Solid waste management is one of the major issues confronting most municipal corporations in every state. Given the limitations of starting new landfill sites and the existing sites already operating more than the capacity corporations are in dire straits. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is no exception. In an exclusive interview, Municipal Commissioner of Delhi K S Mehra shares with Mohana M the efforts made by the Corporation towards a clean and green Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The three mammoth tasks of collection, transportation and disposal of waste undertaken by every corporation at every level is still a challenge in most States. The ever- increasing garbage at the dumping grounds poses a threat not only to the environment but has become a menace to the surrounding residential areas.
This issue needs to be tackled efficiently right from the stage of collection, says K S Mehra. “The tasks of collecting garbage from various places, then transporting it to the dumpsite and then processing & treating it appropriately are important to avoid pollution. In order to implement a comprehensive solution to these issues, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi since June this year has outsourced the processes of collection, transportation and treatment to private concessionaires and the results are quite satisfactory.”
Collection of garbage becomes a difficult task when it is scattered all over. Most of the streets in any town have garbage bins overflowing. “In order to arrest the spread of garbage and to do away with the need for garbage bins in every street, we have implemented a unique door-to-door collection of garbage system. This way we can ensure there is no garbage lying around anywhere in the city.”
Under the door-to-door system, MCD has outsourced the operations to Ramky Infrastructure. “No other corporation to my knowledge has implemented this system whereby a single agency collects the garbage, transports it to the sanitary landfill sites and processes it too. The system is functioning effectively.”
At present, MCD has implemented door-to-door collection of garbage on an experiment basis at Rohini and Civil Lines. “We will soon be extending it to all the zones. We hope that in times to come there will be no requirement for garbage bins. But that will take some time.”
More than streets, market places generate much higher amount of garbage and continuous removal of garbage is not feasible. The garbage invariably gets scattered and makes the place dirty. “We are looking at putting up an underground receptacle. These receptacles can be cleared from time to time with specialised machines. The advantage in this system is that there is no garbage on the surface and hence, there is no smell or question of overflowing bins. We are experimenting with this deep collection system in one of the zones. Soon we will be installing such receptacles, especially in the market places, around the city”
In many other States, collection and disposal of hospital waste has remained an issue. “But in Delhi, hospital waste as such is mostly treated within the premises. Other wastes from the hospitals are disposed off as per the rules of the Corporation,” says Mehra.
Garbage collected also needs to be transported at the appropriate time to the dumpsite which is usually at a distance from the city. “By outsourcing the transportation to Ramky, the process is centralised and foolproof.” Delhi has three landfill sites at Okhla, Bhalaswa and Ghazipur which are already operating at full capacity. “All the three landfill sites are overflowing and we have no other alternative. But soon this problem will be put to an end. In a most interesting development, two years down the line MCD will be generating power from garbage. MCD is planning to put up a gas recovery plant at the dumpsite to reuse garbage for electricity. Garbage dumps in the capital would soon be put to good use.”
Around 7000 metric tonnes of waste will be utilised to generate 50MW of electricity. “With the commencement of the power generation plant, the garbage load on the dumpsite will also reduce. It will also clear the air in the surrounding area and considerably reduce the hardships faced by residents due to foul smell emanating from the sites.
“In the first instance we have started covering the landfill sites with debris and mud which has reduced the odour to a large extent. Now, we are in the process of planting bougainvillea plants on the dumpsites. In the coming few months, these plants will start flowering. This will not only take care of the odour but will make the area green.”
The MCD is set to make Delhi clean and green in preparation to the upcoming Commonwealth Games. “We have around 14,000 parks in Delhi which is being maintained by us and we plan to make them better. This year, we are planning to plant around two lakh saplings around the city. Especially for the CWG, we were asked to keep 10 lakh saplings ready which we have already completed. These will be used to beautify Delhi during the games.”
For the cleaning of the roads, MCD is adopting mechanised sweeping systems. “In times to come, we plan to deploy around 35 sweeping machines around the city. We are already in the process of obtaining details at this end. We are well prepared for the Commonwealth Games and will keep the city clean. We will make every effort to ensure that no garbage is left around.”
Where sanitation is concerned, public urinals are being put up in the city. “In the last one year, we have experimented with waterless urinals at the Town Hall and we have found it to be very effective. Around 1000 such toilets will be set up in the city. With such urinals we will be able to save considerable amount of water too.” There are many companies providing us the technology for urinals, he adds.