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MCGM plans towards sustainable, garbage-free city

What are the various programmes undertaken by MCGM in keeping the Mumbai city clean?

More than 60% of the population in Mumbai stay in slums. Lack of proper infrastructure, especially in these areas, makes it difficult to collect garbage from the narrow lanes. The MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) Slum Adoption System (SAS) has been successfully operating in garbage collection for over a decade now. The SAS consisting of selected members of the community are assigned to keep a particular area clean. One volunteer from the SAS group is appointed for every 200 houses or for every 1000 people. The volunteer in-charge of the locality propagates awareness among people and canvases various cleanliness & health schemes of the corporation through circulars. The SAS volunteers are also responsible to bring the garbage from the area to the community dust bins, which are provided by the MCGM. The Corporation has around 526 sansthans, who are paid around र3000 every month as honorarium.

Segregation at source is a major issue because of the heavy population and due to traffic congestion. Even though the MSW Act of 2000 has been enforced in 2003 but it has not yet been implemented in totality. We have implemented rules that have eliminated manual scavenging, multiple handling, close storage and proper transportation.

From April 2011, onwards MCGM has started a dry waste collection scheme, where the corporation has provided one vehicle for every municipal ward (there are 24 municipal wards). We accept participation of the NGOs, ALM (Advanced Locality Management) and the waste pickers for this scheme. Under the scheme, the waste pickers visit each society and every slum in the municipal ward to collect waste. The dry waste collected from the ward is brought to the collection centre for further segregation and from there it is sent to the recycling industry/units. With this scheme, the MCGM has brought the waste picker under the mainstream and also implement segregation of dry waste.

The waste pickers collect the wastes from the commercial area everyday, thrice in a week from the residential area and twice a week from hotels and restaurants. We have received good response from the residents as well as from the commercial units and hotels with this scheme. Apart from the waste collection programme, MCGM have a fixed schedule for manual sweeping of roads. However, we find that maintaining the road is an issue because people tend to litter and dump waste in the open.

The Corporation had also introduced the system of clean-up marshals under the cleanup Mumbai campaign. However, the Corporation had to terminate the services of the marshals due to issues related to fines. MCGM has also introduced mechanised sweeping in both Eastern and Western highways. However, the condition of the roads has to improve. This would automatically improve the quality of the road sweeping. Even the conservancy staff has to be educated on cleanliness and hygiene so that they do not spit or litter on roads. We have a separate training programme to educate and bring awareness for them. We have now made it mandatory for every shopkeeper to keep the waste basket outside their shops and the conservancy staff lift the waste everyday.

How about MCGM’s waste management programme?

The Gorai Dumping ground was scientifically closed in 2007. If a dumping site is not closed scientifically, the carbon will be released in the atmosphere. Waste emits foul smell, increases dust & smoke and creates fly & fire nuisances. When the dumping ground is closed scientifically, it not only prevents hazard but also helps in trapping methane gas. With scientific methods, the Corporation is eligible for earning carbon credits under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). Once the methane gas is generated, it is important to trap and collect it.

The system has been already laid out; we cannot have storage facilities unless there is a processing facility. There can be CNG and even PNG processing plants but with these kinds of processing plants, we need to have purification plants too. When we registered this plant for certain benefits, the conversion of methane to CNG & PNG was not admissible. So we have to work under the waste-to-energy project. Presently, we are ascertaining the exact quantities of methane that is being generated because the Corporation has to also see the consistency. It is first-of its-kind project in India where energy can be generated from the garbage.

Today even people are aware, they want to know when the garbage was brought in, how many times it has been burned, the frequency of gas emission and exhaust during the process. We are ascertaining the exact size of the plant and whether to have 0.5, 0.75 or 1MW plant. The municipal waste deposited in Gorai dumping ground or in that case in its vicinity contains more than 50% of the bio-degradable wastes. This bio-degradable waste contains food, cardboards, papers and many more, which are responsible for generation of methane. We have seen that there has been no change in the property for the last 25-30 years.

When we are saying closure it means the deposited waste and when we say processing it means the new garbage. Till now, whatever composting has been carried out in the dumping site it is based on the quality of garbage. The final mode of disposal depends upon the moisture content in the garbage and that was a challenge for MCGM. We have already begun the integrated solid waste management treatment facility in Deonar, where we will be processing 2500 metric tonnes of MSW per day and it will be sent for composting. We have appointed a private operator on DBOOT basis for a period of 25 years who will take care of disposal. The Corporation will pay tipping fee for it and the contractor will bear the costs for entire operation, construction and maintenance.

There will be 3000 bio-reactor plus 1000 metric tonnes of composting processing facility at Kanjurmarg dumping site. In the Mulund dumping site, MCGM process garbage waste, market waste and hotel/restaurant waste and have a bio-methanisation plant, which will convert waste into energy. We are expecting the plant to be complete in a year’s time. Tenders have already been released for both the dumping sites. The work for waste-to-energy project at Mulund has been awarded in a joint venture with United Phosphorous Limited. The Kanjurmarg project has been awarded to Anthony Waste Handling Pvt Ltd and the Deonar project has been awarded to Tatva Global Environment Ltd in joint venture with a German company MDSL.

MCGM’s main concern with the project is to ensure that the operators are strictly adhering to the environment norms. Mumbai’s dumping ground falls under brown field area, basically marshy land, which is close to creeks and other water bodies. MCGM will be providing tipping fee to the operator for 25 years and in turn the rights of the energy will be with the corporation.

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