Should the Pune Municipal Corporation consider reinstalling garbage bins in the city?

Cyber Journal 24, July 12, 2017

By Nitten Gokhaley 

On June 19, the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) declared that it would re-install garbage bins in some areas of the city after 17 years. All the dustbins were removed in the year 2000 as part of the Bangalore’s no-dustbin policy. That’s when the door-to-door garbage collection system was introduced. Authorities agreed that this system did not work, especially in the slum areas and commercial parts of the city. Thus, the local body has decided to slowly reinstall them in certain areas.

Pune’s politicians may not agree or hesitate to acknowledge that door-to-door garbage collection has its own set of shortcomings. But, a reality check would certify that certain parts of Pune are facing problems similar to that of Bangalore when it comes to the collection of garbage.

Zero-Garbage-City plan

As part of their so-called Zero-Garbage-City plan, PMC got rid of garbage containers in certain wards and appointed NGOs for door-to-door collection of garbage since 2010.

According to the initial plan, the project involved civic administration, NGOs, waste pickers, and corporates for funding the activity. New waste processing plants were to be constructed in every panel (prabhag) to save garbage transportation and processing cost. Initially, the PMC and corporates were supposed to spend money on this project. But later, an additional burden of Rs.80 per month (rate differs from one area to the other) was imposed on Puneites by door-to-door garbage collection reps appointed by corporators. Surprisingly, some of these private tempos (rickshaws) have employed minors, child-laborers for the collection of garbage. Yet, PMC claims these are NGOs!

Wards are divided into two groups. PMC’s garbage collection vehicles visit areas in the first group and collect garbage from people, free of cost. While those living in the areas that are in the second group do not get this free service. They need to pay a monthly charge of Rs 80 and opt for door-to-door garbage collection service from private tempos, appointed by the local corporator of course. Garbage is collected twice or thrice every week.

Reps from PMC appointed Swach (Swach Seva Sahakari Sanstha) also offers door-to-door waste collection service in certain wards. Swach is a wholly-owned cooperative of self-employed waste collectors and other urban poor. Even Swach takes transparency for a ride, they have an impressive website, but that does not mention the rate that they charge for door-to-door garbage collection. Neither does it mention any fixed timeframe for garbage collection.

None of the private garbage collectors have fixed timing for garbage collection. Thus, individuals who leave their house by 9 AM and come back from office after 7 PM have no other option but to throw garbage on the road due to the absence of garbage containers at present.

PMC’s free garbage collection trucks mostly visit slums. Similar trucks collect garbage from commercial establishments during the evening. But, there is no other alternative to households.  Thus, today, we can easily see garbage heaps along the roadside in several parts of the city. Walk on Paud road from Wanaj to Chandni Chowk and check the number of garbage bags thrown on the road.

The waste collection issue is completely different from the waste non-segregation problem that the PMC is facing. Authorities have already accepted that waste segregation is not happening at the source.

Perhaps, manned dustbins in every colony would make on the spot waste segregation easy. This would offer an alternative to citizens who do not wish to opt for door-to-door garbage collection and also to those people who do not wish to keep garbage accumulated in their house for two to three days.

Currently, citizens in Pune are paying PMC’s taxes, Rs. 80 per month as charges for door-to-door garbage collection, plus, Swatch Bharat Cess of 0.5 percent on every bill.  Unfortunately, the administration fails to perform its duty and ends up blaming the public for the lack of discipline. Where do they expect people to throw the waste if there are no dustbins? If BMC can manage its dustbins, why can’t the PMC?

In December last year, PMC commissioner Kunal Kumar declared that the civic body will once again install 1,600 garbage bins equipped with cutting edge technology by June 2017. This means, even authorities are aware of how unsuccessful their Zero-Garbage-City plan has been. Hope he would fulfill his promise soon.

Nitten is a consultant journalist, and has worked with renowned newspapers, news agency in India. If you are looking for desktop journalist, writer, you can email Nitten-

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