New Delhi: Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur with a population of 1.45 lakh generates 52 metric tonnes of waste on a daily basis. But instead of putting the waste into dumpyards or landfills as the conventional practice, the city is converting its waste into wealth. Today, the city’s waste to wealth economy has a turnover of Rs 20-25 lakh per month. And that’s the reason why the city has been rewarded as one of India’s best city in ‘Innovation and Best Practices’ (population 1 – 3 lakh) category in Swachh Survekshan 2018. The results of the survey were announced by Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs on Wednesday. Speaking to NDTV, about Ambikapur’s success waste management model, Suryakiran Tiwari Agarwal, Municipal Commissioner of Ambikapur said,
In Ambikapur, garbage or waste is not just the sanitation pickers’ responsibility – all stakeholders are involved in this process – from ragpickers to citizens and municipal corporation worker, everyone is involved in this waste management chain.
Since 2015, there is a mandate in the city that each household needs to give waste in segregated form – wet and dry waste. There are 447 sanitation workers that go out every morning and cover each household to collect the segregated waste so that this can be further treated. The waste collected 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.
We are following one simple thumb rule – waste should not be treated as waste. It gives us wealth so, it should be treated well and not even a single piece should be sent into a trash bin. The wet waste is either converted into compost which we sell or used in biodigesters to make cooking gas. The dry wastes is sorted into paper, plastic, metal, etc. at these centres and then send to the right recycling units according to the type of material at a cost price, said Suryakiran Tiwari Agarwal.
On a monthly basis, simply by processing its waste effectively, Ambikapur is earning Rs 1 lakh by converting its wet waste into compost, whereas Rs 6-8 lakh from the sale of recyclable items and some amount as user charges (which the municipal corporation charged from each household for managing their waste.
Explaining the collection process and the monitoring process of waste collection, Ms Agarwal added,
What we have done is that we have taken this whole process of collection on a dashboard system online. The reason is that it makes the monitoring of the whole activity easy and since everyone is accountable, we get a clear picture of who is not doing his/her job properly. We have 142 rickshaws/e-rickshaws that are equipped to collect the segregated waste – wet and dry waste. Moreover, the rickshaws are equipped with GPS trackers and all the sanitation workers have been given mobile where on daily basis they have to upload the amount of garbage collected from each house and report if any house is not following the waste management code of conduct.
This effective waste management process in the city has today made Ambikapur a zero landfill area as 100% of city’s waste is getting treated within the city.
The Road Ahead For Ambikapur
Ms Agarwal said that Ambikapur is now aiming to make one big centralised composting unit so that whole city’s wet waste can be treated at one place alone, instead of it getting treated at various wards. Another area which the city is working towards is mechanising the process of segregation. Ms Agarwal added,
Right now, our sanitation workers are doing the sorting on their own through their hands. We want to move this manual process into machinery. The city is exploring options and soon will have a mechanism of sorting waste effectively.
Apart from waste, the city has also taken another unique step – they have built toilets keeping in mind the requirements of the elderly. In future, Ambikapur hopes to construct more and more toilets based on the requirements of different sections of its population.
Recognition And Awards for Ambikapur
This is not the first time, Ambikapur has been recognized for its effective waste management model in Swachh Survekshan. In 2017 Swachh Survekshan, the city was ranked 15th out of 434 cities.
Congratulations citizens of Ambikapur! This is a stupendous achievement and the result of your perseverance. Whole Chhattisgarh is proud of you!
Congratulations citizens of Ambikapur! This is a stupendous achievement and the result of your perseverance. Whole Chhattisgarh is proud of you! https://t.co/ufQFNQfeaT
— Dr Raman Singh (@drramansingh) May 16, 2018
Ambikapur, a zero dustbin, a zero-landfill city today. It has become a role model when it comes to effective waste management. The whole state of Chhattisgarh, which has been ranked third best state in India in Swachh Survekshan 2018, is in the process of following Ambikapur’s footsteps to become India’s first zero-landfill state.