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Garbage disposal: Why Delhi’s civic corporations fail to manage waste

Residents say door-to-door waste collection missing, civic bodies claim people not supportive, dump garbage on roadsides

delhi Updated: Jun 23, 2017 18:34 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Delhi MCD,Garbage in Delhi,Delhi news
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation workers remove garbage at Chilla Village near Mayur Vihar. (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

There are two faces of garbage management in the city. The first — New Delhi — is clean and covers just 4% of the capital. This area is under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal Council. The second covers 96% of Delhi and is managed by the three municipal corporations.

Together, 96% of Delhi under the north, south and east municipal corporations generates over 9,400 tonnes of garbage every day. Of these, the east corporation handles 2,500 tonnes, north 3,800 tonnes while the south civic body daily has to remove 3,100 tonnes of waste from residential areas, markets, schools and hospitals among others.

To ensure proper management and disposal, the civic bodies have hired concessionaires who collect garbage from doorsteps, segregate, compress, recycle and dump the leftover at landfills. A fleet of 409 trucks are engaged in the process.

These are, however, just official claims. Things on the ground tell a story of mismanagement.

Despite engaging the private concessionaire for door-to-door collection of garbage, the tippers do not visit each and every house or lane. Residents said they just take rounds of colonies and that too occasionally.

“Proper monitoring by the department concerned to ensure the tippers visit each and every lane, regularly is missing,” said Ankur Gupta, a resident of Rani Bagh.

In the given circumstances, residents are forced to hire waste pickers or private garbage collectors, who dump the unsegregated garbage at dhalaos.

“The implementation of waste management rules, 2016 by the civic agency is just an eyewash. They have not been able to spread awareness among all residents at selected colonies so far,” said Gupta.

According to Yoginder Singh Mann, spokesperson for the north and east corporations, the civic bodies are not lacking in garbage management. “The problem is that we are not getting support from the people. They keep throwing garbage here and there.”

Mann argued that the New Delhi areas, which are well maintained, cannot be compared to other parts of Delhi.

“The areas which fall under NDMC are well-planned and developed. In comparison, the areas that fall under our jurisdiction include unplanned slums, villages, regularised and unauthorised areas,” he said.

Going a step head, in unauthorised colonies, where there is no provision for dhalaos, people feel free to dump waste in vacant plots or roadsides.

To deal with the problem, the civic bodies two years back announced a fine on owners of vacant plots if their properties aren’t barricaded and turn into dump yards. But that fine has failed to act as a deterrent.

Former officials said unless authorities initiate strict action against defaulters, things are not going to change.

“The senior staff should go for random visits in their areas regularly rather than just sit in office. They also need to ensure resources are monitored and utilised properly,” said former commissioner of unified MCD on condition of anonymity.

The agency has not even drawn a specific policy for recycling of garbage dumped at the three landfills — Okhla, Ghazipur and Bhalswa.

“All sites have crossed their saturation point. For years, civic agencies have been planning their reclamation but nothing has been done. Waste has been collected here for ages and using it as fuel at the waste-to-energy plants would only increase pollution levels,” said Chitra Mukherjee, head of programme, Chintan, NGO.

Shikha Gosain, a resident of Anand Vihar, said: “If I have to rate the waste management system, I would rate it in negative. Nobody collects the waste here. Though the RWAs have made their own arrangements but on main roads, outsiders keep on dumping garbage. This covers the roads and chokes the nallahs.”

First Published: Jun 23, 2017 16:01 IST