SDMC South Zone working in full swing for A Swachh Delhi

Sanjaya K. Mishra

21st December 2019, New Delhi

A program was held yesterday at SDMC, South Zone office, Green Park, in which, the winners of Swachh Survekshan 2020 second quarter winners in various categories were felicitated. First, Second and Third prize winners from Residents Welfare Associations, schools, hotels, hospitals, Market Traders Association, Government offices were awarded certificates by the Deputy Commissioner, SDMC, South Zone, Mr. Aman Gupta, and chairperson, SDMC, South Zone, Mrs. Tulsi Joshi. Senior officials from SDMC like Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Harish Kashyap and Deputy Health Officer, Dr. (Capt.) N. R. Tuli was also present.

Mrs. Joshi appreciated the efforts put in by these associations and requested them to spread their work far and wide. She also requested everyone to gear up and fight against the single-use plastic menace.

Mr. Aman Gupta, who has very recently taken the charge at South Zone, assured them of full support from SDMC.

Mr. Harish Kashyap, Asst. Commissioner and his team has been working relentlessly, even for prolonged hours beyond office time, on waste segregation, management, and against single-use plastic (SUP), and spreading knowledge, awareness of the health hazards of SUP among the residents.

The awardees shared their initiatives that made a significant difference in their respective areas. Dr. Ruby Makhija, Secretary, Navjiwan RWA and an ophthalmologist by profession who bagged the first award in the RWA category shared some path breaking initiatives by Navjiwan RWA. This RWA has not been using any disposables for its events for the last one year and has saved more than 15000 disposables in the last one year. Navjiwan Vihar has attained 100% waste segregation at source and has its own composting pits that take care of the entire wet waste in the colony that generates “Black Gold”. The residents of Navjiwan Vihar have worked significantly towards controlling single-use plastic and they upcycle the old bedsheets to make cloth bags.

Hyatt Regency Hotel received the first award in Hotel Category for its tremendous efforts in cutting down SUP bottled water and ensuring high levels of cleanliness in their hotel.

IGL was awarded the second prize in the Government Office category. They stressed the training and welfare of the staff.

Office of Deputy Commissioner, SDMC, South Zone was also awarded the third prize in the category of government office. Mr. Kashyap described the latest initiatives in which SDMC will be setting up 10 centres at various locations in South Zone. At these centres equivalent weight of compost will be given to citizens who will bring wet waste. Used bedsheets and curtains will be collected at these centres and cloth bags will be stitched and returned to the citizens totally free of cost. SDMC, South Zone will also be setting up “Neki ki Deewar” at various locations in South Zone where citizens can donate their used clothes. These clothes can then be picked up by the lesser privileged class of people.

Swachh Survekshan is a very welcome step that has been appreciated by all quarters. Such initiatives serve as a huge motivation to various sectors that are working towards saving the environment and making Delhi a Swachh place.

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Editorial: Who will ensure Quality of Compost from Garbage?

Ministry of Agriculture to set up laboratories to test quality of compost produced by local authorities or their authorized agencies

Sanjaya K. Mishra

Editorial Published on 18th December 2019

Composting as defined in Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 vide S.O. 1357(E) the 8th April 2016, means a controlled process involving the microbial decomposition of organic matter. With growing awareness and compliance with rule 4, many waste generators, Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs), Group Housing Societies, Malls, Hotels, Hospitals, Office Complexes; are now making compost in their premises. Some have adopted garbage converters, others generate compost by aerobic composting or vermicomposting. Some institutions, as required for those with more than 5,000 SQM area, also converting biodegradable waste into compost. At the same time, with growing activism and increasing interruption of Courts and Tribunals, the Municipal Bodies are also working proactively towards solid waste management. Thus, a huge quantity of compost is being generated.

