Muzaffarpur Nagar Nigam joins hands with Centre for Science and Environment to turn Muzaffarpur into a smart, clean city
‘SWACHHTA SWASTHYA SAMRIDHI’ – a workshop on management of solid waste and sanitation in Muzaffarpur - sees participation by all key municipal functionaries and political leaders of the city
Muzaffarpur (Bihar), December 15, 2016: India’s waste management story is tragic because despite having accepted that segregation of waste at source is an absolute must, we have rarely done it. This is the scenario in almost every city in the country. And Muzaffarpur is no exception. The city has no clear idea about how much waste it generates; neither does it segregate waste at source. It needs to buckle up and change, if it does not wish to drown in its own waste – said speakers addressing a workshop organised here today.
The workshop – titled ‘SWACHHTA SWASTHYA SAMRIDHI’ -- was jointly organised by the New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), and the Muzaffarpur Nagar Nigam. It aimed at bringing together various stakeholders from the city to discuss the best possible ways to manage solid waste and sanitation in Muzaffarpur.
At the workshop, an MOU was signed between CSE and the Nagar Nigam. Under the MOU, CSE will help in developing a framework for better solid waste management in the city and will play an important role in monitoring the programme. The Nagar Nigam will execute this project.
The workshop was attended by all the top administrative functionaries of the city, including the mayor, commissioner, ward parishad representatives, city sanitation task force members and political leaders.
According to available estimates, Muzaffarpur generates about 170 metric tonnes of waste daily, with per capita waste generation being close to 300 grams/person/day. The Muzaffarpur Nagar Nigam is responsible for solid waste management in the town. However, it has only invested in collection and transportation of waste to a dumping yard, situated 12 km away from the city in a village called Rautiniya. No treatment or processing of waste is undertaken.
A major proportion of the waste generated in Muzaffarpur -- approximately 55 per cent -- is organic. This is followed by inert waste (29 per cent), plastics, paper etc. Plastic littering is a huge problem in the city.
Addressing the workshop, CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said that the joint programme on sanitation can help transform Muzaffarpur into a smart city. “The city is drowning under a massive burden of diseases due to poor sanitation and ineffectual solid waste management -- hence the dire need for an intervention of this kind,” he said.
The commissioner of Muzaffarpur Nagar Nigam, Ramesh Ranjan Prasad lauded the efforts of CSE and assured his full cooperation towards the success of this programme. The city mayor, Varsha Singh, agreed and said that this would be a giant leap for Muzaffarpur.
CSE has recently completed a report -- titled Not in my backyard – on the subject of solid waste management in Indian cities. Yesterday, the report’s regional release was organised in Patna (see press release); the report had been released earlier in the year in New Delhi by the Union urban development minister, M Venkaiah Naidu.
The report points out that in 2008, India produced 48 million tonnes (MT) of solid waste as per one estimate; by 2016, this had gone up to 52 MT. The Department of Economic Affairs has projected that by 2047, India would be producing 260 MT of waste annually needing over 1,400 sq km of landfills. This is an area equal to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai put together!
“In this kind of an apocalyptic scenario, it is critical that cities proactively engage to manage their waste better. We hope that our joint initiative with the Nagar Nigam would allow us to do that in the case of Muzaffarpur,” said Bhushan.
What direction should waste management take in cities? What does the future hold in store? Are landfills the answer? Is Waste-to-energy technology still a good bet? Why segregation is the key? What is the best model to adopt? These are some of the questions that come to our minds when we discuss waste management in India.