Goans must learn to manage Solid waste as fast as possible
WITH the state government issuing notification for effective implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, the selected civic bodies and panchayats will have to push themselves to the limit to develop themselves as models over the next six months. The selection was done according to recent NGT (National Green Tribunal) directions to choose at least three major towns or cities and at least three panchayats in each district as ‘model’ areas to implement the solid waste management rules. Accordingly, Old Goa (Tiswadi), Aldona (Bardez), Oxel (Bardez), Navelim (Salcete), Chicalim (Mormugao) and Uguem (Sanguem) were chosen for implementation of the rules as model panchayats out of 190 village panchayats. The Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP), Cuncolim Municipal Council and Valpoi Municipal Council have been chosen among the urban local bodies and classified under A, B and C class for compliance of provisions within the stipulated period.
The new rules notified by the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change have mandated that solid waste be segregated at source in order to channelise the waste to wealth by recovery, reuse and recycle. Waste generators would have to segregate waste into three streams: biodegradables, dry waste (plastic, paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous waste (diapers, napkins, mosquito repellants, cleaning agents, etc) before handing them over to the collector. Institutional generators, market associations, event organisers and hotels and restaurants have been directly made responsible for segregation and sorting the waste and manage in partnership with local bodies. In case of an event, or gathering of more than 100 persons at any licensed or unlicensed place, the organiser will have to ensure segregation of waste at source and handing over of segregated waste to the waste collector or agency specified by the local authority. Though the solid waste management rules have been in force for almost three years there has been laxity in implementation on the part of the state authorities.
With the NGT watching, the state government must oversee that the urban and rural local bodies selected as model areas implement the solid waste management rules effectively. Successful implementation in the selected areas would help the government prepare a roadmap for establishing best practices for solid waste management in other areas to make all of Goa clean. Problems need to be quickly resolved. Local bodies lack manpower in collection of solid waste generated in their areas. Not all households cooperate in handing over the waste; some dump it along the edges of roads and in open spaces. The dumping of solid domestic waste creates various problems; it attracts strays and generates foul smell and is an eyesore. Some people burn dry waste including plastics, adding to environmental hazards. Unscrupulous elements dump bio-medical waste in open spaces. Irresponsible citizens and unscrupulous elements are not penalized, and the violations go on.
The NGT has directed that model panchayats and urban bodies be made solid waste management rules compliant within six months. It has also directed that the other civic bodies and panchayats in Goa be made fully compliant of the rules within a year. The NGT is driving the state government and the local bodies on the subject with great seriousness, as was evident from their order to the Chief Secretary of Goa to be personally present before it and not to send any officer to represent him. This is a good opportunity for the state government to push the urban and rural local bodies harder and make Goa truly clean in respect of solid waste management. It is a pity indeed that the state government has to be goaded to implement the rules for solid waste management. Being small in area and population Goa can easily implement the solid waste management rules, provided there is a will in the bureaucracy and the elected local bodies. The time for making the state fully solid waste management compliant is short. The state government and the local bodies must begin the work immediately if they have to meet the target.