According to the SWM Rules 2016, the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers shall provide market development assistance on city compost, and ensure promotion of co-marketing of compost with chemical fertilizers in the ratio of 3 to 4 bags: 6 to 7 bags by the fertilizer companies to the extent compost is made available for marketing to the companies. Further, the SWM Rules specifies that the Ministry of Agriculture through appropriate mechanisms shall propagate utilization of compost on farmland. It has also given the responsibility to set up laboratories to test the quality of compost produced by local authorities or their authorized agencies. Download SWM Rule 2016 (English)

The above responsibilities by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and the Ministry of Agriculture are not as visible as the enthusiasm of RWAs to make compost out of bio-degradable waste. Compost quality is essential to be analyzed as specified in the Schedule-II of SWM Rules, 2016. And it has a significant meaning as according to the “Fact Sheet on Plastic Waste in India, 2018”, The Energy Research Institute (TERI), plastic contributes to 8% of the total solid waste. A significant amount of toxic heavy metals like copper, zinc, lead, and cadmium recovered from plastic wastes from seashores have an adverse effect on the coastal ecosystems. Lead and Cadmium pigments, commonly used in most of the plastics as additives are hazardous in nature and are known to leach out. And this is only one source of possible contamination in the compost. This clearly indicates there is a substantial possibility of contamination in compost. At the moment, the compost is being utilized in potted plants, terrace gardens, lawns, gardens, greenbelts. There is a risk of using unknown quality of compost in potted plants. Further, contaminations and pollutants in compost may also degrade the soil and groundwater quality in the long term. Therefore, it is high time to establish laboratories and disseminate the information. It is also important for the EIA Consultants and the Compliance Professionals to address the subject as per legal provisions. Heaps of compost are being generated and over the years the quantity will increase. However, it is also time to review the annual reports prepared by the Local Bodies to obtain facts and figures. Proper utilization through the appropriate market, as delineated in the SWM Rule could lead to a win-win-win situation for the waste generator to farmers to government. There should not be any chance left to pile up compost in place of raw garbage.

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The Stubble Trouble – Huddle up to water it down

Madhusudan Hanumappa

Madhusudan Hanumappa

The author is a Post Graduate educated in Economics & Environment law has been a Social Development Practitioner for the past 30 plus years working on infrastructure, policy and outreach advocacy, environment management, training capacity building, solid waste management, etc. His experience spreads across Asia, Pacific and South Africa

Stubble burning has been a curse for the capital city, Delhi. The neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana have been equally responsible in their contribution as much are the other factors of industrial and vehicular pollution addition to the chaos we are facing on a daily basis as citizens of Delhi.

This is the quality of life we do not deserve after being faithful tax payers. Where do we go from here? Who will address our concern about air pollution? Are we at a stage where we would be bumped off for the curse of choosing to live in Delhi?

Polluting Industries have been shifted from the city to the outskirts, again leading the city to expand beyond those boundaries. Various measures are being implemented. Vehicles are being experimented through Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), odd/even formula, expansion of metro services, building the peripheral expressway to avoid large trucks and those vehicles that would have passed through the city to, being diverted from a National Highway to another, trying to work on rehabilitation of the landfill sites, switching over fuel from diesel to Piped Natural Gas (PNG) to run industrial boilers and generators and so.

But we are at the critical stage of choking our lungs and dying a natural death in the process as none of the above seem to have helped much in the endeavour of reducing air pollution. Over the years this has rather steeply raised and is now moving faster to hit the skies faster than we can estimate.

It is time now to do something, immediately. The team of Let’s Be The Change (LBTC) could be an example. LBTC is a dynamic initiative by Dr. Ruby Makhija, General Secretary of Navjiwan Resident Welfare Association and an eye specialist by profession; where a group of like-minded citizens has joined hands to work towards the betterment of society and environment. The group has been relentlessly working to provide solution to one of the problems, which would have two-three effects.

Now speaking of stubble burning, and the problem of use of plastic in large quantities by the E-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart, etc., and enabling the farmers to earn a little from the stubble, which is burnt.

