GURGAON, GEAR UP TO SEGREGATE WASTE AT SOURCE
Gurgaon has been a trailblazer in more ways than one. This time, the city is working towards safeguarding the environment through its innovative and advanced waste management practices. SUBURB speaks to Yashpal Yadav, the Commissioner MCG and some passionate individuals across the city who are relentlessly working towards making Gurgaon clean and green.
Gurgaon, the city of aspirations apart from its infrastructural woes is the child with multiple stakeholders leaving the residents of the city forever confused on charter of responsibilities.
The current growing concern in the city is the execution of proper waste management system. With the active interest of the MCG (Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon) and some Samaritans in the city, awareness and some serious work has started in this direction.
In conversation with Yashpal Yadav, the Commissioner MCG
2019: The Year of Execution & Results
Gurgaon has earnestly been looking into the aspect of waste management and waste segregation over the last some years and breakthrough measures have been taken to be able to deal better with the city’s waste. Yashpal Yadav, who took over the role of Commissioner, MCG last year is a man with a mission to steer clear Gurgaon of its garbage dumps. With an action-oriented plan, he is pulling out all stops to focus on every issue that requires immediate attention in this direction.
“We have discussed internally and formulated many plans to tackle issues and concerns in each and every field which have been brought to our attention over the last many months,” says Yadav. This year plans shall see enforcement we are told.
“2019 is the year of execution of many such plans to bring about necessary improvements in all required areas. If we talk about basic necessities; liquid and solid waste management are of utmost importance and there is a dedicated team engaged for this purpose only. I have done a decentralisation of powers and duties in my core team, making each team responsible for one kind of task. This has got efficiency and responsibility internally,’’ he said emphatically.
Developing Green Cover
To curb overflow of sewage and provide recycled water for green belts and parks, as well as to save potable water the MCG has conceived a plan of erecting micro STPs in areas of large greenbelts which will treat sewage locally and provide enough recycled water to maintain greenery and improve air quality as well.
“We are focused on the elimination of open dumping of garbage and eradicating the practice of garbage burning in the city apart from transforming the waste management system across the city.”
Yashpal Yadav, Commissioner MCG.”
Moreover, it is a legal mandate for buildings with rooftop area of more than 100 sq meters to have a proper rain harvesting system installed in their homes. “For smaller houses, we have made a cluster of 20-50 houses and set up common harvesting systems to save capital cost. It will take 1.5 – 2 years to cover the entire city,” adds the commissioner.
Solid Waste Management System
This compasses of segregation of waste in Non-Biodegradable / dry waste and Biodegradable / Wet Waste.
“For solid waste management, door to door waste collection is taking place across the city,” informs Yadav. Ecogreen, one of the prominent companies implementing the integrated solid waste management projects across the country is managing the same in Gurgaon. The city has four dumping transfer stations where the segregated waste is collected and there is a dedicated team deployed to look after its day to day functioning.
“We have identified 800 rag pickers who have been employed by Ecogreen to collect municipal waste from 250 houses each and help in localised composting,” he informs. Though the system is yet to get smooth before it gets regularised by the daily collections.
“In Sector 29, we have proposed to create a common compost plant close to a dumping station to process the bulk waste being generated by the umpteen number of restaurants in that hub,” adds Yadav.
By 1st February 2019 onwards only segregated waste will be accepted and by June 2019 the aim is to consume 50 per cent of the waste generated within the city itself productively.
The Corporation will only collect the segregated waste from households after January 31 2019.
It is a common sight to find Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW) dumped in the open spaces across the city. A treatment plan has been set up in Basai which will process 300 tonnes of this waste every day. There is a heavy penalty levied by the MCG on dumping CDW waste on the roadside.
Multiple agencies, teams, individuals have to be involved as overloading work does not reap the best results, believes our commissioner. So separate teams of the MCG employees have been formed to raid the shops using polythene bags.
To utilise the polythene waste which is still being generated in ample in the city, a company from Bangalore has been identified by the MCG to utilise this polythene waste by shredding it, and use it in the construction of roads. “A 100-metre road as a trial project has already been made and is proved to be a success. These roads are durable as the bitumen that is mixed with plastic makes the road stronger thus reducing the maintenance costs,” says the commissioner with a smile.
Sharing Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote, the commissioner says, “Be the change you want to see.” He further adds, firmly, It is not singularly possible for MCG or any one person to bring results, the community has to get involved and support the initiatives which the government is trying to take. To enjoy the rights, the citizens must fulfil their duties too and the MCG will extend its support in all aspects to those who wish to bring about a positive change in Gurgaon.”
Individuals take the baton
Nirvana Country in Gurgaon has been managing its own waste since 2016. Spanning across 135 acres with over 900 homes and 16 parks, Nirvana Country has managed to keep 300 tons of organic waste away from rotting in the landfills since November 2016.
“The biggest challenge to practically and totally implement the waste management policy in the city is lack of waste “segregation at source.”
Monica Khanna Gulati, a resident of Nirvana Country has been composting her own waste at home for seven years. She then wished to take this practice beyond her home to the community and now with the support of RWA she leads the waste management and compost set-up in the society.
“Why should the kitchen waste go waste?” asks Monica. “It is gold for enriching the soil. Waste being burned recklessly also harms the air quality. Nirvana follows the natural composting Aerobic process wherein after extensive research, we decided to go for a combination of in-vessel composting and metal wireframe composters,” explains Monica. “The fresh kitchen waste (Greens) would be crushed and horticultural waste (Browns) shredded before being added to the Continuous Drum Composters together to maintain the optimum balance. Microbe powder is added to further speed up this process.
