- Jammu moved up from 251 in 2017 to 212 in 2018’s Swachh Survekshan
- Jammu’s civic body has increased focus on mechanised waste collection
- Jammu will target breaking in to the top 50 next year, says JMC official
New Delhi: In May 2017, when Jammu city secured the 251st position out of 434 cities in Swachh Survekshan, Joint Commissioner of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) Kushal Chand had said that cleanliness had eluded Jammu, as the civic body was unable to involve citizens and get enough support to go forward with its cleanliness schemes. A year later, Jammu’s performance in the 2018 edition of the Swachh Survekshan has improved, with the city ranking 212. A marginal improvement? Not when one takes into account over 4,000 cities participating in this year’s Survekshan.
Last year, Jammu’s public sanitation was in tatters, and in many wards throughout the city, garbage collection was irregular. Many public toilets were found to be unclean, clogged and unusable, a direct consequence of which was rampant open defecation. Irregular waste collection resulted in garbage dumped on the roadside or on open fields, and locals feared that Jammu would gradually transform into a dumping yard if such practices continued.
We must admit that the work done between 2015 and 2017 was not very significant, as political and security problems reached such highs that we were able to reach out to very few people. Many planned programmes had to be cancelled, which would have otherwise helped people become more aware of better practices related to waste management. After the 2017 results, we were determined to improve the civic amenities of Jammu, said Kushal Chand, Joint Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation.
Determined to improve the waste management scenario, the JMC launched a massive campaign to involve more citizens. Swachh Jammu Abhiyan was launched with much fanfare, and saw number of awareness campaigns held across Jammu. The results also saw gradual improvement, as 30 out of 71 wards in Jammu began segregating waste. While the segregation percentage was somewhere between 30 to 35 per cent, the JMC saw this as a positive step compared to zero segregation last year. Waste generation in Jammu also came down marginally, from 700 tonnes to 660 tonnes. The JMC has introduced mechanised collection of garbage, and introduced four new garbage collection vehicles. The number is low for a big-sized city like Jammu, but it is a start, something the JMC desperately needed to improve its rankings.
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“Irregular waste management has plagued Jammu city for a long time, and people had to suffer from diseases and unclean surroundings due to waste disposed. We have now become more regular with waste collection, and are trying to cover all the wards in Jammu with mechanised waste collection. We plan to procure at least ten more such vehicles to cover majority of the wards by the end of this year. This will result in proper disposal of garbage, and keep the city clean,” said Mr Chand.
The JMC has also completed the construction of 60 public toilets in the last year, improving the sanitation scenario in the city. Cleaning of toilets has been regularised, and the JMC has started work on construction of more public toilet complexes across the city. Mr Chand said that land acquisition for civic projects was a complicated affair in Jammu, so whenever the JMC acquired land, construction was being started without further delay.
In the coming year, JMC will focus on encouraging more waste segregation among households and ensure the segregation of waste in at least 50 per cent of its wards. Jammu has built over 1,500 toilets till now, though around 5,000 remain to be built. The city was schedules to go ODF by July 2018, but has now extended its deadline to October 2018. The civic body plans to build a public toilet every two or three kilometres, so that open defecation is completely eradicated. JMC has set a more practical target for the next year, and is hoping to break in to the top 50, if work on civic amenities continues with consistency.
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