29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM

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Citizens key to garbage management
Jyoti Nalawade | Sunday, 14 May 2017 AT 10:50 AM IST
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Pune may not rank among India’s cleanest cities yet. However, it is now a part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Smart Cities’ initiative and has taken big strides in improving its solid waste management problems in recent years. The success of the ‘Pune model’ of Solid Waste Management (SWM) has often been discussed in other cities.

The solid waste management department in Pune has been trying hard to keep the city clean and has achieved it too to some extent. However, the picture is not consistent in all parts of the city. Some parts of the city are still struggling with garbage and disposal issues. It would be wrong to say that no efforts are being taken to curb this issue, but these efforts are one sided and measures need to be taken to improve the present situation, rather than just politicising it. In order to improve the situation, one needs to understand the issue. Let’s take a look at the kinds of waste generated:

Segregation at source
Pune’s integrated SWM effort has ensured 50-55 per cent segregation at source after generating 1600-1700 mtd (metric tonnes a day) of waste every day. This figure has improved over time, but it needs to go higher as it is the root problem in garbage disposal.

Pune region, which includes Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad, cantonment areas around Pune and the IT belt in Hinjewadi, generates around 10,000 MT of E-Waste per annum. The E-waste collection drives, ‘V collect’, are organised by PMC. An authorised E-waste collection centre in Kothrud is also functional.

Plastic Waste
Since plastic products are a part of our daily life, the waste generated from it is more. Seventy per cent of plastic produced is converted into waste. There are 200 material recovery centres to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover 170 to 180 MT of plastic waste generated per day. In addition, there are 20 bottle crushing machines all over the city.

Construction and Demolition Waste
PMC generates approximately 250 MT per day of Construction and Demolition waste from various sources. The district administration has already allocated 2 acres of land in Wagholi for construction and demolition waste processing. The PMC has taken care of collection of this waste from various parts of the city on a contract basis. However there is no record of how much of the waste is processed.

Biomedical Waste
PMC has outsourced collection, transportation and disposal of biomedical waste from various health care establishments. The waste is collected in three colour coded bags - yellow (for incineration), red (shredding or recycling or landfill) and white (sharp and glass material that is chemically treated and sent to hazardous treatment plant located at Ranjangaon). Even though the capacity of five tonnes has been augmented to 10 tonnes, it is not sufficient for the increasing population of a city like Pune. Also, the percentage of disposed biomedical waste is nowhere in the records.

Sanitary Waste
There are three locations across the city for scientific disposal of up to 900 pieces of sanitary napkins from all over the city. However, the response to these three machines is not impressive enough to make any development in the disposing of sanitary napkins. PMC has asked citizens to dispose their napkins in a specific bag or mark it in a certain way to make sure that part of waste goes to one of these three locations. However, that is not happening and the project is struggling to give results. Meanwhile, 15 more locations for sanitary waste disposal have been proposed by PMC.

Garden waste
Pune city has a 28 per cent green cover. Therefore, the city generates 60 to 70 MT of garden waste daily. A separate collection system is in place for collecting the waste, shredding it and transporting it to a centralised processing system.

Wet waste processing plants
There are five processing plants where wet waste is being process at present. Three of them are situated at Hadapsar. One is in Uruli, which has the largest capacity, and the fifth is in Talegaon. Simultaneously, Pune Municipal Corporation is encouraging NGOs and private sector participation in the cleanliness project. It has 25 decentralised bio-methane plants which produce 600kw of electricity and compost.

Taking all the statistics into considerations, the efforts being taken, but citizen’s response is lacking. This will not help the city top the clean city chart. Even after constant awareness, segregation is not happening consistently. Garbage bins have been removed, but garbage dumping still takes place at many places, and littering of all sorts has not stopped.

With a population of over 45 lakh, the amount of total waste collected per day is close to 1,800 tonnes. Imagine the amount of waste five years down the line. The situation will be worse if hygiene practices are carried out in this manner. Therefore, to help the situation, outsourcing of the waste management is done. NGOs like SWaCH, Youngsutra are pitching in. Initiatives like THINK BEFORE YOU THROW and Adar Poonawalla Clean City Movement have been started.

At many places in the city, SWaCH workers have raised service fees and residents are not ready to give that. On an average, SWaCH charges Rs 60 per house per month. Pune’s lifestyle is growing higher and higher and therefore the amount of waste generated also increases, because shopping increases. Now, if a citizen is ready to spend enough on his lifestyle, he should be able to pay Rs 60 for waste management. The mindset to get services for free needs to be changed.

Adar Poonawalla Clean City Movement by Youngsutra has extended its support to provide all the required equipment, machinery, government help and facilities. However, nothing is possible without the participation and contribution from citizens.

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