Most Indian cities far from segregating waste at source
THE GOVERNMENT recently released the Swachh Survekshan 2020 report, with much fanfare. The report, however, highlights a peculiar problem: only 35 per cent cities are segregating waste at source in at least 50 per cent of its wards. This percentage is substantially lower than what the government has so far maintained. The Output Outcome Framework 2020-21, released in February by the Union Ministry of Finance to suggest expenditure reforms, observes 74 per cent wards in the country were on track to follow 100 per cent source segregation by March 2020. It says that under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, the country has achieved 100 per cent source segregation in 63,000 of the 82,000 wards in the country.
In contrast, the Survekshan report, which has covered 4,242 cities that have a combined ward strength of 64,315, claims only 1,476 cities are segregating at least 50 per cent waste at source. The survey was conducted in January 2020 and the finance ministry report takes data till March 31, 2020. So for both the reports to be correct, the country must have added nearly 40,000 more wards to the segregation at source list in just three months. The Survekshan report does not divulge citywise details on source segregation.
Similarly, it claims that 2,606 cities practise door-to-door garbage collection in more than 50 per cent of the wards, whereas the Swachh Bharat Mission–Urban dashboard, accessed on August 21, claims 4,372 cities (that cover 81,875 wards) are practising 100 per cent door-to-door garbage collection. This also seems extremely ambitious and unlikely.
The Survekshan report has once again declared Indore as the cleanest city, followed by Surat and Navi Mumbai among cities with more than a million population. Maharashtra’s Karad, Saswad and Lonavala bagged the first three positions for cities with population less than 100,000. Among the cities with population between 100,000 and 1 million, Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur was declared the cleanest, followed by Mysore in Karnataka. Chhattisgarh is the first and the only state where every city has achieved open defecation free++ status.