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Working towards a ‘landfill-free’ zone…

“Waste management should be such that a landfill site should not look like a landfill site,” believes Himmat Singh Barhat, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Udaipur. The municipal corporation is undertaking a phenomenal waste segregation under the joint efforts of FINISH Society which is the implementation partner. Out of 70 wards, FS has 38 wards and as per Project Manager, Naval Sharma zero percent waste is being dumped in the landfill after source segregation at the MRF (material recourse facility) centre.

As per government norms, one is allowed to dump 25 percent waste (which can’t be recycled or put to any use) in the landfill, after segregation but in the past two years Nagar Nigam and FS has been successful in dumping zero waste from these 38 wards.

Barhat says, “Door to door collection and source segregation is a very challenging task but FS has paved the way. It has inspired other organizations too, to take steps in this direction. As a result of this, the mindset of the people has changed and it is visible because changing the mindset of people is difficult but the work done in this regard is appreciable.” He adds that he values the association and hopes towards a landfill free city by next year end.

The waste collection did not begin randomly. The households were mobilized by making them aware about waste segregation (wet, dry and hazardous) first to win the trust which was followed by a route map preparation and a pick-up time that would be convenient for them and finally a Mohalla committee for easy facilitation. Out of the waste collected, around 25-30 tons wet waste is used to create compost and a team of around 40 women are working where the waste is segregated in 18 categories, which are then sold to respective vendors. As of now,  over 1100 households engage in home composting regularly and motivate others.

Saurabh Angihotri, COO, FS, says, “In the beginning, it was tough because sanitation sector is not easy to implement. It is difficult to convince people especially when it is about recycling waste but with a lot of efforts we managed to find workers and vendors who were ready to collaborate. The visible result is a culmination of efforts put forth by the Nagar Nigam, various players and our organization.”

He adds that they were facing issues with respect to waste matter like cloth, MLP (multi-layer plastic), sanitary napkins and so on but finally it was decided that these can be sent to cement factories or RDF (refused derived fuel) plants as these can act as a replacement for coal for generating biomass energy. “If this is accepted country-wide then Udaipur will be one of the pioneers in Rajasthan to bring forth this change.” He adds that the only thing one needs to make sure is that no glass or metal goes into waste that is collected by vendors before sending it into the cement factories for which regular quality checks are done.

He further adds that convincing these factories was difficult initially but with support from vendors, they finally managed to persuade them. He says, “More cement factories and thermal power plants need to come forward and collaborate with the government in creating business solutions using this. This not only holds economic value but helps to manage waste from going into the environment without being processed correctly. Moreover, this proposition will help generate jobs as well. This will prove to be a win-win situation for all.”