The capital breaks rules too!

Although Delhi generates nearly 10,000 metric tonne of waste, which accounts for nearly eight per cent of the total produce in India in one day, there are no rules being followed in terms of waste disposal mechanism in the country’s capital, lament experts.

Garbage forms the bulk of waste generated in any city followed by electronic waste, biomedical waste and hazardous waste. 

Waste is not a policy priority as drainages are mostly choked across colonies and waste water is not managed as municipal waste is not collected and treated appropriately, allege Delhi-based environmentalists.

“Waste management does not mean that you need to clean only the streets,” said Rajiv Betne, senior programme officer with Toxics Link.

Others allege that the government has adopted the “dumping and burning of waste method” as a disposal mechanism. “Cardinal principles of waste management require that the government must adopt a zero waste philosophy and a mechanism for waste minimisation, recycling and resource recovery,” said Gopal Krishna, convener of ToxicsWatch Alliance.

Y S Mann, spokesperson for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), said “There are 60,000 safai karmacharis employed in the unified MCD.”

But the waste is not segregated at the household level. Land filling is ideally restricted to non-biodegradable or inorganic waste as per the existing Municipal Solid Waste (Handling and Management) Rules, 2000. However, due to lack of waste segregation mechanism, all kinds of waste reaches Delhi’s three landfill sites situated at Gazipur, Okhla and Bhlasawa.

Environmentalists have been demanding closure of landfill sites but MCD officials argue that closure is not a viable option despite overflowing landfills.

Members of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) say that if any form of waste, except inert materials (which are not chemically reactive), are reaching the three landfills it is illegal.

MCD is also running a Construction and Demolition waste processing facility.  MCD has engaged Municipal Magistrates who fine people littering on the spot and also those dirtying their surroundings. This was done in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions.

Also, garbage trucks and auto-tippers will soon be installed with GPS devices to monitor their movement. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation has decided to get hand-held devices to photograph garbage being lifted in residential colonies to maintain transparency.

MCD had also started a Facebook page in January, 2011 where residents post their complaints regarding garbage collection sites and public urinals.

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