‘Political and administrative will needed for its success’

“Decentralised solid waste management is simple and economical and in the long run municipal corporations even save money. But what is required is political and administrative will,” asserts Almitra Patel, member of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court on solid waste management.

Compliance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules 2000 is very simple. Separated wet waste should be heaped up in rows treated with cow dung solution or some other bio-culture. The heaps must be kept warm and moist but not wet and turned weekly for four weeks and the waste is stabilised, she says.

Septuagenarian Patel lives in Bangalore and keeps travelling about half the year on work related to solid waste management participating in deliberations across the country and making field visits.

She was here on Monday and Tuesday for a national workshop on ‘Appropriate solid waste management options for small and medium towns in India.’ She filed a case in the Supreme Court in 1996 leading to the framing of MSW rules.

There is no excuse for not doing such a simple thing and people talk about high value solutions and technology for obvious reasons, she says. The key is to separate the wet and dry waste and transport it separately, she told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Ms. Patel cites the example of Suryapet which succeeded under Khadar Saheb as Commissioner as early as in 2004 without assistance of a single paisa from the State or Central government. Apart from separation of waste, eight self-help groups have been arranged bank loans to buy eight tractors. After repayment of loan, they owned the tractors. She describes Warangal that hosted a competition on SWM recently, as a new example. Its Municipal Commissioner Vikas Yadav has shown a lot of effort, perseverance and follow-up to see to it that the success continues.

New initiative

In Bangalore, for instance, to overcome the indifference of separation, a new initiative is being tried. Wet waste will be collected for seven days a week and dry waste only for one day. In fact, the dry waste mostly goes to the scrap dealer, she observes.

The plastic waste that can’t be recycled can be shredded and used in laying of roads. It also can be used as an alternative fuel resource (AFR) for use reducing coal use by 10 per cent.

In fact, two big cement plants, including Holcim India, are already using it, she says.

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