‘Citizens must pay for waste treatment’

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014

At a webinar organized by the Smart Cities India 2020 Expo and Green Dream Foundation on June 16, Mr. V.K. Jindal, Joint Secretary & Mission Director – Swachh Bharat Mission elaborated on the measures being taken to raise the accountability of cities as part of the Swachh Survekshan.

“A lot of checks and balances have been instituted, including quarterly checks as opposed to earlier annual ones,” Mr Jindal informed webinar host Ashish Sachdeva, Founder President of the Green Dream Foundation. “As a result of these changes, ground realities now match the certification. Among other things, we plan to introduce regulations that can motivate Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) by making financial aid dependent on the ratings they recieve.”

Here are some of the other key points made by Mr Jindal during the webinar:

  • Prior to the launch of Swacch Bharat Mission in 2014, only 18 % of solid waste was being processed in India.
  • In India, total waste processing capacity has grown from 26,000 tonnes/day to 108,000 tonnes/day since 2014; Additional processing capacity of 34,000 is under-construction.
  • Waste segregation has risen from a mere 30% to about 70% across the nation (source and elsewhere included)
  • The following 3Ps can be used to bring about changes in citizens’ attitudes to waste management: Pray, Persuade and Penalize. We have to reason with the public, which most people respond to; then incentivize them to adopt good waste management habits, failing which penalties should be imposed.

Mr Jindal also spoke of the importance of decentralised waste management. “Many residential societies in Bangalore, Navi Mumbai and even government colonies across New Delhi did not have waste collection services, but have been instituted now.  In time, ULBs will have to impose the responsibility of waste management on bulk generators to either manage it themselves, or outsource to a decentralized waste collector. For instance, Bangalore has impaneled a few such private companies that a bulk generator can choose from.”

“We should also enforce a nominal charge on citizens for waste generation. If we can drive value in waste disposal, I’m sure a lot of new ideas and entrepreneurship will grow and minimal waste will be generated,” said Mr Jindal.

A video recording of the webinar is available here.

Picture Credit: M. Asokan, PM Modi launches the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (1)CC BY-SA 2.0

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