What a waste: Seven Maharashtra civic bodies don’t follow norms, says pollution control body

The MPCB said Akola, Amravati, Dhule, Kolhapur, Malegaon, Sangli and Ahmednagar municipal corporations were not treating their solid waste in accordance with prescribed guidelines.

mumbai Updated: Sep 06, 2018 02:01 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Waste management,Akola,Amravati
Garbage lies scattered outside garbage bins in Dadar, Mumbai. (Kalpak Pathak / HT Photo)

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has identified seven municipal corporations and more than hundred municipal councils across the state that are not complying with waste management guidelines.

Five days after the Supreme Court (SC) passed an order directing Maharashtra to ban construction activity, as the state is yet to frame a solid waste management (SWM) policy, MPCB said Akola, Amravati, Dhule, Kolhapur, Malegaon, Sangli, and Ahmednagar municipal corporations were not treating their solid waste according to rules. These municipal corporations accounted for more than 60% of the waste that is not dealt with according to rules. Of the 235 municipal urban local bodies, around 106, or 45%, were not treating waste properly.

“Time-and-again the board has directed these corporations to implement short-term and long-term measures but they have not complied,” said P Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB. “Processing is poor as these corporations and councils are slow to adopt new measures and technologies. A lot of work needs to be done to improve the present scenario.”

Anbalagan said in some cities, the compostable waste – food and other organic wastes – lies at source for two to three days. “This leads to decomposition and health issues. The idea is to collect this waste on the same day itself,” said Anbalagan.

Of the approximately 1,42,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste generated every day in India, 21,950 tonnes per day (TPD) is generated from Maharashtra (15%), the highest in the country, as per data from the central government. While the state claims to collect the entire waste it generates, it currently treats only 6,973 TPD, or 32%, of the waste.

MPCB said municipal corporations of big cities such as Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur, Navi Mumbi, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Solapur, where action plans had been drafted, are following SWM guidelines. “We accept there were issues, but based on various judgments, including the recent one by SC, things are improving. Three years ago we were treating minimal waste, but since then there has been significant improvement. Even at corporations of smaller cities, detailed project reports (DPR) have been approved for SWM and tendering activity for rolling out technologies is ongoing,” he said.

Experts said there is a need for both administrative and political will to resolve the waste management crisis. “Maharashtra implemented the plastic ban, which was a step in the right direction. However, we are yet to see its results. Political will is for the state to highlight issues and solutions through detailed policy decisions, while administrative will [for municipalities] is to ensure the staff, infrastructure, funds are available to cover every guideline under the SWM rules. The issue currently lies at the municipal level, where there is a laxity in capacity, which needs to be improved,” said Swati Singh Sambyal, programme manager, environmental governance (municipal solid waste), Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi.

A day after the SC order, MPCB had constituted a technical advisory committee for effective implementation of SWM rules. “The committee will be implementing a per capita waste generation and management model for each municipal body accounting for expenditure to transport waste, door-to-door collection, number of people, vehicles required etc., how to setup waste processing units at ward levels and landfills,” said Anbalagan.

First Published: Sep 06, 2018 02:01 IST