We, the team of LBTC, believe that looking from the traditional perspective the packing was generally done by using straw of various kinds for glass, or any other item that was transported for long distances. This was in practice if we look at the dates around the 1970s and 80s. Somehow, this practice got fizzled out due to the introduction of plastic; because of its low price, and easy availability. Over the years, we have become so much dependent on plastic that once the caption of Steel Authority of India, which said “there is a bit of steel in everybody’s life” could now be written as “there is only plastic in everybody’s life”.

So getting back to our subject, if a strategy could worked out, where it becomes win-win for all, the farmers, the e-commerce and the people of Delhi and its adjoining cities, suffering from the menace of the mammoth air pollution problem and predicament due to plastic, which has engulfed our lives to an extent where we have stalled our brains from thinking beyond this.

The quantity of products that the e-commerce companies are selling can be seen on the google sites where it indicates that, One of its India units, Amazon Seller Services alone have received over Rs. 8,000 crore (about USD 1.28 billion) during the financial year 2017-18 from the US parent, as per documents filed with India’s Corporate Affairs Ministry.  So, if I estimate a product to be on an average costing about Rs. 500 (because they sell everything under the sun, practically) then the number of products sold would be 1.5 crores. This shows the quantum of much plastic utilized. Considering use of about 100 gms of plastic (keeping it on the conservative side) it comes to nearly 15 lakh tons of plastic used.

Looking at the economics the cost of this plastic, designing product wise, procuring, quality check, transportation to each logistic centre, manpower cost, there is a huge recurring expenditure.

On the contrary, the utilization of the straw or the stubble for the packaging could save a huge sum. There may be issues pertaining to the collection, storage, cutting the straw into small units and then transporting to the logistic centres. But compared to the plastic this is easier to collect and also in terms of utilization. The cost-saving would also be great.

Further, in the process the farmers are benefitted with source of income from the waste generated, which they tend to burnt. This income could also enable them to buy products or services that will enhance the fertility of the soil through other alternates then burning the stubble.

Secondly, by adopting agricultural straws in packaging, there will be a significant reduction of the plastic usage, which is the dire necessity of the day. Above all, the cost to be incurred by the country for disposal of agricultural straw based packaging waste will be far negligible as compared to the plastic waste.

Thirdly, the issue of air pollution can be addressed in a large way. The economics of the health-related expenditure due to this air pollution may be calculated. But, not the lives we are losing to air pollution. At least, we are at loss to estimate a loss of life in terms of the family, society, and country.

Therefore, it would be important for the governments, the policy makers, the advocates, civil societies, the non-government organizations, the media, think tanks and the citizens need to come together in this endeavour as alone none of us can attain any solution. Together We Can and Together We Will.

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The Residents’ Welfare Associations – The Proactive Approach

Madhusudan Hanumappa

Madhusudan Hanumappa

The author is a Post Graduate educated in Economics & Environment law has been a Social Development Practitioner for the past 30 plus years working on infrastructure, policy and outreach advocacy, environment management, training capacity building, solid waste management, etc. His experience spreads across Asia, Pacific and South Africa

The generic

The resident or the citizen I would like to address is generally empowered by being a part of the city. More so in the context of a city of Delhi which has withstood the test of time for centuries we feed proud to be residing here. Like any other city, Delhi also has its set of challenges that the city poses to its residents and how we address them is up to us in partnership with the government and its agencies to make a better quality of life.

In this context, as part of my series of articles on Solid Waste Management, I would like to bring about the positives of a resident welfare association. Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) or for that matter many associations have created an image of being irresponsible, unreachable, untouchable, non-responsive, so and so forth. This more to do with the resident welfare associations. There is an election, some win the positions, and after that, it’s normal to just address some issues that are raised in common, like drains clogged, power failures, and similar problems. This also puts off the RWAs office bearers that they have become puppets in the hands of the residents and they keep blaming everything and all the time rather than acknowledging the efforts put in by the office-bearers. It becomes a thankless job.

But in my opinion when I started the program on solid waste management I also and my team faced a lot of resistance from the RWAs, the other residents, the other stakeholders in the community that are responsible to appropriately enable solid waste management. But persistence and patience has paid for me as an individual and as a program for my team.

