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INITIATING punitive measures against those who have repeatedly failed to implement solid waste management norms, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has started issuing notices to housing societies that are not segregating their waste. Since January this year, the BMC has issued notices to 23,161 housing societies across the city. Senior officials said the civic body plans to move court against those who don’t comply.
Highlighting the fact that the existing dumping grounds at Deonar and Mulund have reached their full capacity, the solid waste management department has been stressing on measures to reduce the amount of waste taken to the dumping grounds. The notices, which have been sent out, state that waste generated in the society has to be segregated into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ waste and the wet waste has to be converted into compost either by bio-composting, vermi composting or by using an organic waste converter machine. The dry waste can either be sold to a scrap dealer or be handed over to the civic body’s collection vehicle.
The notices are being issued to the society’s committee members by the respective ward offices and they state if steps are not taken to ensure segregation of waste, the BMC will take action as per Section 368 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act on disposal of refuse or rubbish. “We tried to encourage the residents several times but they are not willing to comply. Due to the seriousness of the issue, this year we have started issuing notices to them. If they fail to comply, they are violating the norms of the Environment Act, which makes it compulsory for everyone to segregate their waste and we will move court against them. If proven in court, the secretary and chairman of society can be prosecuted and a heavy penalty can be charged,” said Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner of G North ward.
He added that among societies occupying a space of 20,000 square feet, notices have been issued to Raheja Princess on N M Kale Road, Mahalaxmi Estate on S B Road, Omega Luxuria on MTNL Road, among others.
While 5,328 notices have been sent to housing societies in H West ward, which includes areas in the western suburbs like Bandra, Khar and Santacruz; R Central, including areas like Borivali east and Dahisar, comes a close second with 4,771 notices. The notices are yet to be sent out in five of the 24 administrative wards, including wards A and B in South Mumbai, N, R South and R North wards in the suburbs.
An official from the solid waste management department pointed out that on an average, currently, only about 40 per cent of the societies are practicing segregation of waste regularly, which is far below the expectation. “As per the solid waste management norms, which were formulated based on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, segregation of waste is mandatory as we have to strive towards a system of de-centralised processing of waste. After spending months raising awareness about the issue, while we had expected to reach a target of covering 60-70 per cent of the households, we are still lagging behind,” said the official.
A month after a massive fire broke out at the Deonar dumping ground last year, the Bombay High Court had pulled up the BMC for being unable to implement scientific treatment and disposal of waste and had ordered that dumping of garbage at Mulund and Deonar dumping grounds be discontinued by June 30. With less than a month to go for the deadline, the solid waste management department has been trying to take up a variety of measures to reduce the amount of waste being sent to the dumping grounds. Officials said at the next hearing they will seek an extension of up to three years to complete the construction of its waste-to energy project at Deonar and they are hopeful of a favourable judgment if they are able to show some results in court.