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Swachh survey rewarding wrong end of waste management?

  • 14/03/2019
  • Swachh Survekshan 2019 has rewarded cities that implemented a cleanliness drive during the two to three months of the survey. Many cities that work all year towards household-level segregation, decentralised recycling and reuse of waste were given poor rankings.
  • Swachh Survekshan rankings have become like an annual affair when cities work to get good ranking for three-four months, and are lax for the rest of the year. Visual cleanliness has become key.
  • The study found that only the top three cities – Indore, Ambikapur and Mysuru – had source segregation levels beyond 80%. Nearly half of the 50 cities have segregation levels below 40%.
  • Some, such as Rajkot, Ranchi, Satara, Ghaziabad and Chandigarh, launched their segregation campaign just a few months before the survey, and have segregation levels below 20%. Jaipur and Sagar have no source segregation practice at all.
  • CSE recommended that the Survekshan introduce a cut-off criteria where any city that hasn’t started segregation not be rated.
  • “Sustainable waste processing has been missing from most of the top-rated cities. Ujjain (rank 4), Ahmedabad (6), Ghaziabad (13) still dump bulk of their waste in landfills,” the study finds.
  • On the contrary, cities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Sikkim and Bihar, including Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram and Panaji, that have invested in decentralised waste processing systems, which are more sustainable and held up as models to be replicated, were ranked below 300.
  • A study has found that nearly half of India’s incineration-based Waste-to-Energy plants are defunct or are working below capacity, and many don’t comply with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, but most cities have proposed and promote WtE plants.