‘Swachh’ Delhi a distant dream

Delhi was supposed to be cleaner, with garbage being collected from homes, segregated and processed in order to reduce the pressure on the landfills.

At least, that is what the BJP had promised in 2012 when it contested the municipal corporations’ elections.

While the amount of garbage that is processed has increased with the setting up of three waste-to-energy plants, the Capital is more or less as dirty as it was five years ago.

Since most garbage dumps or dhalaos are cleaned only once every 24 hours, garbage overflows on to the streets for large parts of the day.

East Delhi, where municipal sanitation workers have gone on strike five times in the past two years over late salaries, is dotted with dhalaos bursting at the seams and roads lined with garbage.

Persistent problem

Busy commercial centres like in Laxmi Nagar have trash lying on the road almost all the time.

B.S. Vohra, a resident of Krishna Nagar and the president of the East Delhi RWA Joint Front, said that not only had door-to-door collection of garbage not been started, but overall cleanliness had deteriorated.

“Wherever we look, dhalaos are overflowing. The EDMC clears them only once a day, so for 23 hours every day, you can see trash strewn all over,” said Mr. Vohra.

He added that since municipal sanitation staff only swept the roads early in the morning, the cleanliness could not be maintained.

“Shops open around 10 a.m. and dump their trash outside, where it stays till the next day. The cleaning should be round the clock. Since the population has increased, the garbage has also increased,” he added.

In most authorised colonies, door-to-door garbage collection is organised by residents’ welfare associations.

“There are two parallel systems. The private garbage collector is paid by residents and he dumps the trash at dhalaos. The corporation’s garbage trucks come at different times to collect the trash swept up by the safai karamcharis,” said Mr. Vohra.

Long way to go

Despite getting funds under the Swachh Bharat Mission and making promises to clean the city, the BJP-run municipal corporations have a long way to go.

Subhash Arya, the Leader of the House in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), however, said that improvements to solid waste management would make a big difference in the long run. “We have started the process in the Central Zone. Garbage is being taken from households to fixed and mobile compactors, from where it is taken to the landfill. We have also started to process all our green waste,” said Mr. Arya.

According to the Centre’s Swachh Bharat rankings, Delhi’s municipal corporations have a long way to go.

While the New Delhi Municipal Counci was ranked fourth out of 73 cities, the SDMC was ranked 39 by the Swachh Survekshan 2016.

The north and east civic bodies were not included in the list.

With the election campaign about to begin, sanitation will be at the top of the agendas of the political parties.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 6:21:47 PM |

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