Thousands of residents in Munjmahuda and Atladra are living in a stinking hell since years. Lakhs of tons of garbage has been piling up in Atladara on a plot of land that was never meant to be a dumping site. The plot is surrounded by large number of residential societies whose residents are constantly living with the stench of rotting garbage.
The site at Atladara was used to process organic waste and making compost from it, but the plant stopped operations in 2014. People living in the vicinity of this dump claim that the waste continued to be dumped at the site even after the plant stopped operations. A citizen even moved the National Green Tribunal regarding the waste.
VMC officials said that when the plant began operations in 1977, a bulk of the waste being brought there was organic. An official said, “The nature of the waste changed over the years with nearly 50 to 60 percent of the waste being inorganic. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board in 2014 asked us to stop using the plant.” VMC’s additional city engineer Shailesh Naik who is also in charge of the solid waste department said, “The contractor may have to set up a plant at the site itself and process the waste.”
In March this year, VMC started eyeing to rope in a contractor who uses latest technologies and an innovative business model for dealing with the legacy waste at the site. Four agencies applied for it, but only two were qualified. VMC then sent the comparative statements of the proposals of both the agencies to the technical advisor and finalized the agency. The technical advisor was appointed by VMC under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
It is said that the agency will be getting an amount of Rs 26.61crore for the project and VMC is going to finance it through grants received under SBM. So, finally the project to get rid of the waste at Atladra is given a nod.
Our country generates about 62 million tons of trash every year. 10 million tons of garbage is generated in just the metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. However, the problem is not waste generation; the problem is that the waste generated is not being treated well. There is little doubt that for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to work, India first needs to solve its waste management problem. But then, is cleaning only the responsibility of the government? Do citizens have no role in this? We have to change this mindset. Those small bits of wrapper which we tear off are often difficult to clean up. Let’s start caring for the environment; afterall it’s a part of our culture.