We have installed composting bins which breakdown and convert organic kitchen waste to generate close to two tons of compost every month,” informs Monica. “Our composting infrastructure now comprises five 2000-litre composters, one 2.5 HP horticulture shredder, 10 metal bins and one food crusher. We also have a reverse vending machine that has processed close to one Kg of empty plastic bottles in the last three months,” she continues with a lot of pride.
A squad of young children took charge of the auditing of households to check if they were segregating waste or not. “We have to enlighten the next generation to sensitise them to the environment and not brutalise it like us,’’ quips Monica.
Across the city, many apartment complexes are taking waste management segregation and disposal very seriously.
The IVY, a premium apartment complex in Sushant Lok 1 with 156 apartments generates 150-200 Kgs of waste every day. “It is a mandatory practice that we have recently introduced in our apartment complex and each and every household here gives out segregated waste to the housekeeping staff who comes to collect the waste every morning,” says Arpana Dawane, a member of the very proactive Waste Management group in the society. The house owners have taken keen interest to learn the waste segregation methods and maids have been trained to do the same. The bifurcation of waste is in three categories-Dry, Wet & Hazardous.” The segregated waste is then handed over to Eco Green to recycle.
“We have also installed a machine to compost sanitary napkins which can take up to 100 napkins and reduce them to just about a small handful of ash. Initially while we were met with a little hesitation, even the low wage women earners are now appreciating this hygienic system to dispose napkins.’’
Sanjay Sehgal, Gurgaon One.
Recycling – Need of the Hour
Gurgaon One, Sector 22 is a shining example of adopting changes and habits that lead to a clean and pollution free environment. Sometimes just the idea and conviction of one individual can drive others to follow and start a great cause. Colonel Sanjay Sehgal, a resident of Gurgaon One and founder of Smart Pro Foundation started the initiative of solid waste management at the source and rely on external vendors.
“We are a ten year old society with 240 flats/villas and 43 EWS houses and are producing nearly 250-300 Kg of waste daily,” says Sehgal who then shared his concerns with the RWA about their waste filling landfills and creating pollution.
“We recycle water and use it in horticulture, washing, etc. All our lights in basements, staircases, street lights are LED. From 25th February 2017, we have become a ‘Zero Polythene Society.’ Free cloth bags were given to shopkeepers as well as residents and we launched awareness programmes for residents, maids and maintenance staff in coordination with MCG and local urban bodies. In July 2017, PWD Minister, Rao Narbir Singh inaugurated our compost plant. We have also been awarded for best waste management practices by the education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma in January 2018 which brought confidence and credibility to our initiatives in the society,” he informs us with enthusiasm.
The waste in this society is segregated in four categories – wet waste which is compostable, dry waste and rejects sanitary waste and E-waste. The society has taken another interesting initiative wherein the residents give out their old newspapers to convert into paper bags which in turn is supplied to the society’s stores for free.
Door to door collection
There are also many societies and localities in Gurgaon which do not yet have their own waste recycling or compost making technology or the infrastructure in their premises, but are keen to install the same. They are following waste segregation practices in their door to door collection from residents. Aware residents in these societies are making efforts to carry out the best possible measures for waste management.
“The segregation plan was started in July 2018 and we got our training from the NGO Saahas. This created awareness amongst our volunteers and maids about the process of waste segregation,” says Vinita Pandey, resident of Emaar Palm Drive actively involved along with fellow residents Achyutam Kallani and Sonali Venkat in this initiative. “The residents have been told to give the waste in segregated categories only. We collect nearly 1000 kg of waste per day from over 800 houses daily. The collected waste is then handed over to our vendor who is certified under MCG and has his compost mechanism in place to recycle. Our horticulture waste is mulched within the society and used in the soil in our lawns. We are already into recycled water and are using STP treated water for gardening and washing purposes so we are doing our bit for the environment as best as we can,” she says.
Kuldeep Hindustani, brand ambassador MCG for Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan, is spreading this message across the city by doing rallies and reaching out to school children and their parents. One such awareness rally is being organised on January 22 at Rajendra Park in sector 105.
Talking on his mission Kuldeep says, “I want to spread this awareness amongst all sections of people and make our city clean and truly a model city. Who can be the better brand ambassadors for this purpose than the children.’’
The current challenge is that most of the waste collected in the city at present is mixed and more so, the segregated waste at source many a time get mixed while transporting to the Bandhwari treatment plant.
As residents let’s all do our bit and approach the problem as a community and not dump.
With over 900 tonnes of waste being generated in Gurgaon daily, it is imperative that the correct systems are put in place to treat this waste judiciously.
Eco Green echoes healthy eco system drive of MCG
Eco Green is the sole concessionaire for implementation of integrated solid waste management process in Gurgaon and Faridabad. The operation starts with door to door collection of segregated waste which is transferred in covered vehicles having capacity of 400-500 kg to the three operational transfer stations while four are under setup where the material recovery facility recovers the usable waste which is then consolidated and sent in larger vehicles to plants on Gurgaon-Faridabad road for processing.
“Currently the waste is being managed at landfills but we are setting up our compost and power plant in Bandhwari which should be operational by August 2019,” says Gaurav Joshi, COO at Eco Greens. “Gurgaon generates over 1000 tons of waste every day and we have to use this waste productively so that only 10 percent will go to the landfills, rest will be recycled and used within the city for different purposes. Our appeal to residents is to only handover segregated waste.”
The Solid Waste Management Rule 2016 states that household waste must be segregated. Dry waste goes in one bin, wet in another and e-waste in a third bin.
This article was first published in the print version of SUBURB January 2019 issue.