City's waste may go underground

BMC mulls underground bins, so all refuse piling up in dumpsters falls below the ground through chutes, but is it viable for Mumbai, asks admin

In a bid to clear the roads of the garbage that sits in heaps near bins, the civic body is mulling sweeping it all under the roads, literally.

BMC's standing committee chairman and Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Shewale has mooted a plan to the BMC's solid waste management department for installing an underground waste collection system. It would be designed in such a way that the garbage dropped in bins above the ground would be transferred to larger bins placed at the subterranean level through a chute.

Garbage station? The underground waste disposal may rid the city of
overflowing bins such as these seen near the Currey Road railway

bridge. File pic

"Once the system is in place, mega city Mumbai won't wear a shabby look due to overflowing bins and the refuse tossed around them. There won't be any stink and there would be less rodents and strays feeding on and breeding in the waste," Shewale said, adding, "This idea has been implemented in many cities including Pune," said Shewale.

The advantages of the plan, as Shewale mentions, are that traffic would not be disrupted during clean up or otherwise, and hygiene would be maintained above the ground, while insects, and strays would all be invisible.

Is it feasible?
But the administration is considering the viability of such a system in a coastal city like Mumbai, which gets ample rain. Chief Engineer of Solid Waste Management Depart-ment, B Patil, said, "It is not impossible to set up such bins. But the question is whether this underground system will function or not in a coastal city like Mumbai, where monsoons flood the streets and drains, and where if you dig 4-5 feet below the ground, water starts flowing in."

He also expressed concern about the cost factors. "We would also have to buy compactor machines to lift these bins from under the ground, which might escalate costs, as the system is automated. We are looking at the pros and cons. I have asked the company, (Pune-based Horizon Chute) to make an estimate on the project."

The cost of setting up one such garbage bin is Rs 20 lakh, informed Shewale.

"On a pilot basis, we can put the bins up at 10 locations in the city, such as at Peddar Road, Malabar Hill and Pali Hill among others. We can have them near societies, restaurants and malls," Shewale said. "It is not possible to install these in slums as the bins would be vulnerable to damage," he said.

Rs 20L
Estimated cost of setting up one underground waste collection bin

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