Mumbai must fix its waste problem for progress

As Mumbai grows exponentially, so do its business and industry, making garbage disposal one of the bigger issues this metropolis is facing, along with others like congestion, crime, parking, and of course the big H housing.

The commercial nerve centre of India is struggling to keep up with the huge amount of waste being produced. For years now, dumping grounds have reached their saturation point, and it is imperative that there be a concerted effort to come up with creative, useful, and scientific methods.

It is some solace that a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have to some extent got involved in waste disposal at different levels in the city. What is needed is greater cohesion between civic authorities and NGOs towards this goal.

A seamless and smooth collaboration will ensure much more efficient disposal of waste and, in fact, give the civic authorities the help they need to tackle the problem.

This also ensures that citizens have a stake in waste disposal, and that they, too, contribute to ensure that the city keeps up with contemporary modes of garbage disposal.

At the lowest level, segregation of waste is not being ensured in different housing societies. While the civic authorities did start a drive telling societies that members need to segregate wet and dry waste, it has fallen flat. While some societies were doing it, and some still continue with their efforts, it is seen that once collected, the garbage is mixed in the garbage truck, which makes the entire exercise futile.

The same problem plagues our roads. While ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ dustbins have been placed at certain points, it is evident that people do not know what dry and wet waste exactly is.

Fixing the problem has to begin with changing the attitude towards garbage. No one wants to think of it as their problem, but each one of us is a stakeholder in the city and the mess we have made in it.

There has to be a concerted effort to ensure that waste disposal and processing is taken seriously. In fact, it should be made a benchmark for true progress in the city.

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