- Mumbai has fined 5 lakh people in the past 10 months for littering
- All these fines have been imposed by the city's 'Clean-up Marshals'
- These fines have raked in ₹7.9 crores (an average of ₹50 lakhs every month)
Litter is perhaps one of the most of the visible examples of dirt in our urban spaces and in a bid to tackle this problem, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC), Greater Mumbai’s governing civic body, has penalised nearly five lakh people who were found littering. While acting as a deterrent, these fines have also earned the municipal body a whopping ₹7.9 crores in 10 months. The total collection means that, on an average, these fines generate over ₹50 lakhs every month. These fines are imposed by the city’ ‘Clean-Up Marshals’, who have the authority to impose a penalty of up to ₹1,000 on anyone found littering.
“We have seen that where our Clean-up Marshals are stationed people have actually reduced littering. However, it is impossible to have someone everywhere and we are still facing a problem in other areas. We are planning to run an awareness drive to address this problem,” Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) tells NDTV.
The idea to station these marshals was implemented in July 2016 with the municipal body tying up with 22 private security companies which would appoint guards at busy places to crack down on littering and ensure cleanliness. Half of the fine that is collected goes to these companies and the other half goes to the BMC’s treasury.
There has been some amount of controversy about this programme with certain reports claiming that the marshals would unfairly fine people and similar initiatives being abandoned twice before in 2011 and 2014.
When it comes to overall swachhta, Mumbai still has a long way to go. The city came in at the 29th spot in the recently released Swachh Survekshan which evaluated the performance of 434 civic bodies across various sanitation, solid waste management and open defecation parameters. Open defecation and limited access to toilets continue to be some of the greatest challenges the city faces.
Besides the drive to curb littering, BMC is also trying to get pet owners to pick up their pet’s poop which contributes to a significant chunk of the waste found in Mumbai’s footpaths and public places. The civic body has already started a dog poop campaign at Marine Drive.