TAKING note of the flak it received from the state government, the High Court as well as citizens over the poor waste management system which led to the fire at the Deonar dumping ground, the BMC has made wet waste treatment mandatory in all buildings in the new development control regulations. Apart from the new buildings, the civic body is also planning to impose the same regulations on existing buildings as well.
The DCR chapter on environmental sustainability also mentions measures for dry waste as well as for hazardous waste, which include batteries, e-waste, lamps and medical waste. The owners of all new buildings will have to provide separate coloured bins to collect dry waste including paper, plastic, metal, glass and wet organic waste and separate ones for safe disposal of hazardous waste. Buildings will also have to allocate a space dedicated for collecting waste before transferring it for recycling or disposal separately. Previously, the state government had issued a directive to make on-site disposal of wet waste mandatory for new housing projects occupying more than 2,000 square metres.
In an effort to implement the regulations at an early stage, the norms mandate that the owner or developer has to mention the clause of wet waste treatment in the agreement with purchasers. Civic officials estimate a drastic reduction of waste which will be taken to the city’s dumping grounds and they are planning to extend the regulations to the existing building. “Once implemented, only the dry and the hazardous waste will be taken from the buildings. The DCR is only for new buildings since a law cannot be applied retrospectively. However, the solid waste management rules can be subsequently imposed for existing buildings as well,” said a senior civic official.
Lauding the move, environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal stated that implementation should be easy since there are a variety of solutions of wet waste treatment which address the constraint of space available for every price bracket. “Every resident of the city can easily take up these measures and contribute to an efficient waste management system,” he said.
The DCR made certain amendments which were not taken positively by activists. Despite battling acute water crisis and imposing water cuts in the city since August last year, the BMC has relaxed the regulations for rainwater harvesting arrangements in the new draft. Instead of making setting up of rain water harvesting mandatory for plots of 300 sq metres, the new draft increases the size of the plots to 500 square metres. The new regulations have done away with the fine amount as well. “The move of relaxing the norm is in the opposite direction from 300 to 500 sq m. Ideally, they should make it mandatory for all the buildings to harvest the rainwater since it does not require much space,” said water conservationist Janak Daftari.
In response, a BMC official said, “We changed the norms because people had stated that space is an issue in plots of 300 square metres. But this is just a draft and people’s responses will be taken into consideration.” The BMC released three chapters on environmental sustainability, urban safety requirement and a miscellaneous chapter on regulations for temporary constructions among others and observations about them can be sent to the civic body till April 14.