New Delhi: India’s second cleanest city after Indore, Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh, is also known as a model city for the best waste management practices. And the city has once again proved that it is way ahead in its waste management game. The city’s municipal corporation on Monday announced that the corporation will construct country’s first garbage café in Ambikapur soon wherein food to the poor and homeless will be provided free of cost in lieu of plastic waste. Explaining the concept, Mayor Ajay Tirkey of Ambikapur said,
The city has been known for its unique waste management concept. We have been awarded as one of India’s best city in ‘Innovation and Best Practices’ (population 1 – 3 lakh) category in Swachh Survekshan 2018. In 2019, we were adjudged India’s second cleanest city. Keeping the same momentum, this time we thought of ‘Garbage Café Scheme’. The scheme follows one simple rule – garbage lao aur khanna le jao. Under this, poor and homeless people fetching 1 kg plastic waste will be offered a full meal while those collecting 500 grams waste will get a substantial breakfast. Currently, we have planned to kick-start one such café, depending on its success the corporation will decide the future plan of action.
Ajay Tirkey further added that the garbage café that will run from city’s main bus stand will act as a collection point of waste and will solve two problems – one will provide food to the homeless and poor people and secondly will motivate them to get involved with the corporation and help them manage its waste effectively.
He said, “Plastic collected from here will then be utilised for the construction of roads in the city.”
This is not the first such road that will be built in the city, earlier 8 lakh plastic bags were used to build a road in Ambikapur as a pilot project to test the durability. The corporation claims that as of now no problem has been faced and that is the reason why they have decided to construct more roads utilising plastic waste.
These recent announcements were made by the corporation while announcing the local civic body’s budget on Monday. For the Garbage Cafe scheme, allocation of Rs 5 lakh has been done. Mr Tirkey said that apart from providing free meals to the poor there is also a plan to provide free shelter to the homeless who collect plastic waste.
Our motto is to involve these people in managing the city’s waste effectively and in return corporation will take care of them, added Mr Tirkey.
This is not the first time Ambikapur has come out with the solutions to manage the city’s waste effectively. In fact, it was one of the first cities in India to start the practice of waste segregation. Since 2015, there is a mandate in the city that each household needs to give waste in a segregated form – wet and dry waste. Wet waste that comprises of the kitchen scraps and is biodegradable whereas dry waste includes things like plastic bags, plastic packaging, bottles, tetra packs, etc. that are non-biodegradable.
There are around 447 sanitation workers in the city who go out every morning and cover each household to collect the segregated waste so that this can be further treated. The waste collected by the waste pickers then goes to 17 secondary segregation centres within the city where it is sorted further into various categories and is sent for recycling, composting or other kinds of processing depending on the type of waste. Moreover, Ambikapur is one of the few cities that are actually making money from their waste treatment. According to the civic body, on a monthly basis, Ambikapur is earning Rs. 1 lakh by converting its wet waste into compost, and around Rs. 6-8 lakh from the sale of recyclable items and some amount as user charges (which the municipal corporation charges from each household for managing their waste).
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.