The Program

Effective solid waste management through source segregation of waste at the households is the only method of enabling to dispose of the waste responsibly. This program is being implemented by me and my team through a program named as Well Being Out of Waste and ITC initiative being executed by its implementing partner E Sree Foundation.

The Embrace

Time always takes care of many things for us in the same way our persistence leads us to believe in ourselves and in the RWAs. A series of coordination get-togethers enabled us to build trust amongst the associations and its residents that this team was here to do something and why not give them a chance and see how they perform. The associations were putting me and my team to test in the real sense. We were up for the challenge.

Thus the handholding was initiated and slowly we could get closer on the program activities, participation from the residents’ welfare associations enlarged, the motivation exercise to the residents increased and the program was clutching onto the people and they realized that this was a positive step to make our lives healthier and create a clean environment. So, the thought of Why Not? It started spreading across the colonies and the city.

I still had challenges with some people resisting the cause, but we increased the coordination, cooperation and handholding wherein the scope of getting out of the clutches was not possible. This was all for a cause and which was absorbed to a large extent.

The fastening

The hold of the residents’ welfare associations eased our efforts and we have become more confident about the program sustainability. In light of this we are being invited by various RWAs across the NCR region. We have now tried to consolidate in areas we are working and build a network of the RWAs wherein positive learnings and challenges are being shared and solutions provided by like-minded positive members. These groups have members from different walks of life and various geographical boundaries.

It is appropriate to provide the example of a few RWAs from South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Area and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Area. These RWAs have traveled that extra mile by thinking out-of-the-box and making efforts to see that as a RWA and as citizens we can contribute and contribute positively in partnership with NGOs, Government Agencies and Community Based Organisations.

It is right to mention that colonies like Navjeevan Vihar (a South Delhi elite Colony) has created a benchmark in creating a zero-waste generating colony. Followed by other elite colonies like Sarvapriya Vihar, Sarvodaya Enclave, etc. the influence these South Delhi colonies have created has evinced interest in other colonies across the NCR to come down to see the colony and discuss with the RWA on how they could achieve this miracle. It was one person that took the charge and all followed suit in all these three colonies, I call them the Three Musketeers in the Nari Shakti Form (a female divine force). Following suit, a group of three women (again nari shakti) from Sunder Nagar (non-RWA members) have taken it upon themselves to address this challenge of source segregation of waste at the household level and ensure they challenge the other colonies in becoming a zero-waste generating colony in the near future. They have almost reached; they will achieve this target in the weeks to come.

In continuation of this Sangli Apartments (a NDMC defence officers’ apartments) wherein one person (this time it is a man) again took up the challenge and has created a wet waste composting model for Delhi to see. We have people across the NCR visiting to understand that such an exercise and inside a closed apartment place without any dirt or bad odour. It comes as a surprise to all when we speak about it, but when they actually see and feel the organic waste converted to organic manure, their eyes get lightened up.

The success

I believe that the stigma of an RWA being non-responsive and many such things have gone out of the window now. If the RWAs make up their mind then everything can happen and all goodwill happens. Earnestly all citizens should stand up with their RWAs, a few should put up their hands, like in Sunder Nagar and take up the challenges of the colony and start working towards doing rather than preaching. Like I always emphasize, The Time To Preach Is Over, It Time To Do And The Right Time Is Now Or Never.

It is true that once the RWAs pull up its socks then the municipal bodies and other government agencies will definitely go that extra mile to support and engage with you as a team. The support from both SDMC and NDMC has been unprecedented and we are all hopeful this will continue and our program will be sustainable to provide our progeny a better place to live.

The acknowledgment: I as a member of this program and my team of the ITC WOW E Sree foundation Team Delhi are extremely privileged to be participating with these great individuals and increase our learning curve in terms of community engagement and participation in the true sense which has been feeling while scanning books and or viewing documentaries. Good luck to all and salutations to all engaged in this endeavour.

