Pune: Kishori Gadre, enthusiast in Solid Waste Management (SWM) and former director of Janwani, speaks to Sakal Times on how to deal with solid waste of the city and what is the innovative way to deal with the plastic and solid waste, coinciding with World Environment Day. She said our governing body is process-oriented while in other countries, the governing bodies are result-oriented in everything.
Q-Why is the issue of SWM not getting solved by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)?
A- Management of solid waste is a major problem which has environmental implications. Pune generates 1,200-1,300 tonnes of garbage every day and it is growing day by day as the population is increasing. The message by the civic authority should reach the masses. Segregation is not being done properly. Proper segregation should be done on priority basis. No doubt, the PMC has taken many steps on several issues but the actions were taken because of the pressure by vibrant and alert citizens. So PMC should take up a particular problem first, solve it fully and then move on to the next issue. In India, 60 per cent of the garbage is rejected for processing plants which directly goes into dumping.
Q-How are the processing plants in the country working?
A- 90 per cent of the processing plants are not working properly because these processing plants come from Germany and other countries and are designed to intake only segregated garbage. But as the garbage segregation is not done properly in our country, mixed garbage accidentally goes into the processing plant and the machines tend to disfunction. Thus, the processing plants are not working properly in our country.
Q- Has any innovative action plan been taken in the city or by any other municipal body in the country?
A- A collective effort was taken by NGOs in collaboration with the PMC to make the Katraj electoral ward a zero-garbage one. The idea was to create a model where waste can be disposed of locally, thereby reducing the stress on dumping sites and minimising transportation costs. Now the wet waste is converted into compost or bio-gas and the dry waste is recycled. Also 30 villages of Mulshi have succeeded in making their own compost from the wet garbage. The Kerala government has started Suchitwa Mission where they register composting vendors through which the citizens give wet garbage to these vendors.
Q- How can plastic pollution be stopped and what about the landfill which already exists?
A- Recycling is the only option to stop plastic pollution. If research is done properly, the solution to curb landfill can be discovered. There is no technical expertise in PMC. I have suggested to the PMC to form an expert committee on environment or appoint an environment engineer as there are engineers to monitor environment in Bengaluru and Karnataka. Through Swachh Bharat Mission several changes all over the country can be seen.
Q- Is there any solution to curb SWM?
A- In keeping trend with the global economy, Indian solid waste is showing increasing trend. Composition of Indian solid waste is changing too. As per the study reports organics tops the Indian MSW with 51 per cent. Recyclables are to the tune of 18 per cent and almost one third of MSW is termed as inert. By establishing the ‘Dry waste e-mandi’ the municipal authorities will be able to focus on scientific disposal. With this policy intervention we can divert municipal efforts to disposal rather than collection. Thanks to green technologies available, making compost at the household level has become possible and doable by masses. This is expected to make major shift in method of wet waste disposal. In this scenario, role of municipality will be limited to creating awareness about segregation, arranging demos for the same, promulgating by-laws to that effect and targeting at 10 per cent segregation and disposal of the wet waste at source.