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BMC takes concrete steps for garbage-free Dharavi

Waste management agencies to collect and recycle waste

To rid Dharavi of solid waste and improve hygiene in the slum cluster, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to segregate and recycle the daily waste generated by this location by appointing expert waste management agencies.

For the past ten years, the local civic ward office has relied on NGOs and self-help groups to collect daily waste from households. The BMC dumpers are unable to access most areas of Dharavi due to the slum belt’s dingy lanes. As a result, members of the NGOs would go door-to-door, collecting waste from each household and depositing it in the area’s open waste containers. However, civic officials stated that the NGOs’ responsibility was only to dump the waste in the containers, because they lacked the logistics or expertise to separate, recycle, or process it. As a result, the majority of the waste would go untreated and end up in a landfill.

According to city officials, waste material is frequently left scattered around the bins, affecting the hygiene of the area. To address this issue, the BMC plans to appoint contractors for professional waste management within the Dharavi slums.

“Dharavi’s demographics have shifted over time. It is no longer a slum district. It has become an unorganised commercial hub, as a result of which the variety of waste it generates daily has become complex, making it difficult for NGOs to manage. That is why we have initiated this plan to appoint proper waste management experts,” said Prashant Sapkale, assistant municipal commissioner in charge of the G/North ward, which includes the Dharavi belt.

According to civic officials, Dharavi generates 300 Metric Tonnes (MT) of waste per day, of which approximately 40% is dry waste. These waste products are produced by leather factories, cement plants, the potters’ hub (Kumbharwada) and various plastic recycling units located within the slums.

“Each contractor will be assigned to a specific area. They will collect waste from door to door, after which it will be separated. Following segregation, the wet waste will be composted, while the dry waste product will be recycled. This way, we will be able to reduce the amount of untreated waste that is sent to the dumping ground regularly, allowing us to meet the zero-waste target,” said a Solid Waste Management department official. According to the official, the BMC will provide a location for the contractors to set up recycling units.

The BMC has identified 88 locations where garbage is dumped daily, and the priority will be to make these locations waste-free. The officials also stated that the BMC is working on a mobile application that will allow electronic surveillance of the contractors.

After clearing the waste from the locations, the contractors will have to upload live photos and videos of the location, as well as GPS coordinates to the app. Citizens will also be able to file waste disposal complaints through the app by sharing photos and locations. According to city officials, the project is in the tendering stage, and contractors will be chosen within the next month.

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