosphere. The challan of Rs10,000 for littering is yet to be issued to any individual till date as is the other fine of Rs 5,000 for dumping unprocessed construction/ demolition waste in low lying areas, landfills and public places. The UT administrator, MP, mayor and councillors need to stand up and handle this health issue on an emergent basis. The imposition of heavy fines is right. But, creating awareness by conducting road shows, multimedia campaigns, visiting schools and educating children to make them aware of the need to keep our city ‘clean and green’, has to be an ongoing exercise.

Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur

MC, don’t bow to pressure

Whenever MC attempts to improve the waste management situation in Chandigarh , the sanitation workers and door to door garbage collectors launch an agitation and stop work, as a result of which garbage piles up in every corner of the city and the MC authorities have to bow to the pressure. This should not be allowed to happen.

Subhash Chugh

Set up resource management centres

People have to realise how important it is to segregate waste at source. Dry waste such as paper, cardboard, clothes and polythene rappers should be put in one bin and wet waste, mostly leftover food, vegetable peel etc should be put in another bin to be given to waste collectors separately. Resource management centres should be set up in every sector where wet waste should be dumped into large composting bins to convert it to organic manure. Tiles, eco bricks and other useful products can be made by compressing dry waste through hydraulic means.

TBS Bedi

Adjust collectors in new setup

Waste collectors should be adjusted in the new setup and continue to earn their livelihood. The public must be educated through audio and video messages to coordinate with their RWAs and collectors and keep their surroundings clean. The area councillor can play an effective role in this respect. The MC should arrange for vans for door to door collection of garbage on alternate days in the beginning. It will be better if perishable black and green plastic bags are provided on nominal charges to the residents for segregating dry and wet garbage. Charges for collection can be claimed through water bills. Accountability for any kind of lapses should be fixed at each level.

Sham Sunder Sharma

Citizen engagement must

Collective and collaborative citizen engagement can stem the rot. For optimal management all stakeholders – residents,welfare associations and the civic administration must coordinate work responsibly. Aggregation should be done at the initial stage itself, with use of green and blue bins. People should reserve two bags – for plastic/polythene waste and hazardous waste. Welfare associations can liaison for spreading awareness and keeping an eye on the ground situation; and the administration should own its duty of collection, transportation and disposal. Sanitation workers should not be allowed to put at risk the health and hygiene of the residents and ensure that all areas are kept clean. Discipline is not antithetical to democracy. It’s time to tame this bane of democracy where vote bank politics override professional order to the detriment of public purse and convenience. Directions of the National Green Tribunal and higher judiciary mandates on waste management should be enforced quickly and heads must roll for non-compliance.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Fix waste and service conditions

Immediate steps need to be taken through scientific and innovative means to clean up the city. Waste should be collected through covered vans with separate days fixed for picking up biodegradable and other garbage. A wage structure with service conditions agreed upon by all worker unions should be fixed to prevent frequent strikes. The public and resident welfare societies must organise frequent mohalla meetings/workshops to make residents aware of the importance of segregation of biodegradable and other waste besides ensuring adequate cleanliness in their surroundings.

SS Arora, Mohali

All for tokenism

The plausible reasons for the avoidable mess are the piecemeal measures, coupled with tokenism, adopted by the MC authorities and administration to fix the waste collection problem. The authorities must act and put cleanliness measures in place and implement them strictly instead of turning every minor event into a photo opportunity.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Focus on waste processing

The MC should closely monitor the amount of garbage/waste generated and processed. Out of the 450 metric tonnes (approximately) being generated daily only one-fourth is processed, so this gap has to be fixed with a ‘fast action plan’ with focus on urgent changes required and amendment of defunct rules. Budget sharing with teams concerned working at the ground level for collection and processing of waste should be done with daily achievable goals set.

Madhav Bansal, Chandigarh

Recycling the key

Different categories of garden/kitchen waste can be composted to procure organic manure. Waste materials generated from construction of buildings can also be used to make bricks and waste paper can be recycled.

Usha Verma, Chandigarh

Put dustbins everywhere

The government should ensure that green and blue dustbins are installed at each nook and corner of the city. Garbage collectors should be paid on time and their legitimate demands taken care of to ensure they don’t adopt unethical practices like strikes and closures. Sanitary workmen need to keep the city clean and act as proactive members of the society by effecting the small changes desired to keep the city clean.

Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh.

People have to take the initiative

We citizens have to develop a better civic sense, not only to solve the problem of garbage disposal but also to keep the city clean. How many of us pick up a banana peel lying on the road? Very few. But there will be many who will not think twice before throwing out paper packets and other waste material on the streets from their cars; or urinate in the open or spit anywhere and everywhere. One of the ways to dispose of garbage is by chemical decomposition. In Chandigarh, garbage can be turned into fuel, energy, and manure. With Indian Institutes of Technology and so many engineering colleges in the country, why can’t we find ways to convert garbage into an asset, rather than letting it be a problem? Recycling and conversion is the answer. At home, let us have colour coded buckets for wet and dry garbage. If the waste collectors do not turn up, we ourselves dispose it in a garbage bin on our way to work. Take initiative, do it yourself. Finally, the authorities have to be serious in treating waste management as a priority issue.

Colonel R D Singh (retd), Ambala Cantonment

Monetary benefits can work

GPS watches might not be a very effective way to get safai karamcharis to work, but offering small monetary benefits to the good performers can make them work harder and therefore improve the waste management system.

Avinash Goyal

Reduce garbage at household level

This ‘throwaway’ culture has to end with citizens making every effort possible to reduce garbage generation at the household level. However, when it comes to garbage collectors, they should be encouraged to sell recyclable items to make some money. RWAs should come forward with innovations to make compost. Best out of waste competitions in sectors can also get locals interested in coming up with interesting ideas. MC authorities and even RWAs can come together to identify the cleanest areas in the city and award the waste collectors and safai karamcharis working there.

Amanpreet Kaur Bains, Kurali

Opposition to use of MC trucks unfair

The opposition by garbage collectors to the MC authorities’ move to introduce garbage collection vehicles is unjustified. The workers can be taught to drive and can collect the garbage in these vehicles. The trucks should collect waste from all localities and segregate it properly. These changes should be carried out immediately.

Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh

Get on with composting

People need to adopt environmental friendly practices. Start by composting your food waste or garden waste instead of dumping it. If it sounds like too much work send your organic waste to a recycling facility instead of dumping it in landfills. For effective waste management, waste minimisation, reuse, recycle and energy recovery are more sustainable than conventional landfill or dumpsite disposal technique. Avoid using single use plastic and try as much as possible to reuse and recycle material. Do not hoard and collect things you do not need.

Ishita Nara

Promote exemplary work culture

On October 2, 2014, the Union government launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to implement effective scientific municipal waste management and bring about behavioural change among the people. At the beginning of the mission, various cleanliness drives were organised with much fanfare by politicians and bureaucrats. Three years back, two small dustbins were distributed to each house but the MC failed to implement segregated garbage schemes properly. From then on, Chandigarh has been performing poorly in the Swachh Survekshan. All of this happened because of the neo-liberal policies under which every project related to this mission was been assigned to contractors. During Covid-19, the work of sanitation workers assumed greater importance but their contribution was not recognised or rewarded. If we want the city to return to its past glory as one of the cleanest places in the country, the MC will have to fill up all vacancies of safai karamcharis, make arrangements for equipment like bins and dumpers. Exemplary work culture has to be promoted with discipline, dedication, and honesty the principal value of all MC employees.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

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Saturday, November 27, 2021