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  Home >> Cleanliness >> Suggestions by Save Bombay Committee and Prakruti (part 1)


Suggestions by Save Bombay Committee and Prakruti - Part 1                                        Part 2

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. 

This 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 
        Initiatives Undertaken in the Recent Past
        The Roadblocks
        Initiatives Currently Undertaken
        The Tough Decisions Required

The Essential Elements

Any strategy for a cleaner Mumbai needs to have the following elements:

o       Addressing the problem of Littering
o       Daily cleaning of the streets and public places (preferably night cleaning with,
o       Adequate number of street litter bins at regular intervals
o       An effective system of penal action against littering, spitting etc

Keeping 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 children.  

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 here only.

The 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.  

o       Addressing the problem of Garbage
o       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.

o       Incentives 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.

o        Addressing the problem of Other Types of Waste  
o       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.     

o        Addressing the problem of open defecation
o       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

o        Ensuring Appropriate Disposal of all Waste
o       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.

o        Ensuring Safety of the Workforce
o       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.   

o        Introducing Competition in the Solid Waste Management function
o       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.

o       Registration/ 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.  

o       Allowing 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.  

Kisan Mehta        Priya Salvi      

620, Jame Jamshed Road, Dadar East,
Mumbai - 400 014
Tel: 0091 22 24149688
Kisan Mehta - Mobile 92234 48857
Priya Salvi    - Mobile 93231 96420 

Part 2

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner