BMC kicks off public consultations for Mumbai Climate Action Plan
The civic body on Thursday kicked off the first of the six series’ public consultations as a part of the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP), which is being drafted by the World Resources Institute (India).
Thursday’s consultation dealt exclusively with the issue of waste management in the city, and over the next five days the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will host similar online consultations to invite expert comments in the sectors of energy efficiency in buildings, sustainable mobility, air quality, urban greening and biodiversity and urban flooding and water resources management.
According to data presented by WRI India during the online session, Mumbai produces at least 6,800 tonnes of municipal solid waste every day (does not include waste managed on site by structures or by BMC’s tree authority), which contributes to about 7% percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
About 73% of this comprises organic wet waste, while around 17% is made up of sand, fine earth and stones and 4% is wood and cloth. Paper and other recyclables (including metal) make up 3%, while another 3% is made up of plastic.
Though audience members were not permitted to take part in the public consultation, expert invitees in the field of waste management emphasised on the need for improving the existing waste management system in Mumbai. Swati Sambyal, a waste management specialist with United Nations (UN) Habitat, stressed that BMC needs to move away from the current system that is oriented toward disposal and incineration of waste, and find ways to ‘mainstream source segregation’.
“We also need much better data management so that patterns of consumption and generation across income groups are brought out. This will help us plan for better collection and transportation, and also bring about a traceability of waste,” Sambyal said, adding that the waste-to-energy models should not be considered as part of MCAP.
Other experts, such as Jyoti Mhapsekar of Sri Mukti Morcha, stressed on the need to include the informal sector while proposing solutions for waste management in the city, and also said that there is a large knowledge gap which needs to be addressed.
“In my experience, ward officers themselves do not know what the overarching policies are. We have Central laws, but they need to be shaped into local-level guidelines for officials and citizens to understand in their own contexts,” she said.