Decentralise ops to process waste in Delhi, says IIM-A report
The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM, Ahmedabad), in a report submitted to the Delhi government, has highlighted the solid waste management system in the Capital while making a number of recommendations to improve the city’s abysmal performance on sanitation parameters
The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM, Ahmedabad), in a report submitted to the Delhi government, has highlighted the solid waste management system in the Capital while making a number of recommendations to improve the city’s abysmal performance on sanitation parameters.
A senior MCD official said the Delhi government and IIM, Ahmedabad had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the study in October 2019, which involved various departments of the civic body.
“The IIM team had presented key features of the report before the chief secretary in August last year, and a briefing on the supplementary report was undertaken on January 9. We are studying the recommendations related to waste sector to implement them,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
HT has seen a copy of the report, which is titled “A study of governance and administrative aspects of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi”.
In the last Swachh Surveskan, the three erstwhile municipal corporations of South MCD, East MCD, and North MCD were ranked 28, 34 and 37 respectively among 45 cities with a population of more than 1 million. The reports says that one of the reasons for Delhi’s poor ranking is that the city generates more than 11,000 tonnes of garbage every day, but has a processing capacity of only 7,550 tonnes a day, which leads to more garbage ending up on landfill sites.
The waste is expected to be collected from household level, accumulated designated points on streets, wards and zones finally being sent to processing plants, while third party agencies or concessionaries are contracted for transporting waste, while these concessionaries are selected by tendering process. MCD has provisions to impose penalties on the vendors in case they do not perform as per the agreement.
“The overall system is managed by administrative compliance. The vendors are interested in net revenue (the difference of contract amount and penalties) and there is no community involvement. There is no service orientation,” the report says, adding that the cleanliness levels will depend on the commitment of workers, community involvement and administrative enablement.
Some of the recommendations that the report makes include the segregation of waste, and moving away from a centralised processing model to a decentralised one. “Microdisposal strategy should be adopted and waste should be disposed at the lowest possible level at street or ward level, where it is generated. This would reduce the load on processing plants and landfills,” the report states.
Another recommendation is that third-party agencies should handle waste management operations on a turnkey basis, while the government should retain a supervisory control and create an enabling environment. “Consider involving NGOs who would interface, facilitate and supervise community involvement for attitude changes,” the report adds.
A senior MCD official said the recommendations have been sent to MCD for further implementation.
“Some of these recommendations are in force, such as providing incentive for waste segregation under Sahbhagita Scheme. Under the ‘Zero Waste Colony’ programme, resident associations are being certified under two categories -- ‘Harit Mitra’ and ‘Sahbhagita Colony’, with colonies in the latter category being granted a rebate of 5% on property tax from the MCD, the incentive for which was incorporated in the uniform property tax policy of the city that came into effect from July 16, 2022. We are also moving in the direction of implementing other steps, like decentralised processing by creating local composting units. We are also studying the Pune model of incorporating NGOs and waste pickers in the waste management chain,” the official said.
Bharati Chaturvedi, environmentalist and founder of the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, said decentralisation should be at the core of how to handle waste. “It vital for us to look at organic waste -- create space and incentive by buying the compost at a cost which can pay for capital cost and three-month running cost. Secondly, it is important to involve waste pickers. We also have gaushalas and we can’t collect the wet waste to bring to these gaushalas. It has been success at small level and it should be replicated at larger level.”
She added Delhi should have micro dry waste collection centres in colonies and colony clusters. “We should also make sure the landfills take only inert and hazardous waste.”