Monday, 29 July 2013

BMC Flops Again

We are almost at the end of July – the month that was supposed to witness Mumbai sprucing up. But the BMC has flopped again!  

In February this year, the BMC had solemnly announced that it would make segregation of dry and wet waste at source compulsory from July. Flexing its muscles over the issue, the BMC had declared that it would stop accepting mixed waste. Taking an even further aggressive stance, the civic authority had threatened to slap huge fines on defaulters and to punish repeated non-compliance with imprisonment. On its side, the BMC had promised to put in place all the infrastructure needed, press into service additional collection compactors and upgrade segregation centres.

Well, July is almost over, and none of this has been implemented. Instead, as it happens all the time, we have been dished out a new set of promises, another package of plans, and a further revised schedule. We have now been told by Manisha Mhaiskar (Additional Municipal Commissioner) that segregation at source and house-to-house collection of waste will be implemented by March 2014 and that separate disposal and treatment mechanisms for dry and wet waste will be put in place by March 2015.

So what is our reaction to this recurrent delay in implementing a proper waste management system in the city? Are we heaving a collective sigh of relief that we have been spared the task, at least for the present, of segregating our waste? Are we just glad that we can continue to dump our waste as we want and where we want? Or are we seriously upset that we have to wait for another year or two, before we have a more decent and sensible system of handling our waste.

But actually we don’t have to wait. It’s true that the BMC has deferred the enforcement of the law, but what stops us from enforcing it upon our homes and our housing societies? ALMs, for example, could take up the responsibility of setting up workable waste management systems in their respective localities.

And let’s keep the pressure on the BMC to deliver – for unless the infrastructure is in place, our own efforts will only have limited value. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Reviving Trees, Reviving Synergy

The ‘Tree Revival’ session at Bandra this morning was certainly a motivating experience.  The ‘Tree Revival Campaign’ is a joint effort by the Environmental Management Centre (EMC) and GreenLine to revive an interest in trees among citizens and also to revive Mumbai’s tree cover. The session this morning witnessed the presence of students from six Bandra schools, several ALM leaders, and some of Mumbai’s well known ‘tree experts’, including Rishi Agarwal, Reene Vyas and Katie Bagli.

What I found particularly interesting was the animated interaction among the young students, society leaders and environmentalists.  Watching the lively discussion happening among these different groups, the word that kept coming to my mind was ‘Synergy’.  The energy of the kids, the commitment of the leaders and the passion of the environmentalists blended perfectly together for this cause of ‘tree revival’.  While the ALM leaders were keen on protecting and enhancing the green cover in their localities, the environmentalists were more than happy to provide all the expert insights needed to support this cause. And of course, the kids were thrilled to throw in their efforts, to ensure that this mission is accomplished.

Well, the Tree Revival Campaign has definitely revived the connections among various citizens and groups – now that’s already a good first result! Let’s hope the synergy that has been created takes this campaign zooming forward!