Friday, July 30, 2021
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BMC blind on garbage as Mumbai stinks

Mumbai started crawling back to life as rainfall has stopped since last two days. Municipal authorities began clearing the roads and the suburban rail network started functioning again. Many small time vendors, grocery shops, laundries to dairy product shops are yet to settle down. They had to undergo hardships due to waterlogging. At some places, nullahs are overflowing with trash. Garbage piling up across streets has become a common site. As the garbage has not been cleared from past three days, there is an unbearable stink. Dogs, rats and mosquitoes are seen over the trash. It is really unhygienic to live in such surroundings. Meanwhile Mumbai is also cursed with dengue and malaria.

Garbage needs to be collected urgently. There is an administration issue with the contractor, some Municipal Corporation workers are on leave as they too suffered due to heavy rains, most of them hail from slums and the area they live in still under water and mud deposition. Meanwhile, leaders from the Shiv Sena and BJP are busy indulging in blame game. No one wants to any take any responsibility. They think its natural calamity that has caused the problem, but none of them are yet to understand that the drainage issues are threat to city and they are not addressed. Monsoon in Mumbai always landed people in casualty, this is a routine but the authorities are yet to come up with permanent solutions and proper disaster management team.

In 2011-12, Mumbai alone accounted for 6.11% of the total waste generated daily in India. As its waste piles up, the land-starved city is staring at the big question — where the garbage will go? Of the 1,27,486 tonnes of waste generated daily in India in 2011-12, Mumbai alone accounted for 6.11 per cent. It is estimated that every resident in the metropolis now generates about 630 grams of waste daily, a figure that is expected to touch 1 kg in the coming years. Land-starved that the city is, this leaves its planners with an extremely difficult choice.

In 2017, the condition is even worst, we are paying Swachch Bharat tax, and government has made many promises but could not move the garbage in time. Dilemma, combined with concerns for high-level emissions and the growth of bacteria that cause life-threatening diseases, has fuelled the prospects of the waste management industry, which has yet to firmly establish itself in India.

While the quantum of garbage generated by the city is only expected to increase, the infrastructure necessary to manage it is still not in place. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ambitious plans to process and manage the 7,000-8,000 metric tonnes (MT) of waste generated daily. But since the formulation of the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Rules (management and handling) in 2000, most of these ideas have either failed to take off the drawing board or are poorly implemented today.

BMC’s current policies are in violation of MSW Rules, 2000, as the corporation allows compactor trucks to collect mixed waste and fails to penalise buildings that do not segregate waste. The big announcement, however, fell flat as the corporation failed to provide vehicles for collecting dry waste from housing societies. Since last year, the corporation has been working on a long-term plan to ensure 100 per cent segregation by March 2015. The plan is yet to be finalized.

Questions have been repeatedly raised over the quality of service provided by the contractors in collection and transportation of waste. Critics say while the BMC has an elaborate system in place for collection and transportation of waste, there are no real-time checks in place to see if the appointed contractors are following specifications. In a major health hazard, conservancy workers involved in collection, transportation and disposal continue to work without wearing the prescribed rubber gloves, facemasks, reflector jackets and safety shoes.

In early 2013, the corporation had announced plans to acquire 20,000 waste bins that would promote segregation. However, so far, it is yet to float a tender.

While BMC anticipates an increase in the amount of waste generated over the next 20 years, its SWM department claims that through these plans for segregation and waste processing, the amount of waste that reaches the city’s three dumping grounds (currently 7000-8000 MT) will be limited to less than 10,000 MT.

Mumbai’s three dumping grounds in question are Deonar, Mulund and the recently created Kanjurmarg landfill. The Kanjurmarg dumping ground has been stuck in litigation in the Bombay High Court as environmental organizations including the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) have alleged illegal dumping on wetlands and coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) areas that fall within the landfill site’s area of 141 hectares.

These are the issues that Mumbai is battling since ages, we Mumbaikars are paying heavy income tax and other taxes to avail services, at least at such crises when Mumbai is in mess, BMC and authorities should be more prompt and vigilant in collecting garbage and keeping roads clean.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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