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A Helping Hand To Manage Solid Waste

AFTER decades of living with problems relating to management of solid waste, we now have a single agency, Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) to deal with them. The corporation is going to handle dumping sites too. It will also manage disposal of solid waste on the beaches and other tourist places. While it may take some time for the corporation to deal with solid waste elsewhere, it should begin keeping the beaches and tourist places clean immediately as we are in the middle of the tourist season and the beach cleaning contract given to two contractors has been terminated. As the government has transferred the responsibility of handling solid waste to a state-run corporation, it ought to ensure that GWMC was adequately equipped to handle its additional duty in terms of manpower, equipment and other resources. Merely transferring the responsibility and some staff attached to the high-level Solid Waste Management Task Force and the Solid Waste Management Cell under the department of science and technology would not yield the desired results.

Now that the corporation has been assigned full responsibility it ought to set its agenda to achieve the desired goals and prepare a roadmap for management of solid waste across the state. Rather than adopting narrow-focused and short-cut methods, it must make efforts with a wider, long-term view to deal with solid waste, as the help of multiple agencies would be necessary to rid the state of waste and keep it clean. The corporation management and government officials should sit together with all stake holders and seek their co-operation in finding ways and means to tackle the issues. Local self-governing bodies and other agencies should be involved in the process to ensure proper disposal of solid waste. No ambiguity should be left to prevent unscrupulous elements from misusing it to their advantage to thwart solid waste management.

The government has entrusted GWMC with solid waste management, but it is the citizenry that can help keep the state remain clean and tidy by ensuring that waste is not disposed in public places and open spaces. Public support is needed to put pressure on local bodies across the state to ensure that there was a mechanism to lift solid waste from houses and business establishments, which then should be properly handled and handed over to the corporation for final disposal. It would also be in the interest of keeping Goa clean to place bins at designated places so that people can dispose of waste in them rather than discarding the same along the roads, around the corners and in open places. To begin with, the areas falling in the capital city of the state, especially the jurisdiction of the Corporation of the City of Panaji, which have been declared as a no bin zone, should be provided with bins to facilitate collection of waste. In the absence of bins people have been discarding waste from their homes and business establishments along the roads and open spaces, thereby spoiling the look of one of the oldest cities in the Asian sub-continent. The role of citizens, the local bodies and law enforcing agencies would be vital in making the GWMC management of solid waste a success, and all efforts should be made to get them working jointly.

The GWMC should assign specific responsibilities to its staff to ensure proper collection and disposal of the waste and supervision of its management thereafter.  Local bodies should also join hands with the corporation and carry out their assigned works of waste collection and handing over of it to GWMC so that waste disposal is done smoothly. The government should provide adequate funds to the corporation and the local bodies to ensure efficient and regular collection of waste. Given the fact that many people dispose of waste on public roads and open spaces, it would be in the interest of all that CCTV cameras were fixed at vital places to catch those violating the laws and impose penalties on them for deterrence. Though there are laws to act against those causing nuisance by disposing waste at public places and along roads, they have hardly been used. The authorities should deal strictly with those breaking the laws and give exemplary punishment for violations of civic laws. Since non-availability of bins and designated places are among the reasons for disposal of waste at any place, the authorities in consultation with the corporation should demarcate places for location of the bins for waste disposal. It is necessary that the citizens support GWMC to carry out its mandate and keep Goa clean, tidy and pollution-free.

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