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Citizens and civic authorities collaborate for clean cities

Maria D’Souza, head of the ALM of Mounty Mary and Zane Roads, Bandra West, Mumbai

Maria D’Souza, head of the ALM of Mounty Mary and Zane Roads, Bandra West, Mumbai, speaks of what it takes to keep her locality clean and litter-free.

Advanced Locality Management (ALM) is a concept of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in which citizens and civic authorities work together towards a green and clean future. For the last 23 years, Maria Dsouza has headed one such ALM.  She took on this position when the BMC started the ALM initiative way back in 1997 and stuck to her guns to ensure hawker- and encroacher-free roads in her vicinity.

Cleaning techniques being implemented

When asked about any new advancements in the cleaning and sanitation operations in her locality, D’Souza said that no new solution has been initiated or implemented to date. The streets are still kept ‘clean’ by the old and outdated techniques of broom sweeping and dust collection.  However, she finds this technique adequate for paver block-paved roads, which form the bulk of road surfaces in her locality. 

Keeping everyone connected

D’Souza has encouraged the building societies and their members to cooperate and assist in keeping their areas clean via messages on a common WhatsApp group. She has, for now, got her community to segregate their waste into three categories: Bio-degradable waste that gets collected every day by the BMC, recyclable waste that is picked up every two weeks and e-waste that is picked up twice a month.

Recyclable waste

The NGO Asra which is a division of the BMC takes care of the recyclable waste. Every building’s safai karamchari has to take two bins for the collection of every household’s waste.  One bin is for dry and the other for wet waste collection.  If the waste is not segregated by the household, they are fined 2000 for defaulting.  This approach has been successful in ensuring that people cooperate with the system that’s been set in place.


Regarding composting, the societies are helped by the Arigo Green Association and Stree Mukti Sangathan.  The women from the Sangathan help train the safai karamchari on how the waste needs to be composted and if this is not carried out well by the Karamchari, then the ladies come and do the composting work for a certain sum of money that residents pay them monthly.

Asra also collects the e-waste from the societies of D’Souza’s locality.  They receive a message via WhatsApp to inform them from which building the waste needs to be picked up. This measure is done so that there is no misuse of the e-waste.

D’Souza says “I am confident that more people will educate themselves about the need for segregation and composting and am optimistic that the young generation will take my initiatives forward to the next level of ensuring a cleaner and greener locality.”

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