Monday, July 25, 2016

Why Pune Does a Good Job with Municipal Waste Management?

All of India’s metropolises are grappling with problems of pollution, poor air quality, no sewage treatment and inadequate solid waste disposal. We ignore the issues until they suddenly erupt in the form of frequent fires at overused dumping grounds (Mumbai), lakes frothing with toxic foam that hit the streets or mass death of fish (Bengaluru), cities being flooded (Chennai) or having to resort to extreme traffic restraints (Delhi). Here are four things that seem to be working in Pune where the integrated SWM effort has ensured high (50%-55%) segregation at source in a city that generates 1600-1700mtd (metric tonnes a day) of waste every day.
  1. Right Man for the Job: Committed and dynamic individuals drive change. In Pune, joint municipal commissioner, Suresh Jagtap is the driving force and seems totally committed to the 4Rs (reduction, reuse, recycle and recover) of sustainable development. Concerned Punekars acknowledge that there is genuine ‘stakeholder engagement’ and accountability that extends from rag-pickers’ collectives, to NGOs, citizens’ groups, educational institution and elected corporators. This is through increased transparency and a third-party audit by three educational institutions who produce a well publicised colour-coded monthly scorecard on how each corporator’s constituency has fared on the SWM front. 
  2. Multiple Solutions: PMC has combined an integrated approach with a decentralised waste management strategy that encourages NGOs and private sector participation. It has 25 decentralised bio-methane plants which produce 600kw of electricity and compost; the 300tpd NEX plant that converts food waste to bio-CNG, 300TPB (total plumbum) vermi-compost and compost projects (Ajinkya Biofert and Disha), and the Rochem Separation Systems which processes mixed waste to produce 300tpd producing RDF (refuse derived fuel). It also has 13 smaller composting plants. Townships such as the unique Magarpatta City in Pune also take pride in being near-zero garbage as just a part of its focus on eco-sustainability. Key to efficient waste sorting and collection are large organisations such as SWACH (Solid Waste Handlers and Collectors’ Society), at the ground level.
  3. Incentives & Fees: Segregation of waste has been made mandatory for all residents with the levy of user charges. At the same time, there is a 5% tax rebate for those who have onsite waste disposal facilities. PMC makes it a point to highlight and celebrate those who adopt innovative solutions and practices in SWM and sanitation, through awards and recognition. 
  4. Public-private Partnership: Part of Pune’s success in waste management is its ability to persuade, and work with, private CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives such as the Adar Poonawalla Clean City Movement (APCCM) which pledged Rs100 crore to the city’s waste management efforts. The NEX project, including the land, is fully funded by APCCM; in addition, it has contributed to awareness building, welfare measures for grassroots workers and providing litterbins and mechanised cleaning at specific public spots. The model is working well so far; the process of recycling waste to recover energy is complete.
Read the full article @ Money Life

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