The multiple fires at Deonar since January have forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take a re-look at its policy of waste disposal. While the civic body is adding 35 dry waste segregation sites to the existing 32 in the city, some corporators are taking up initiatives, such as setting up processing plants, specifically for their wards.
Many corporators, including Shiv Sena’s Trushna Vishwasrao, have suggested that the waste generated be processed in the ward itself, instead of being sent to the three overburdened dumping yards at Deonar, Mulund and Kanjurmarg.
Working towards this aim, the assistant municipal commissioner (AC) of G North ward, Ramakant Biradar, is planning to set up a processing plant for wet and dry waste on a 35-acre civic-owned plot in Dharavi, to process about 1,600 metric tonnes of waste generated by four wards from Mahalaxmi to Sion. The stipulated cost of the project is around Rs 2 crore.
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“The plant will process waste from F-South, F North, G South and G North wards, since a single ward may not generate enough waste for it. The processing of the waste will provide electricity, which can be used to run street lamps. The manure produced can add to the BMC’s revenue,” he said.
Similar plans are being made in H-West ward by the AC Sharad Ughade. Two segregation centres are being set up in the area, one of which will have a processing plant for wet waste too. “We opened a segregation centre in a 2,000-sqft area in Reclamation last week, where we’re planning to set up a multi-processing plant for dry, wet and e-waste,” said Ughade.
Another new segregation centre has come up near Milan subway. With residents’ contribution, especially from the Pali Hill residents’ association as well as societies in the Mount Mary Church area, the dry waste in H-West ward has gone up from five metric tonnes to 15 metric tonnes in the past few months.
In M-East ward, apart from setting up more dry waste segregation centres, AC Kiran Dighavkar has involved the Stree Mukti Sanghatana to create composting pits.
“In Mankhurd and Chembur East, pits have been prepared in open spaces and each is processing around one tonne of wet waste. Ragpickers are allowed to sell the dry waste, while they compost the rest. Till now, one composting cycle has been completed in Chembur and 100 kg of manure was recovered, which is being used in gardens,” said Dighavkar.
In E ward, AC Kishore Desai is planning to set up a plant to process plastic waste and convert it to light diesel oil.
“My ward alone generates around 500 kg of plastic waste every day. Being of low calorific value, this waste can be processed to get oil similar to furnace oil, which can be re-used. This process will also generate employment for ragpickers,” Desai said, adding that though the concept of the plan is ready, he is unable to find space in his ward to set it up.
Apart from these initiatives, the BMC is also making more efforts to create awareness about mandatory waste segregation among citizens. After roping in ALMs for the purpose, it has conducted an eight-day training session for supervisors of garbage collectors.
“Above 500 junior overseers have been put through this training, where they have been taught about the entire process with success stories. They have been instructed to encourage residents to segregate their dry and wet waste. No matter what we try, if segregation is not done at the source, the system won’t work,” said an official from the solid waste management department.