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Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Looking at Solutions for Cleaning & Waste Management

What about industrial waste and how is it being addressed?

Again, fly ash was a big problem in thermal generation units. Initially there were no takers, but with the Supreme Court and Government of India intervention, cement companies now buy fly ash mandatorily and use it in the cement manufacturing process. Many cement companies have come up near thermal plants. A major environmental problem has been averted by a policy intervention.

In the Indian context, some policy intervention is also required where electricity is generated from waste and other waste treatments like compost. For example, why somebody should buy compost when chemical fertilizers are available on subsidy? When there is a `60,000cr or so annual subsidy available, why should somebody buy compost that too made out of municipal waste? Some policy intervention is required. For example, for every four bags of urea, one needs to buy one bag of compost. This should be made mandatory.

There are waste technologies and the municipal corporations are willing to take up such projects. But these waste treatment facilities would require some seed money or tipping fees. Most of the ULBs are in such precarious financial state that they don’t have money to do all this. Then who fills in the gaps?

In the case of metros, it is the State which is handling and there are not enough takers in private sector. Worldwide, metros are entirely State driven and it is done with a long term perspective and longer term benefits. Be it London, Paris, Netherlands, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi or Jaipur, everywhere there is State funding available.

Here, we have waste management technology and are sitting on mountains and mountains of waste. We are not realizing, soon there will be no place left for waste. As we progress economically, we generate more waste. A traditional villager would not produce more than 200gm per head per day and mostly it would be agriculture waste. If you come to town, the waste generation would double to 400gm per head per day. If you come to metro cities like Ahmedabad, Delhi and Kolkata it would increase further to 700/ 800/1000gm per capita per day.

This issue has to be taken up seriously by policy makers. It requires tremendous focus and immediate unqualified attention of the government at various levels. In this perspective, Clean India Show would not only bring in cleaning technology but would also bring a lot of discussion on waste management technology into the State. It could also bring together technology providers, actual urban practitioners who are implementing this process, engineers and officers from ULBs and even there could be face to face interactive sections.

There are many information technologies led interventions in cleaning and we could come to know about them in forums like Clean India Show. We are looking forward to it, as it is very useful for product manufacturers, technology and suppliers as well as for the potential users when they all come under one forum.

What are the cleaning processes the Corporation has adopted? Has it been outsourced to some vendor? What about roads maintenance?

Out of the 4000 tonnes lifted every day, 300 tonnes is construction debris that is entirely outsourced. Construction and building waste is now being deposited at different identified locations from where an agency lifts the debris and takes it to a treatment plant which is shortly going to be inaugurated. The plant is in the completion stage. Another 1600 to 1700 tonnes of waste we collect from household directly under the door-to-dump system using small vehicles which then load waste into the compactor vehicle of around 17 tonnes capacity. This compactor vehicle goes to the transfer station or to the disposal site. This is entirely privatized. So there is no Corporation employee involved in this daily activity.

Hotel waste collection is again privatised. The agency collects hotel waste at a fixed rate per kg of transportation cost. Nearly 200 to 300 tonnes a day is hotel waste and it is of very good quality for composting and making pellets.

About 1400 to 1600 tonnes of waste is collected in our containers during road sweeping done by our safai kamdars and the final lifting and disposal of waste is again a privatized activity.

Recently, we have fitted GIA systems in all the waste carrying vehicles and the process is on. We are able to keep better track over the vehicle and its route.

There is a disposal site and Ahmedabad, probably is one of the first cities to have a treatment facility started by Excel Industries. There are also a composting facility and three more palletizing facilities. Totally, we are treating anything between 700 to 8000 tonnes a day. We have also given another 2500 tonnes waste to two agencies – Abellon which is a local company and another A to Z Waste Management which is present all over the country – to make electricity as well as pellets. These projects are in various stages of approval.

So, waste treatment in the city is entirely privatized. We are also now going to tender out another 1000 tonnes for waste treatment. This spare capacity will be added. As far as e-waste facility is concerned, a tender has been floated for the second time with some revised conditions. This facility again will be entirely privatized. Animal and carcass waste management will also be privatized.

In a sense, e-waste comes under the Corporation. As per rules, e-waste should not be mingled with municipal waste and so to prevent that, we set up a facility. Bio-medical waste is handled by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board.

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