New Delhi: On March 24 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days to control the spread of the highly contagious novel-coronavirus. The lockdown has some serious consequences on the social and economic front, especially for the poor who are bearing the brunt of loss of income and are in real danger of facing hunger if the promised financial help doesn’t reach them soon. But there have been some positive fallouts as well. The air quality has never been better, add a line about the drop in air pollution and hyperlink it to our story. And now Gujarat’s Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has observed approximately forty percent reduction in the quantity of waste generated during the first six days of the lockdown, especially in the public places across the city, an official told NDTV.
The quantity of waste generated in Ahmedabad has dropped from 4,000 metric ton to 2,500 metric ton. The littering has reduced significantly because there are no people outside. Nobody is spitting on the roads anymore. Except for the shops selling essential commodities, all the shops are closed, so even the plastic generation is less, he explained.
He further said that the popular belief suggests that it takes 21 days to cultivate a new habit. Coincidently the lockdown in India to fight the COVID-19 is also for 21 days, and the administration hopes that people come out of it motivated to keep the public places clean.
We hope that people get to know about this positive impact of the lockdown throughout the country and use these days to make cleanliness a way of life. In the US and the UK, the roads are not cleaned every day, but only once a month and yet the places remain litter-free. Here in India, we carry out cleaning of public places every single day, and yet collect a ton of litter. We want people to change their old habits and contribute towards keeping Ahmedabad as well as the country clean.
An officer from the Solid Waste Management department told NDTV that he is optimistic that the people of Ahmedabad will change their approach to cleanliness post the lockdown.
Dry waste generation has reduced in the city significantly. Out of the 2,500 metric tonnes of waste that is being collected during the lockdown, about 80-90 per cent is kitchen waste because everyone is home. If citizens look at the roads of the city now, they will realise that it was they who were responsible for the filth in the city. If we change our habits, we can change the hygiene of our city too and AMC hopes city will make cleanliness a non-negotiable way of life even after we tide over the crisis, he said.
An AMC official also told NDTV that almost 200 drivers of waste collection vans have left for their hometowns after the lockdown was announced.
There are around 1,500 such drivers who work for the contractor who is tasked with AMC’s door-to-door waste collection. Due to the sudden shortfall of the drivers, some areas have been facing problems like the vans reaching an hour or two late to pick up the waste.
However, despite the hurdles, waste collection and cleaning of the roads and public places are being carried out as usual, the officer claimed.