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Sangli Apartments, New Delhi attains 100% Waste Segregation and Composting

Sangli Apartments on Copernicus Marg, New Delhi attained 100% waste segregation and making of compost from the collected wet kitchen wastes and garden waste of approximately 150 households with support from NDMC and ITC WOW.


Sanjaya K. Mishra

Sangli Apartments on Copernicus Marg, New Delhi celebrated an event to mark the successful making of compost from the collected wet kitchen wastes and garden waste of approximately 150 households. Situated in a prime location, the apartment, which is primarily for 3 wings of armed force officers with servant quarters, generates above 500 kilograms per day, assuming around 4 Kgs from each household. Sangli RWA Secretary, Commander Pankaj Kumar said, “We have achieved 100 % waste segregation at house level into Dry and Wet wastes, in last 6 months. Thereafter we built 2 pits for composting the wet waste, seeking technical assistance of ITC WOW team. The pits were inaugurated on 29th Jun by Chief Medical officer, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).”

“Due to the proactive approach and constant monitoring, compost making has been fully successful. We will be able to achieve the making of more than 150 legs of compost in our first attempt. In effect, we have not loaded NDMC with garden and wet waste for the last three months or more.” he added.

Cmde M. K. Singh, President of Sangli RWA, mentioned in his speech expressed thankfulness to the NDMC for extending huge support to the waste management initiative. He said a strong determination and relentless working of the team brought the encouraging result in the form of compost.

The occasion of making first compost was appropriately celebrated on 15th September 2019 in the presence of Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), New Delhi. In her address to the gathering, she expressed her delight to be amongst the defence personnel, who she described as the most disciplined people. She said “It is a matter of pride that all of you are such conscious people, who are changing the society, bringing right values, giving right values to the children and our next generation. What was created in our generation and the generation before, needs to be cleaned up. The youngsters are on the right track.” Watch video

In her speech, she also stressed upon making lifestyles sustainable. She also extended her recognition to Dr. Rashmi Singh, Secretary, NDMC and Dr. Ruby Makhija, Secretary, Navjiwan RWA and described them to be great warriors to conserve the environment. In her address, the dynamic MP from New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency also mentioned that waste segregation started from Defence Colony with valiant efforts by Mrs. Shammi Talwar, from Defence Colony RWA.

Mrs. Lekhi also expressed her happiness on the way WOW (Well Being out of Waste), a CSR initiative of ITC Company, the team has been supporting the waste management initiatives. Lauding their initiative she said, “Mass generator of waste is handling the mass waste.”

Four waste management heroes of the RWA were distributed prize by the Hon’ble MP. The gathering also took a pledge after Mrs. Lekhi by putting their hands on hearts to continue the waste management and to do away with single-use plastic items. Establishing a new way of gifting, the RWA President, Cmde M. K. Singh and Secretary, Commander Pankaj Kumar gifted pots of compost to Mrs. Lekhi and other dignitaries.

Dr. Rashmi Singh, Secretary, NDMC in her speech lauded the Sangli Model, where it is collective thinking and collective doing. She said that “we must popularize the Sangli Model with other RWAs through videos and other various media so that they can also adopt such practices.”

Mr. Madhusudan Hanumappa from ITC WOW said that Sangli RWA has come to a step forward and have done a lot of good works, which is appreciable at all level. Journey in the direction of educating the people and building awareness of segregation of waste at source has been a challenging and enjoyable experience. He said that ITC has complete confidence in the people. If they are engaged in the right direction they would come forward and hold hands taking further to a different level. He also mentioned that their initiative has been touching nearly 26 lakh of households, on a daily basis across the nation. Diverted nearly 51000 MT of dry waste every year. Picking up 8000 MT low-value plastic

Dr. Ramesh Kumar, Medical Officer Health, NDMC shared his experience on how waste management originated way back in 1983. A child hero Devansh recited a poem on the environment. Amongst other dignitaries, Sh. Rakesh Kumar Sharma, ASI-I, NDMC, Dr. Ruby Makhija, Secretary, Navjiwan RWA, representatives from many other RWAs and individuals working in the field of waste management participated in the event.

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