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Municipal Waste Management Models Outsourcing Under Scrutiny

“From June 2010, we have stopped open dumping and the waste generated is processed 100%. Hanjer Biotech’s 1000 metric tonnes waste plant and two vermicomposting pits of 100 metric tonnes and plastic waste shredders at three plants are being used at present. Keeping the growth factor in mind, work on the waste-to-energy plant is in progress and is likely to be operational by March.

In Pune, even though 45% of the population is residing in the slums, the waste generated is not as much as it is in the metro cities. Each city has its own problems and solutions for waste management.

“With segregation of waste made mandatory and bigger societies making provision for vermicomposting… only the inert waste of 1.5 tonnes goes to the landfill. Some of the societies also produce their own bio gas. This is a successful model we have adopted in Pune.”

In Mumbai, 60% of the population stays in slums, which generate 50% of the MSW in the City, said BP Patil. “A city where space is an issue asking people to store dry waste until it is periodically collected by the Municipal Corporation vehicle is a big combat. There are areas where people have no place to sleep and placing dustbins in such areas or sending vans to collect garbage is impossible. Even the space between two buildings (common gullies) is being used for dumping waste. In this scenario, one cannot expect people to follow segregation at source stringently. In cases where people are practising segregation, there are instances of the dust bins instead of the garbage getting lifted from the doorsteps! These are some of the obstacles in seeking people’s cooperation in waste segregation. The new Societies are better equipped and segregation has becomes successful.”

In fact, contractors who invest in garbage collection should also include the awareness component in their services. It is only through awareness and constant education, any model of waste management can succeed in the slums.

Besides space constraints for keeping two dustbins, there are other problems like stray dogs pulling down bins wherever they are kept, bins getting stolen, lack of awareness about segregation and cultural differences among slumdwellers. Speaking of issues at the grassroots level, Anand Jagtap, OSD-Slum Sanitation Programme, MCGM, said the common toilets provided in slums were used mainly by adults, especially in the morning hours and the waste generated by children defecating in the open is disposed off in the main garbage bin. Even ragpickers are reluctant to segregate dry waste from slum bins.

“One of the most challenging issues is to get the heterogeneous population to bring the garbage to a common collection point at a particular time. The Slum Sanitation wing of the Corporation is working closely with the 543 Community based Organisations across Mumbai. In a way the Corporation is engaging the local people and making them accountable for their area if this can be termed as outsourcing model or not. The technical and financial support required thereof is provided by BMC. The CBOs are also engaged in spreading awareness among slumdwellers on the ill-effects of littering, open defecation, its disposal and garbage segregation.”

Among the various successes, AMC has also implemented a novel model of waste collection even from the remote areas. AMC has roped in Kothari Brothers, the local kabadiwala, who has set up call centres at various locations for collection of paper waste. As a usual practice, people had to make a call at the nearest centre to get any waste like newspapers, books, etc. collected from their doorstep. AMC joined hands with the Kotharis to collect dry waste from households. This model is now very successful and it has encouraged people to segregate dry waste, including pet bottles and then sell to the kabadiwala.

“But unless there is an organised set up, it may not be practically possible to implement such a model in a city like Mumbai,” argued BP Patil.

“Such models can be made possible when there are regulations, corporation enforcement and citizen cooperation,” emphasised Dr Sahu. The junk dealers usually collect only newspapers or other kinds of paper or magazines. “I had imposed on these junk dealers visiting my place to accept all sorts of dry wastes from the house,” he added.

As a usual practice, since the waste/ junk dealers are highly unorganised, the waste collected by them change several hands before it reaches the recyclers. They usually refuse to collect other waste, as they do not have buyers for them. “In Ahmedabad, we have connected the recyclers to the end users.”

There are other practical problems in slums. There are issues of getting the ragpickers to collect all the waste. Ragpickers usually pick up one kind of waste and are paid as per their collection; hence the reluctance to collect any other kinds of waste. “On the insistence of the NGOs when we have taken the ragpickers on daily wages, they do not perform at all.”

Unlike Mumbai and Ahmedabad, Pune is experimenting with a system in one of its wards. “Here, the waste is collected in one place and with the help of the Maratha Chamber of Commerce and Plastic Manufacturers Association, we segregate the dry waste. The PMA has agreed to buy each and every kind of waste every day. This model can be carried forward in other wards also.”

Equipment used for cleaning

Similar to outsourcing services, the Corporations have also implemented mechanised cleaning of roads and collection of waste at various levels. The Kolhapur is planning to purchase RC compactors and containers.

Pune already has two mechanical sweepers and plan to get more sweepers for some of the major roads that are 12 metres and above for daily cleaning.

MCGM has adopted a multi-model for effective waste management. Besides outsourcing it to the contractors, we have also involved the NGOs,  Advanced Locality Management groups and the Clean-Up marshals for its effective implementation. MCGM’s vision is based on these frameworks.

Speaking about mechanised cleaning in Mumbai, Patil said “mechanised cleaning in the last 10 years was less than two per cent but in the last five years through outsourcing we have mechanised sweepers covering more than 3% of the entire road, about 50km of the road length. We have purchased ride on sweepers with a speed of 8-10km per hour covering a 15,000sqm per hour distance of the road and big machines mounted on the chassis covering about 80,000sqm per hour.

“I have a mixed view about mechanised cleaning. No doubt outsourcing is a must but the attitude of the contractors is definitely not satisfactory. For example, they pull on with the same brush as long as they can or run the machine with a defunct sprinkler. As most of the cleaning is done during the night, the cleaning results go unnoticed.

“The ride-on sweepers again are not suitable for the Indian road conditions and are used restrictively on fully and well developed roads. The results are satisfactory on the newer roads. Over a period of time when the concretisation of roads takes place, mechanised cleaning can be done more smoothly.

“However, the tall claims of the machine supplier, as far as the capacity of the equipment is concerned, are highly debatable,” he added.

Ahmedabad has two truck mounted road sweepers, six tetra mounted sweepers and has ordered four more truck mounted sweepers. “As long as the roads are well levelled edge-to-edge, the results are satisfactory. But when it comes to any kind of special type of cleaning, nothing is comparable to manual cleaning with supervision,” said Bhatt.

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