Suggestions by Save Bombay Committee and Prakruti
- Part 1
We are responding to points that have been
posted on the Karmayog board on the issue of cleanliness in
last few days. Our replies are indicated with ►
against each point. We apologise for our not being able
to be briefer in our reply than recorded here.
paper has been written based on inputs from several experts in the
area of environment, officials from the Municipal Corporation of
Greater Mumbai and NGOs involved in work in various parts of Mumbai.
Strategy for a Clean Mumbai
The Essential Elements
in the Recent Past
The Tough Decisions
The Essential Elements
Any strategy for a
cleaner Mumbai needs to have the following elements:
o Addressing the problem of
Daily cleaning of the streets and public places (preferably
night cleaning with,
Adequate number of street litter bins at regular intervals
An effective system of penal action against littering, spitting
of waste bins of different capacities in public places
is an open invitation to residents to litter, dump waste, plastic
and aluminium foil packaging, to spit, to urinate and ease in public
spaces. Waste bins placed at strategic places mainly at corners
are used by municipal sweepers to dump their sweepings, by rag
pickers to pick up dirty, filthy items that they bring back to market
for reuse and recycle by the community, by the poorest
to pick up food crumps for their survival, by animals including cows
to feed to stave death and starvation. Milk from
these cows is sold to residents as a nutritious food for growing
Bins are the disease spreaders. They are the most via sign of a diseased
society that supports irresponsibilty in its members to the waste
they create and does not want to own and look after the
waste that create. Bins are the negation of the `Polluter
pays' concept. They are breeders of rats, pests, flies, mosquitoes
etc and are most visible signs of a cockeyed approach of an irresponsible
citizenry callous to environment and public health.
The BMC has set up structures at many strategic points in every ward
and keeps large bins to be lifted mechanically on the excuse
of rationalisation and reduction of labour force. Rag
pickers pass their day and night around such pick up points
in the hope of picking up rags and dry waste. These lifting
points enable the BMC to delay lifting of waste from public
places and to enable organic matter to attract rats, rodents,
insects, flies, mosquitoes etc and generating nauseating stink on
through dumped degrading organic matter. These are illhealth
spreaders to all including municipal sweepers, rag pickers and retrievers,
cattle as well as population staying in the vicinity. They are an
eye soar. Littering will not stop as long as these are
kept in nooks and corners of Mumbai. Householders dump their waste
solution lies in demanding that generators of waste hold their waste
with them in their premises till they are deposited in municipal
trucks. Waste generators should apply preliminary treatment like
diverting dry waste in acceptable form to the market of reuse and
recycling and wet waste to comost.
the problem of Garbage
Adequate arrangements for the chain of collection, storage
and transport of garbage generated by households and commercial
establishments in a sanitary manner in closed containers and vehicles
► Dumping should be totally banned. Waste generators
should be stopped from throwing their waste in any other place
accept emptying in moving waste trucks. They should hold their
waste till trucks arrive.
and penalties to ensure segregation at source and arrangements for
separate chains for collection
► Providing incentives is out of question as the
residents do not pay anything to the BMC for the waste they create. BMC
dies not charge anything ofr lifting waste and hauling away. Practically
the entire expenditure is paid from the general fund leaving
no money for development programmes.
Addressing the problem of Other Types of Waste
Arrangements for separate chains of collection and transport
of demolition wastes, silt from storm-water drains, debris, bio-medical
and hazardous wastes
► Collection and hauling of rejected building
material (debri) should be charged to the generator on cost plus
basis. No resident shall throw such material on road. Restoration
of roads and pavements after excavation should be instantaneous
to original condition. Agencies opening up roads and pavements
should be penalised for delay in restoring.
► Environmental handling of biomedical waste and
toxic waste has to be very strict. Medical practitioners and pharma
labs generate waste at all levels. They are not considered
at all uptill now as dangerous to health and environment.
Special attention needs to be given to these wastes too.
Addressing the problem of open defecation
Adequate number of public/community toilet seats for its
residential and floating population
► Slums that accommodate 65% of Mumbai's population
occupying only 8% of land mass are not provided with toilets
and washing facilities. Save Bombay Committee had pleaded with the
World Bank officials when they came to finalise loan of US $
500 million for Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project to extend additional
loan of $ 100 million to create public sanitary facilities consisting
of toilet seats and washing places for the entire slum population.
The Bank accepted the SBC stand for Public Sanitary facilities consisting
of toilet seats and washing places connected to bio gas and
vermiculture units and extended additional loan of $ 50 million.
The BMC did not involve NGOs and accepted $ 50 million as if this
amount was adequate to provide the Public Sanitary Centers to entire
slums. But the BMC has not utilised even this amount
for that purpose allowing that portion of the loan to lapse.
How can residents expect all this?
► About 15% of residients do not have their own
sanitary facilities. They have common toilets which are never kept
in acceptable condition.
Bath rooms do not exist in chawls. Availability
of Water is the first need. The BNMC has different norms for supply
to flats, chawls and slums discriminating to the lower sections.
o An effective
system of penal action against open defecation
► Not feasible unless adequate number of toilets
at easily accessible places are provided. Penalising a tall dream
Ensuring Appropriate Disposal of all Waste
The collected waste should be disposed of in a manner that
is environmentally safe and sustainable
► Present practice of disposing off of waste us
is wrong creating pollution, diseases. The BMC does not want to
implement environmental acceptable sustainable programmes.
Ensuring Safety of the Workforce
Workers involved in the cleaning, collection, transport and
disposal of waste are provided with the necessary protective gear,
tools and equipments required for their health, safety and productivity;
► BMC does not attend to this aspect. BMC attitude
is unfriendly, rather inimical to low ranking workers
who can maintain minimum level of cleanliness.
Introducing Competition in the Solid Waste Management function
A transparent system created through a system of user charges
to be paid by generators of waste.
► User charges are not leviable at present as
the BMC does not charge anything for solid waste and sewage
services. All expenditure incurred is paid out from general fund
at the cost of development. New approach is essential and can be
gradually developed with citizen cooperation. BMC does not maintain
any contact with residents, the main stakeholders jemce acceptance
of this approach is difficult.
licensing of all public and private entities involved in the handling,
transport and recycling of waste and putting in place a regulatory
mechanism to regulate the licensed entities.
► There is hardly any agency allowed in this area.
Object should be clear and strong vigilant regulatory agency to
be identified before introducing this system.
licensed private operators to provide services to the citizens dissatisfied
with the services provided by the primary public service provider
( e.g. the SWM department of MCGM)
► Not feasible and possible. No agency will come
forward as there is no charge collected at present. Residents
will not accept first charging for introducing new system. No need
unless object is clear.
What is required
is setting up independent regulatory agency empowered adequately
to lay down norms and get implemented consisting of residents.
BMC on its own will not and frankly cannot regulate and monitor
in public interest.
SAVE BOMBAY COMMITTEE
620, Jame Jamshed Road, Dadar East,
Mumbai - 400 014
Tel: 0091 22 24149688
Kisan Mehta - Mobile 92234 48857
Priya Salvi - Mobile 93231 96420