- The waste segregation campaign will run until October 2, 2017
- Motive behind the campaign is to reduce waste load from the landfills
- Two-bin system, a nationwide policy will also be introduced
India’s waste management is a mess and we aren’t helping! Our country generates more than 1,00,000 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, which is higher than many countries’ total daily waste generation taken together. One of the biggest issues in dealing with India’s waste problem is that most are unaware and hence unconcerned. Hence, the first challenge is to know why it is important to segregate waste, and secondly, to learn how to segregate the waste. Presently, even if waste segregation is being done, the segregated waste is also being dumped into the landfills, which defeats the purpose of the whole exercise. The idea of waste segregation is to categorise the waste and then adopt relevant treatment mechanism for each kind of waste. Like making compost out of kitchen and other organic waste or recycling plastic and other inorganic waste and then a different mechanism for hazardous and other solid wastes like diapers and menstrual waste. Currently, our country does not have this mechanism in place to identify different types of waste and treat each of these categories of waste accordingly.
In order to overcome India’s waste management crisis, the government has decided to launch a campaign in order to start a mini waste management revolution in India from June 5, the World Environment Day. The campaign will continue till October 2. Here are the top 5 things to know about this campaign:
1. Government Is Going Big: The Urban Development Ministry along with the state governments and local authorities will cover 4,000 statutory towns of India, simply to educate the masses about the waste management programme – Why waste segregation is important, how to segregate. This is being done in order to streamline the process of garbage collection and management of waste. The awareness and education drive will be held by the state government and urban local bodies in the respective towns for four-months, starting from June 5 till October 2, 2017, the aim is to inculcate the habit of waste segregation at source among the citizens.
2. Waste Segregation Is Not Just A Mantra, It Is Mandatory: Did you know under the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, waste segregation at source is a mandate? But, till now, there has not been a cohesive and widespread adoption of this practice. In layman’s terms, waste segregation at source means that waste generators need to segregate the waste at household level and give segregated waste to waste pickers or ragpickers. With the motive to manage waste effectively and treating it scientifically, the government is asking people to segregate waste at two levels – biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste.
3. Introduction Of Two-Bin Waste Segregation System: Currently in India, there is no one particular guideline that can be followed when it comes to waste segregation. Take for instance, Mysuru is following a two bin model, Panaji is following a five bin model system and Bengaluru is following a 2 bin and 1 bag system. Though all these three cities currently are segregating almost 50% of the waste generated by them, but the guidelines are different. The end result is that there is lot of confusion and that’s the reason why waste management today has become an enormous issue. To deal with this situation, on this World Environment Day, the government will pass a nation-wide guideline on using a two-bin system across the country —a green coloured bin for biodegradable wet waste and a blue coloured one for dry or non-biodegradable waste.
4. Why Waste Segregation Is Important: Today, as waste generators, whatever we throw into the dustbins makes its way to our already overflowing and dying landfills and a whopping 75% remains untreated. This is a problem at multiple levels. First, we are running out of space in these landfills. Secondly, these landfills are ticking time bombs waiting to explode in terms of health hazards. They contaminate the soil and ground water, plus pollute the air. Thirdly, landfills can cause fires and can emit dangerous fumes from the combustion of the wide range of materials contained within. Key parameters of concern are carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, volatile organics. If waste is segregated and each category of waste treated scientifically as per guidelines then all kinds of waste are treated and not dumped in the landfill. This will reduce the burden on these landfills. If we look at the successful countries that have cracked the waste management solution like Sweden, Columbia and Indonesia, to name a few, we find that in all these countries people segregate waste as a habit.
Starting from World Environment day, the government plans to introduce waste segregation as a habit in all the 4,000 cities of India. For this they will introduce the special vehicles, equipments and a mechanism to treat the segregated waste efficiently. The government will try to streamline, first the local authorities and the state government will also have a system in place to collect the segregated waste from the waste generators. Once collected, the government will put a scientific system to treat it effectively – from composting to recycling to prevent garbage from burdening India’s overflowing landfills.
5. World Environment Day Activities Planned: On June 5, the World Environment Day the launch of source segregation initiative will be done by Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Naidu at two locations, New Delhi at Talkatora Indoor Stadium and Indore at Dussehra Maidan.
The event will first kick start in New Delhi at 10:30 am by Venkaiah Naidu with an exhibition that will showcase the roadmap of urban local bodies for segregation of waste followed by virtual inauguration of public bins that will underline the nationwide guidelines of 2-bin system.
As the focus this year is on the theme of waste management, also on display will be tools, equipment and models adopted to maintain cleanliness in New Delhi by different local civic bodies – North, South, East and New Delhi Municipal Corporation. Mr Naidu will also felicitate Resident Welfare Associations, Hotels, Restaurants and municipal workers for their work to make India Swachh.
Coming to the cleanest city of India – Indore, the second event to mark the beginning of nationwide waste segregation and two-bin programme across 4,000 cities will take place at Dussehra Maidan from 5 pm. The event will be attended by Mr Naidu, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, State Urban Development Minister Maya Singh and Joint Secretary Swachh Bharat Mission Praveen Prakash. Apart from the exhibition that will display customised equipments used in the process of waste segregation, the top five wards will be felicitated by Mr Naidu for the ‘Best Waste Segregation’ award.