It is not surprising if the prime industrial area of Pune, Hinjewadi, is not connected to the sewer lines. It is not equally astonishing either to learn that Andheri East, a commercial hub of Mumbai, has only septic tanks to store sewage! If this is the case in major metros, at the rural level hardly 20% of the population has access to proper sanitation facility. Over and above, a large section of the population defecates under the sky, which is carried by the nallahs of the cities. The substantial network of the Indian sewer lines and drains were constructed during the colonial era and many others were added post independence. Nevertheless, growing urban populace, overloading of existing sewers and lack of maintenance have impacted the functioning and the very existence of these lines; in many cases the lines are choked or overflowing and in some cases, they have caved in leaving a huge crater on the road. Lack of proper sewer de-choking and preventive maintenance have led to corrosion too.
There are various ‘Sustainability’ issues concerning waste management in India. Most projects started with good intention by the urban bodies failed to take off. R. A. Rajeev, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, discusses the need for right financial model for such projects.