On January 20, 500 students from Kumararani Meena Muthiah College of Arts and Science in Adyar enrolled for a month-long project with waste management company Urbaser Sumeet where they will assist Information Education and Communication (IEC) executives.
One important aspect of their orientation is to understand Swachh Survekshan, the annual cleanliness and sanitation survey conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and role citizens like them can play in forwarding its objectives.
“These young volunteers will be assisting our IEC executives, who launch our campaigns at residential societies, educational institutions and offices, about managing waste at the source,” says Hari Balaji, who heads the IEC division at Urbaser Sumeet.
As the citizens’ survey (under Swachh Survekshan) is nigh at hand, one can get ready for a variety of activities in Chennai.
Urbaser Summet has been pushing its assistant managers to hold internal competitions to encourage the team on the ground in all the GCC zones it is active in, to come up with various initiatives.
“We have been working towards Swachh Survekshan since November but it gets more intense in January-February,” says Hari Balaji.
Recently, a team from the Ministry inspected various localities to see if Chennai continues to maintain its “open defecation-free” status.
Door-to-door collection of segregated waste, cleanliness of markets, residential areas, waterbodies and roads are some of the other criteria on which a city is assessed.
In 2022, Chennai was ranked 44th among cities. It was reported that in terms of addressing complaints made by residents, Chennai had a low score. Has anything been done to address it?
N Mahesan, chief engineer, Solid Waste Management, Greater Chennai Corporation, says this year the city is better prepared and will see an improvement in its ranking. “We have started many processing facilities and the city is much more cleaner,” he says.
The ranking is based on points scored under three categories: service level progress as submitted by the urban local body; the garbage free city certification; and citizens feedback. Citizens are asked to vote on five points — feedback, engagement, experience, Swachhta app and innovation.
In Indore, which has been in the number one position for years, the municipal corporation spotlights the survey through messages and jingles in public places, from January to March.
The Corporation’s solid waste management partners go from door-to-door, explaining the seven questions in Citizens’ Feedback. Government departments carry the survey link prominently on their official pages, including on social media. Every Sunday, activities are conducted at public places highlighting what is being done to keep the city clean.
In Bengaluru, the civic body has started issuing advertisements in newspapers informing the pubic about the exercise and reminding residents that segregating the waste they generate is compulsory.