'Citizens' cooperation must for proper waste management'

The disposal of 3,500 tonnes of garbage per day is the biggest challenge for the civic agency, says Manish Gupta, Commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

“The present landfill sites are all over-saturated and there is no place to dump the waste. In fact, we are sitting on a landmine. If something is not done fast, we may be staring at the face of a disaster anytime,” says Gupta.

With an increase in population, the solid waste generation in South Corporation is likely to increase to 6,000-7,000 tonnes per day by 2024, he adds. “The non-availability of facilities to dispose construction and demolition waste, also know as malba (debris), is leading to choking of drains, which in turn causes waterlogging during monsoon,” he adds.

To manage waste, we must realise that actually there is no such thing as ‘waste’, says Gupta.
“The term waste we normally use for a thing that is at its wrong place. If we send the thing to its right place, its no longer a waste. This is how we have to manage the waste, and it is necessary that everyone in the society contributes in his own way to do so,” adds the commissioner.

Gupta, who has studied Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur, says a 2,000 tonnes per day waste to energy plant can be set up in 20 acres, while a 200 tonnes per day composting plant requires 10 acres. And a construction and demolition waste, 500 tonnes per day processing plant will require 10 acres.

“Therefore, the priority is to establish at least two waste to energy, two composting and three construction and demolition waste processing plants in South Corporation,” the commissioner adds who has done MTech from IIT Delhi in 1989. Gupta did Postgraduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore in 2006.

‘3R’ concept

He adds that there is also a need to introduce ‘3R’ concept — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
“The segregation of wet waste from dry waste should be done at the source. This in turn requires separate management chain for four kind of waste — wet and dry waste, debris and silt. In order to manage waste locally, decentralised Zero Waste Management Facility centre need to be established in each ward,” he says.

The most critical part is the support from Delhi Development Authority to provide land for such facilities, he adds.

According to the commissioner, the civic agency also plans to introduce a comprehensive programme for dog sterilisation to achieve 90 per cent sterilisation over a period of three years and build 94 new modern public toilets for women.

The official urges people to help the civic agency to keep the city clean. “Just like in our homes, the mother expects everyone to take care of his belongings, in the city too, we have to keep our surroundings clean. The municipal corporation alone can’t take care of the problems without the citizens’ participation,” says Gupta.

“We all have to contribute, especially in the area of sanitation. We will have to participate in segregation at source and we will have to change our habit of littering.”

The 46-year-old official likes spending time with family. “I like helping kids in their studies and walking the pet dog,” he says. Listening music, swimming and attempting JEE questions with son are his favourite pastime. “Of course, I can’t do most of the JEE questions now,” Gupta says.

The official says that he never sought the post of the commissioner and was apprehensive in taking it up. “But the then chief secretary placed me in MCD in 2012. I have a great team and my officers are always willing to take up challenges,” he says.

“I am fortunate to have a progressive political leadership. It has been supportive and provided me the necessary backup as well as freedom to implement new ideas.”

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