However, sounds an alarm over ranks accorded to cities which are merely visibly clean, but do not follow sustainable practices
New Delhi, May 17, 2018: “Swachh Survekshan 2018 is an improvement on surveys done earlier because it has encouraged innovation and sustainability,” said Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) here today, welcoming the latest cleanliness survey results released by the government.
Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE, said: “There is a clear improvement in the methodology adopted by the survey – we see more focus on innovation, and on adoption of sustainable waste management practices. However, some of the cities that have been selected for the awards are merely visibly clean and cannot claim to have adopted sustainable practices.”
CSE had advocated categorization of cities by population; CSE had pointed out that it is incorrect and misleading to place cities with different populations in the same category of ranking. Swachh Survekshan 2018 has followed the broad population-based categories, several sub-categories have been introduced— such as the cleanest city or the fastest moving city, and cities with best solid waste management practices, highest citizen feedback, best innovation and practices, etc.
CSE’s Forum of Cities that Segregate scores points
“Cities which are members of Forum of Cities that Segregate have bagged several awards, and we congratulate them for the effort that they have put in. Mysuru, for instance, a pioneer in waste management, has been ranked India’s cleanest city in the 3-10 lakh population bracket. Mysuru treats close to 60 tonnes of wet waste and 90 tonnes of dry waste every day through a decentralised waste management system, and 85 per cent of the city is segregating its waste,” said Swati Singh Sambyal, programme manager, waste management, CSE.
The Forum was instituted by CSE in December 2017, and now has 20 cities from 13 states as its members. Cities in the Forum actively work towards promoting and implementing waste management through segregation of waste at source. The Forum’s 2018 conclave is scheduled to be held in Delhi on June 7, 2018.
Indore and Bhopal, which held leading ranks in the previous Survekshan, have shown significant improvement this year in segregation at source and opting for decentralised waste management. Greater Hyderabad has been recognised for the best solid waste management practice amongst all capital cities/UTs in the country.
When it comes to cities with less than 100,000 population, Panchgani, a small hillstation, has emerged as the cleanest in the west zone.The city encourages practices such as 100 percent source segregation, collection and processing of solid waste. Panaji, which has emerged as the best innovator in the west zone, was recognised by CSE in 2016 as one of the cleanest and most efficient cities for its waste management.
Said Bhushan: “The past few years have witnessed a paradigm shift, with the key focus moving to segregation at source and processing from collecting and dumping. It has been observed that collection of segregated waste is the most critical issue in the entire management of solid waste. Such efforts are either restricted to a few localities/wards within a town with only a few urban local bodies that have taken up such efforts at the entire town level. Also, it is imperative for cities to create adequate infrastructure for collection and processing of segregated waste.”
“One major anomaly in the Survekshan results is that it continues to mark cities on their door-to-door collection systems.But some cities do not practice door-to-door, and yet are the cleanest, adopting in-situ treatment of wet waste and collection of dry waste by the local body,” said Swati Singh Sambyal.
Most of the waste in these cities is converted into compost or biogas. Inorganic wastes like plastic, glass, metals, papers etc are sent for recycling. These cities make money from solid waste rather than spending crores of rupees in collecting and transporting waste to landfills, pointed out CSE researchers.
Added Sambyal: “In the 52 categories announced, majority of the cities are merely visibly clean with no appropriate systems for processing and disposal. They continue to collectwaste and indiscriminately dumping it in under-functional processing sites/landfills/dumpsites.”
Chandigarh (third cleanest in the recent results) has no effective collection system to transfer segregated waste and has received much flak in the recent past for this from local residents and RWAs. The city’s processing plant, managed by the Jaypee group in Dadu Majra, has been under legal turmoil. Cities such as Tirupati, Aligarh and Ghaziabad have no proper processing and disposal mechanisms in place.
‘This year’s Survekshan has definitely made significant improvements. However, cities must shift their focus towards creating end-to-end systems to support segregation with effective processing and disposal mechanisms. Only then will such ranking systems work in changing the solid waste management scenario in the country,”summed up Bhushan.
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