YOUR SPACE: Pay greater attention to garbage disposal
The administration has to take effective steps to develop the urban areas as socially equitable and environmentally sustainable entities. The unhygienic way of handling garbage by SWaCH staff is a ‘blot’ on citizens and administration’s civic responsibilitiespune Updated: Nov 19, 2017 15:00 IST
This is with regards to your report on November 15, ‘Citizens’ failure forces SWaCH women to segregate filthy garbage in Pune’.
It is well written and brings out the apathy and plight of these people. Only if people took complete responsibility of their own waste, these so-called waste collectors could have better lives. It may be said that after all they earn money out of it. But if this work never existed they would have better options than putting their bare hands into this filth.
Also, I would like to share an overall common scenario of problems faced by people employed in the waste collection sector.
* Due to lack of awareness people find it difficult to differentiate between types of waste. So, sometimes dry food items are treated as dry waste, wet kitchen waste packed in plastic is put in dry waste.
* Waste with broken sharp edges like ceramic/ glass pieces is put in dry waste thus increasing the possibility of injury to staff.
* Dog poop is a problem because handling such waste is harmful to the health of the housekeeping staff.
* Residents show resistance to giving up plastic bag linings to their bins with wet waste and hence this leads to rotting and further decay of food stuff inside these bags and proves detrimental to the health of the housekeeping staff.
* What is very annoying is that people do not consider housekeeping as a valuable helping hand and don’t respect the services they are providing.
* Sanitary waste is disposed callously. Such waste is not marked appropriately despite the widely circulated ‘Red dot’ campaign. Here we tried to suggest use of gloves by the housekeeping staff but they are very reluctant to use them due to our hot weather conditions and sweating. Plus maintaining these gloves is a practical issue.
* Baby diapers are never cleaned and kept for collection.
* Lastly, there always are some residents who do not follow the rule and give mixed waste and it becomes a nightmare.
Waste-pickers need a better life
After going through the report (‘Citizens’ failure forces SWaCH women to segregate filthy garbage in Pune, November 15), I feel it’s important to take care of their future, health and family concerns as these are the people performing duties which we citizens either fail to do or are running off from. When we talk of Smart City, it can’t be at the cost of not planning and accounting for the people working in these departments. Thanks for covering the real issues of real people of Swachh Bharat.
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) workers, and the staff at NGOs like SWaCH and others, start their day at 5 am on an empty stomach and spend the entire day on garbage trucks, racks and in segregation without considering their own health and family. They should be provided with breakfast like boiled eggs as is provided in PMC schools. A monthly free health check-up should be compulsory for them at hospitals like AIIMS (family member should be part of the same free mediclaim). Even education of this workers/students should be covered under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE).
We are among the housing societies which segregate dry and wet waste on a daily basis prior to handing it over to PMC. We plan to further segregate dry, wet, sanitary and e-waste.
Being members of Aundh Vikas Mandal and Aundh-Baner-Balewadi-Pashan Vikas Mandal, we understand the lack of civic sense of people when it comes to waste management, since most of our areas are divided into slums, gaothan and societies. People are hardly aware of waste management process of PMC and the cost impact on their own pockets. Unless we, the citizens of India, are disciplined it’s difficult to achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat. Our citizens don’t treat public property as their own property. Citizens are well-versed on their fundamental rights, but conveniently ignore fundamental duties towards society, nation and future generations
I feel proper management and planning needs to be worked out with different approach to slums, gaothan and housing societies for dry, wet, sanitary and e-waste, which would help PMC workers and different NGOs working on waste along with time and money.
I have personally seen Swachh staff segregating garbage for all societies on Nagras Road at EWS building opposite Sweet Corner. Whatever is left behind is dumped in the same empty EWS building and the same road is part of the Smart City project
Your report of November 15 (‘Citizens’ failure forces SWaCH women to segregate filthy garbage in Pune) is a good study on waste management. I had initiated Swabimana in Bengaluru, Prerna in Mumbai and Sankalp in Pune between 1993-2005. It was about getting NGOs to work together and help citizens’ participation along with income generation for ragpickers.
It also covered water situation and roads (traffic) thematically.
The project also helped start PMC ward offices with Aundh as a working model, starting from August 1990. From those days I am seeing this macro and micro analysis of issues to inform citizens as never before. This is commendable indeed. My best wishes to all HT journalists.
Anant G Nadkarni
First Published: Nov 19, 2017 15:00 IST