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Progress cards for waste management launched

Chennai has a new process to manage its waste.

Plastic garbage bag with rope in hand. Container for trash isolated on white. Garbage recycling and utilization equipment. Waste management. Vector illustration in flat style

Urbaser Sumeet, the private conservancy company hired by Greater Chennai Corporation to oversee its waste collection and transportation in seven zones. It has launched a ‘Citizen Progress Report Card’ for 26 of its routes, which will reach 260 homes across the seven zones it serves. Following this preliminary phase, the project will be expanded to include additional routes and commercial areas.
The card contains ten questions that must be answered every day, with each question worth one mark. The responses will be collected every four days, and residents will be graded on a scale of 40. The questions aim to track residents’ behaviour over the course of four days by using prompts such as ‘I use reusable shopping bags’ or ‘I dispose of domestic hazardous waste responsibly.’ A list of citizens who do not adhere to segregation will be given to the Corporation, which will proceed to the next step.
V.R. Hari Balaji, Urbaser Sumeet’s head of information, education, and communication said “We have started by educating the drivers of our battery-operated vehicles because they see residents on a daily basis,”. Repeated directions to residents, he claims, will aid in enforcing this new plan. In his experience, there have been residents who were initially skeptical of waste management practices, but who have since changed their minds.
“On the surface, solid waste management seems straightforward, but it actually deals with habit formation and behavioural change,” Mr. Balaji explained.
Citizens, he added, must understand why segregation is necessary, how to segregate their waste, and what steps are involved in segregation. He stated that Urbaser Sumeet has communicated with citizens in interactive ways to ensure that theory is translated into practice. ” Our strategy is very area-specific because the dynamics of each area differ as what works for one doesn’t necessarily enjoy success in another and the Corporation has remained supportive throughout,” he explained.

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