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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

BMC to involve waste picker bodies for garbage segregation

The move is expected to benefit people working in the informal sector of waste picking as the organizations will be allowed to sell segregated dry waste directly to recyclers.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
August 11, 2021 12:55:26 am
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. (File)

The BMC has decided to involve waste picker organizations for garbage segregation at waste unloading sites.

The move is expected to benefit people working in the informal sector of waste picking as the organizations will be allowed to sell segregated dry waste directly to recyclers.

The corporation has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) seeking response from registered waste picker organizations to work at four refuse transfer stations and the city’s biggest dumping ground at Deonar. Officials said the organizations will be tasked with segregating dry or non-biodegradable waste from unloaded municipal solid waste at transfer stations and dumping grounds. After segregation, these agencies will be responsible for transporting it to recyclers.

Dry waste includes plastic, paper, metal, glass, e-waste, which can be sent to recycler plants.

According to the EOI, the organizations will work at four refuse transfer stations at Mahalaxmi, Kurla, Gorai, Versova Lagoon, and Deonar Dumping Ground. As per the data, the four transfer stations daily cater to about 1,900 metric tonne waste, while Deonar receives 700 metric tonne municipal solid waste. The BMC will appoint one organization for each site.

Municipal solid waste collected from households or community garbage bin points are transported to refuse transfer stations and then taken to dumping grounds. Currently, the city generates about 6000 metric tonne municipal solid waste daily. In Mumbai, hundreds of waste pickers earn a living by collecting garbage from dumping grounds and community bin sites and selling segregated dry waste to recyclers.

“Several organizations work for waste pickers in Mumbai. The BMC will not have to spend money on paying the organization. Agencies can segregate dry waste and sell it directly to recyclers. The move will help uplift the lives of waste pickers as they will directly get the benefits without any middleman,” said Minesh Pimple, Deputy Chief Engineer, Solid Waste Management (Projects).

The BMC’s decision came following the provision in Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 directing urban local bodies to integrate waste pickers in waste management. As per rule 15 (C) of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, urban local bodies shall establish a system to recognize organization of waste pickers or informal waste collectors and promote and establish a system for integration of these authorized waste-pickers and waste collectors to facilitate their participation in solid waste management including door to door collection of waste.

Jyoti Mhapsekar, president of Stree Mukti Sanghatana, an NGO working for waste pickers, welcomed the move, and said the BMC should integrate waste pickers in ward-level dry waste centres for effective implementation of solid waste management.

“As per the SWM Rules, dry waste should be sorted at ward-level centres. It should not go to dumping grounds or transfer stations. The BMC should ensure that dry waste is sorted at the source,” said Mhapsekar, who had been following up with BMC from the last few years to allow participation of waste pickers in dry waste segregation.

The BMC said that segregation will reduce the volume of waste transferred at disposal sites, which is one of the important objectives for solid waste management.

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