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Smaller cities better at waste management than bigger ones like Delhi

Vengurla in Maharashtra, which has less than 0.1 million people, was the best at solid waste management.

environment Updated: Jun 08, 2018 13:17 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A man takes a selfie in front of a heap of garbage on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.
A man takes a selfie in front of a heap of garbage on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai. (AP FILE PHOTO)

Smaller cities in India were better at waste management compared to bigger ones like Delhi, an assessment of 19 cities’ performance in 2017-18 by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has shown.

Vengurla in Maharashtra, which has less than 0.1 million people, was the best at solid waste management while Indore which topped the government’s Swachh Survekshan survey, a broader index that captures levels of cleanliness and sanitation, performed the best among million-plus cities.

“Keeping our cities clean by only collecting and disposing wastes is not sufficient. What is required is source-segregation, proper treatment, recycle and reuse of the waste. Zero landfill should be the goal of municipal waste management in India,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE, said.

As many as 18 cities from 14 states and two local bodies from Delhi — East Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation — were considered for the assessment, of which six were million-plus cities, seven were medium-sized and five were small cities.

The analysis showed that bigger cities, with populations of one million or more performed worse than smaller cities (below 0.1 mn population) and even mid-sized cities (population between 0.1-1 mn).

Cities in west and south India, regardless of size, fared better than those in the east and north.

In the 2000 solid waste management rules, a priority area was to find viable landfill sites, but the latest set of rules from 2016 have signified a shift away from this method of disposal of municipal waste.

“Land is very limited. We are not looking for more landfill sites. It is a real challenge for all cities,” S P Singh Parihar, chairman, Central Pollution Control Board, said.

There is greater focus on recycling and recovering material from waste, which means a stronger emphasis on segregation.

Bhushan said cities which were able to segregate performed better on most of the 10 indicators that were considered while ranking the cities, including waste collection, transportation processing and disposal.

RANKING

Big cities (1 million+ population)

Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Mysuru, Karnataka

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Medium cities (0.1-1 mn population)

Alappuzha, Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Gangtok, Sikkim

Small (less than 0.1 mn population)

Vengurla, Maharashtra

Panchgani, Maharashtra

Bobbili, Andhra Pradesh

(Source: CSE)