NIRDPR study on Solid Waste Management units in Gram Panchayats proposes Practicable Solutions for Rural Waste Management
The report puts forth an elaborate guide for GPs to prepare, plan, organize and implement solid waste management models and technologies.
National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) conducted a series of case studies across States in India in order to devise practicable models of solid waste management (SWM) for Gram Panchayats (GPs).
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission in India, several States are ramping up implementation to be able to announce an ‘Open Defecation Free’ (ODF) status by 2nd October 2019. The next big challenge facing the Gram Panchayats under Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin is establishing systems for management of solid waste and wastewater.
Society generates waste day-in and day-out, but at the end of the day, they all fall in the lap of Gram Panchayats or Municipalities to clean up. Certainly, sanitation is one of the key duties of local bodies. However, the indiscriminate disposal of waste pollutes land, contaminates water, and renders villages and towns unsightly and unlivable. This is increasingly becoming a major problem as the waste generated is not segregated at the source while collection and is of the order of 0.3 to 0.4 million metric tonnes per day (rural), as estimated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
The study carried out by NIRDPR provides a comprehensive guide and several models for Panchayats to prepare, organize, implement and monitor Solid Waste Management (SWM) systems in rural areas. States such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal, along with a few Gram Panchayats in Gujarat and Chhattisgarh have a few SWM units that are being managed admirably well.Rural local bodies can learn and adopt some best practices, which are presented in the step-by-step Guide prepared by NIRDPR as an outcome of this research.
Dr. P SivaRam, Head, and Dr. R Ramesh, Associate Professor, Centre for Rural Infrastructure (CRI), NIRDPR, studied the practices and interviewed the people behind the success in these GPs and documented the best practices.
Highlighting the importance of this study, Dr. R Ramesh, Associate Professor, Centre for Rural Infrastructure, NIRDPR, said, “Waste management is more a socio-psychological problem, rather than being technology- or facility-related. The ‘Everybody else is throwing garbage anywhere they feel like, what difference can I make alone,’ attitude demonstrates that everybody wants everybody else to change their behaviour. At NIRDPR, we do practical nudging in our training programmes to make the participants ask themselves: ‘Am I being a Swachh Citizen in the first place?’.”
Some of the measures recommended for fulfilling the requirement of Solid Waste Management in Gram Panchayats include:
Ø A model by-law has been prepared for Gram Panchayats (available at www.nirdpr.org.in) to customize and use in their areas. This explains all the rules that GPs must adopt so as to put in place a functional waste management system
Ø Panchayats should pass resolutions banning the use of use-and-throw carry bags and other items and promote reusable cloth bags while insisting on shopkeepers to use only biodegradable alternatives
Ø Panchayat functionaries should conduct periodical inspections to ensure community members, shopkeepers and other stakeholders keep their locality clean
Ø The Gram Panchayat should impose penalties on households / shopkeepers found violating the local body norms
Ø The Gram Panchayats should have a mechanism to recover dues for SWM service as part of House Tax
Ø Repeated violations, and negligence must be viewed seriously
Reflecting on the findings of this study, Dr. P SivaRam, Professor and Head, Centre for Rural Infrastructure, NIRDPR, said, “The Gram Panchayats’ functionaries as well as the Swachh Bharat Mission facilitators at the grassroots level are keen to put in place a waste management system at the local level. But not many successful units are around to get an exposure to and learn from. And those which have taken off, with all the enthusiasm, have not fully got out of the turbulence to be able to communicate their experienceconfidently. We need to make the existing successful models a contagion. For this to happen, we need local leadership as well as official leadership, which the NIRDPR is doing through training and research outputs.”
Sanitation and street cleaning are some of the basic functions of a Gram Panchayat and arrangements should be made for ensuring these. The Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin requires every Gram Panchayat to put in place a functional waste management system. Most of the State governments also encourage the GPs to chalk out plans for SWM and practically start managing solid waste in a scientifically acceptable manner. The ‘Step-by-Step Guide’ that this study has come out with explains how to do it.
The study documented some good practices from Gram Panchayats that are managing waste effectively. In order to achieve the status of ‘Clean Village,’ Mudichur Village Panchayat in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu, implemented a SWM model, which has been functional for more than seven years. The Panchayat President has ensured that the available technologies for SWM are well complemented by a well-oiled functional management system. They have also involved local NGOs and the youth for efficient SWM through systemic thinking, system sustainability, social enterprise model and community preparation.
Another classic case of the transformation of ‘Waste into Resource’ was observed from Ruipukur, West Bengal where a multi-purpose cooperative society led the initiative to make vermicompost from kitchen waste. The main sources of income for the SWM unit stem from the sale of vermicompost and earthworms.
Similarly, in Pratapdityanagar Gram Panchayat (GP) in South 24 Parganas District in the State, kitchen waste collected from households and restaurants are composted, and regular user charges collected on a monthly basis from shops, vegetable markets, wedding halls, and more. This GP has demonstrated that it is possible to meet the expenditure incurred in solid waste management by proper collection of user charges regularly; and that meeting out the expenditure only by converting waste into wealth would contribute only a portion of the expenditure incurred.
NIRDPR is conducting a series of training programmes on solid waste management for officials working in the SBM-G. Programme announcements can be viewed at www.nirdpr.org.in.