Monday, November 29, 1999

Civic body gets serious about segregation of waste

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Mumbai, May 17 -- To reduce pressure on the city's already overloaded dumping grounds, the BMC wants to make it mandatory for all residential and commercial complexes to segregate waste. The BMC wants to implement this gradually after it has developed the infrastructure needed to sustain segregation at source. This was decided in a meeting with the municipal commissioner in April, after which a circular was issued to all ward officers to strengthen Advanced Local Management (ALM) units across the city to help the initiative. "We want to start strictly implementing segregation of waste at source so minimal waste reaches the dumping grounds. But that will take time - we first want to create awareness about the need to segregate," said Additional Municipal Commissioner, R A Rajeev, who is in charge of the solid waste management (SWM) department. The circular also says the ward officer will have to conduct ward-level meetings, appoint nodal officers to set ward-wise targets for segregation, and penalise defaulters. There is a provision for a minimum penalty of Rs 1,000 in the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000. The nodal officer must give a building society a notice of 30 days before fining them, says the circular. "To begin with, we will conduct a workshop with all 758 registered ALMs across the city. Also, a network on ragpickers will have to be created," said an official from the SWM department. He added that the lesser the waste reaching the dumping grounds, the lower the fee charged by the contractor to process the waste (called tipping fee). The city generates 6,500 metric tonnes of waste every day, which is 460 gm per head. Currently, less than five per cent of that is segregated. The city has only four dumping grounds - Deonar, Gorai, Kanjurmarg and Mulund.The circular also says that such an initiative was undertaken in 2000, but due to lack of infrastructure for collection, transportation and disposal, it did not take off. Current levels of infrastructure are better than they were in 2000, thus offering the promise of better implementation.

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