FOLLOWING the existing pattern of land allocation for solid waste management activities in the city, the revised draft of the Development Plan has once again allocated the maximum space for sorting of garbage in the eastern suburbs.
The revised draft of the DP has demarcated existing sorting sheds as neighborhood-level segregation centres.
It has additionally reserved sorting centres as per the proposals provided by the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department of the BMC. Also, additional sorting centres have been provided in locations as per the suggestions made by ward-level officials.
These sorting centres are intended to reduce the amount of solid waste entering the landfill sites. However, while the western suburbs of Mumbai have a higher gross density of population, greater geographical area as well as a higher total population than the eastern suburbs, it is the eastern suburbs that have once again been allocated the largest area for garbage segregation and waste management activities, an issue that has already been the bone of contention for residents and elected representatives from this region.
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According to figures from the DP department, at least 9.3 hectares are allocated for the island city zone’s waste management facilities, 12.65 hectares for western suburbs and 107 hectares in the eastern suburbs is for garbage management activities in the six wards that comprise the eastern suburbs. Currently, the eastern suburbs already has the largest allocation, 186 hectares, for solid waste management activities, as the region includes all three dumping grounds in the city, the Kanjur Marg, Mulund and Deonar sites.
In the revised DP, the largest areas for SWM activities have been reserved in the S and T wards. In S ward, the largest of the six reservations is a 3462 square metres plot located at Gandhi Nagar junction along LBS road and the largest one in T ward is a 24,000 square metres plot in a defunct pumping station in Mulund east.
“Currently, these sorting centres are used for dry waste segregation and waste collection points. However, we can also set up decentralised waste processing plants, if an area over 1.5 hectares is available,” said Vijay Balamwar, Deputy Municipal Commissioner of SWM department.
Corporators across parties have raised objections to the disproportionate reservation for waste management in the eastern suburbs.
Saying that lands for SWD activities should be proportionately allocated, BJP corporator Manoj Kotak, who represents Mulund, said, “The new DP should not repeat the present scenario where the solid waste management facilities are concentrated in the eastern suburbs. Solid waste has to be processed at a ward-wise level and we are going to bring this up during our meeting with the municipal commissioner, later this week.”
Congress corporator from Ghatkopar and Leader of the Opposition in the BMC Pravin Chheda said that the DP could not push SWM activities to the eastern suburbs, just because a majority of the economically weaker sections of the society lived there.
“The DP has allocated five times the amount of land for solid waste management in the eastern suburbs as it has for the western suburbs. The allocation is disproportionate and unfair,” he said.