With the strike by the sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) entering its second week, large mounds of garbage can be seen piled up on the streets, making walking and vehicular movement difficult. Monsoon has almost arrived, water borne disease and infection will spread in this season very fast. Nowadays, Delhi has been cursed. BJP which runs the corporation is happy to lay the blame at the CM’s door and look at the other way. The corporations have the power to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and force the sanitation staff to resume work but that’s far from their mind.
There are many environmental issues in Delhi. Air pollution, water pollution, garbage, and pollution of the natural environment are all challenges for the capital. Environmental issues are one of the primary causes of disease, health and long term livelihood impact for India. Trash and garbage is a common sight in urban and rural areas of India. It is a major source of pollution. Indian cities alone generate more than 100 million tons of solid waste a year. Street corners are piled with trash. Public places and footpaths are spoiled with filth and litter. Rivers and canals are acting as garbage dumps sites. India is facing garbage crisis due to excessive consumption. The nation’s waste problem also points to a stunning failure of governance.
In 2000, Supreme Court directed all Indian cities to implement a comprehensive waste-management programme that would include household collection of segregated waste, recycling and composting. These directions have simply been ignored. No major city runs a comprehensive programme of the kind envisioned by the Supreme Court. Indeed, forget waste segregation and recycling directive of the India’s Supreme Court, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that up to 40 per cent of municipal waste in India remains simply uncollected. Even medical waste, theoretically controlled by stringent rules that require hospitals to operate incinerators, is routinely dumped with regular municipal garbage. A recent study found that about half of India’s medical waste is improperly disposed of.
In 2011, several Indian cities embarked on waste-to-energy projects of the type in use in Germany, Switzerland and Japan. New Delhi has implemented two incinerator projects aimed at turning the city’s trash problem into electricity resource. These plants are being welcomed for addressing the city’s chronic problems of excess untreated waste and a shortage of electric power. They are also being welcomed by those who seek to prevent water pollution, hygiene problems, and eliminate rotting trash that produces potent greenhouse gas methane. The projects are being opposed by waste collection workers and local unions who fear changing technology may deprive them of their livelihood and way of life. Anyway, today the situation of Delhi has become worst. It is the national capital of the country but stuck and suffering in political tussle between AAP and BJP.
The workers have been on strike since June 2, demanding that their salaries for the months of April and May be disbursed. Residents of East Delhi have been suffering as the workers’ unions and the corporations negotiate a solution. East Delhi has become a garbage dump. There is an unbearable stench on the streets because people have been forced to throw their trash out on the open. Delhi was already topping the list of the most polluted cities in the world, now it will become the city of garbage too. The EDMC has been unable to pay employees on time for months now, and hasn’t disbursed pensions in two years.
Many sanitation workers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) protested at Kejriwal’s residence on Friday. Some workers littered garbage in Mayur Vihar and Patparganj areas of east Delhi to express their anger. Last week, sanitation workers affiliated to different unions from the three civic bodies, North, East and South, approached government authorities, all promises were done, and salaries were announced but not delivered. In result, there is strike by sanitation workers has turned east Delhi into a huge garbage dump over the past 10 days, posing a serious threat to people’s health. Doctors and public health officials are warning that Delhi could be hit by an epidemic, if there is more delay in tackling the situation. Doctors say the decaying household waste items, containing mostly solid waste like half-eaten vegetables and meat products, may give rise to bacterial illnesses such as typhoid and jaundice that spread through contaminated food.
Arvind Kejriwal had announced that his government will release Rs. 493 crore to clear pending salaries of sanitation workers, doctors and teachers of two municipal corporations for April and May. Recently, Kejriwal lambasted the Centre over fund allocation, accusing it of “sucking the blood” of the residents of Delhi. In a fight between AAP in Delhi, BJP in the center and the cronies in the form of LG is making a mess of the national capital. I hope, with their political tussles they will not shame the nation in foreign land.