Having exhausted two entire dumping grounds in the city, the daily refuse Mumbaikars generate whose spillover can be seen in piles embellishing street corners every few feet now threatens to engulf the two remaining ones at Deonar and Mulund. The sprawling expanse of litter has got civic authorities concerned enough to take steps to reduce the garbage being cast off in order to increase the life of dumping grounds.
To begin with, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) G-North ward office has issued notices to over 80 housing societies in Dadar, Mahim and Dharavi areas to separate wet garbage from dry into two discrete bins. Separate BMC vehicles will come to collect the litter. The dry waste, instead of being tossed in junkyards, will eventually be recycled, therefore saving space in dumping grounds.
“This is the first notice and it is to spread awareness,” said Suresh Patil, assistant engineer of the ward. We have received requests from some NGOs that want to recycle the dry waste, he said, adding that reprocessing would increase the life of the dump yards. Although segregation is not compulsory now, after three months, societies in all the wards of the city will face legal action if they do not comply: fine followed by prosecution.
The municipal solid waste management (SWM) bylaws of 2006 mandate segregation of waste at source by residential societies. As per the law, the penalty for breach ranges from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. “It (parting waste) is not mandatory as of now. We will implement the bylaw in the next 2-3 months across the city, during which citizens will become aware of the segregation rule,” said Prakash Patil, deputy municipal commissioner of the SWM department.
“The two separate BMC vehicles started going door-to-door to collect dry and wet garbage a week ago. We aim to complete the separation by June,” said Patil, adding that the ward has planned to start garbage segregation points at various places. The dry waste will be gathered at collection points in Mahim, from where they will go to recycling plants. But the details have not yet been fully worked out.
Load of rubbish
The city generates about 8,000 metric tonnes of garbage, of which 2,000 metric tonnes is construction waste. Of this, G-North ward — areas like Dadar (W), Matunga (W), Dharavi and Mahim generates 820 metric tonnes, with 80 metric tonnes of debris. Currently, only two dumping grounds, in Mulund and Deonar, are in use after those at Chincholi and Gorai were closed, having exhausted their capacity.
“It is good that the BMC wants to first make us aware of the laws, then fix responsibility. Instead of legal action, it should come up with an incentive like concessions in property tax,” said Ajit Padwal, a resident of Sanjog Apartment, Dadar (W). Local corporator Sandeep Deshpande from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena said, “I have started an awareness programme in my ward with the help of the BMC to make ‘zero garbage ward’ drive. I have distributed bins to a few societies for their convenience.”