Prasanna Mishra

The 'Swachh Bharat Mission' was launched by Government of India on the 2nd of October, 2014 with focus on having open defecation free (ODF) towns and scientific solid waste management in urban centres. However, Odisha's capital city Bhubaneswar continues to grapple with the problems, particularly the solid waste management.

The city generates approximately 520 tons of Municipal Solid Waste per day. Three private contractors in 57 wards and the Municipal Corporation directly in rest of the 10 wards, do the door-to-door garbage collection, street sweeping, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) transportation, drain cleaning, drain de-silting, conservancy cleaning and bush cutting. These activities are done every day to ensure city’s cleanliness, and keep it garbage-free and hygienic. NGO assistance has been availed for motivating households to ensure segregation of solid wastes. Road sweeping is carried twice a day in commercial areas. Night sweeping of main roads is done through mechanical sweeping. MSW collected from various parts of the city is transported to Temporary Transfer Station (TTS)- an area of about 26 acres near Sainik School. Waste collected there is transported to the dump site – an area of over 61 acres- at Bhuasuni, where the wastes are dumped and levelled in layers. There is no operational solid waste treatment plant in Bhubaneswar as yet. Currently, 65 vehicles engaged in MSW management are being tracked and monitored under PPP mode. 

By now, about ten micro composting centres (MCCs) have been established to process wastes to organic manure under ‘Mo Khata’ initiative. Plan is to have about 43 such facilities in the city. Some quantities of organic manure are now being sold and this initiative holds out great potential. The organic manure is sold for Rs 125 for 5 kg and Rs 445 for 20 kg. Request for home delivery can be made to Phone - 7815042331. City dwellers should make use of this modest but people-friendly initiative. 

BMC has made available adequate number of 120-240 litre bins for collection of garbage. The bins, however, present an ugly sight. There is always more garbage strewn around each of them and the spot hosts stray cattle and dogs who make the squalor messy. Though BMC plans to do away with bins and ensure door-to-door collection, large number of squalor loving denizens however think and act differently and make a habit of throwing garbage on the lane after the pickup vehicle has left the area. Throwing garbage on the lanes is a day-long activity. For strange reasons, BMC has been displaying undue tolerance. Need of the hour is to identify some ugly spots where this habit is strong, fix CCTV cameras, capture images of people in flagrante delicto and initiate criminal action.

The city’s garbage disposal arrangement was disrupted recently when movement of vehicles to dumping yard was obstructed by some people. Sometimes the scavengers could have issues over payment of wage as well. Such contingencies need to be avoided through better planning and having alternatives. 

Unless there is overwhelming participation of city dwellers and commercial establishments in door-to-door delivery of garbage, efforts made so far by Bhubaneswar civic body would remain baby-steps and the goal of having a garbage-free city with satisfactory MSW management will be a mirage. 

Indore city is widely acclaimed as one of the cleanest and recently the Mayor of Bhubaneswar paid a visit to the city to have a personal experience of the Indore model. Some best practices of the city need mention. Indore city that generates over 1,115 MT of garbage a day gets all of it collected from the source whether it is a household or commercial establishment. The door-to-door service was started in January 2016 as a pilot project in two of the 84 wards in the city. It took about a year to achieve 100% door-to-door garbage collection. Indore also achieved segregation of waste at source at 100% of its households and commercial units. Domestic hazardous waste in Indore is sent straight to the Central Domestic Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility to be incinerated. 

The way waste generated in a huge Mandi in Indore was addressed is worth taking note of. Choithram Mandi, the largest in Central India, generates about 20-25 MTPD fruit and vegetable waste per day. Municipal Corporation of Indore opted for decentralized processing of organic waste and established the Rs 15 crore Bio-CNG Plant of 20 MTPD in December 2017. About 800 kg of purified and compressed Bio CNG having 95% pure Methane gas generated everyday is used to operate about 15 city buses. Indore city makes use of Modular toilets in places where slums have been developed on private land, disputed land and transit settlements where  constructing permanent toilet complexes is not feasible. 

Wholesome participation of the citizenry in the cleaning drive, restraint on waste generating propensity, adoption of technology, having multiple dumping sites, temporary transfer station, enforcing law against people throwing garbage indiscriminately are some of the key areas that need to be addressed to make Swachh Bharat Mission a success in Bhubaneswar city. 

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. The author can be reached at lonewalker.1942@gmail.com)

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