Srinagar: The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) will put to work nearly 325 unemployed youth to implement its much-criticised ‘Solid Waste Management’ programme in Srinagar city. The project requires residents to separate biodegradable waste and non-biodegradable waste, so they can go into compost plants and recycling plants, respectively.
As per officials, the corporation will soon start waste segregation on pilot-basis in many areas of Srinagar city, in collaboration with eight non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the Smart City Project and Swachh Bharat Mission.
“Our partners have already started IEC activities under the programme in many areas, so that segregation of domestic waste will start without any hassle. So far, we have chosen six wards of Srinagar including Lal Chowk, Brein-Nishat, Dalgate, Karan Nagar, Jawahar Nagar-Rajbagh, and Hyderpora-Nowgam. Nearly 325 unemployed youth are involved in the process through different NGOs, who will scientifically manage the solid waste collected from residential areas and earn Rs 20 from a household per month,” Commissioner SMC, Riyaz Ahmad Wani, told Kashmir Reader.
He said the corporation would use the agro and biological waste to generate energy-rich compost while non-biodegradable products will be sold to private firms for use in industries as fuel.
“The corporation has been generating a good amount of money from compost at the rate of Rs 2 per kg. We sell compost to many private players who supply it to owners of different orchards and fields. Now, our challenge is to start the use of plastic in industries as fuel,” Wani said.
According to him, the government will start to use recycled plastic in the building of roads. “We are closely working with the R&B Department on the introduction of plastic in construction, especially building of roads. This project will be started as an experiment this summer,” the commissioner said.
Srinagar has a population of 12.36 lakh, spread over an area of 294 sq km on both sides of the river Jhelum. However, no residential area or commercial establishment has the facility of segregation of solid waste, and much of the waste is dumped into open grounds and water bodies.
Chief Sanitation Officer of SMC, Sofi Akbar, said the corporation would soon start door-to-door garbage collection and segregation programme in the selected wards, after the IEC activities conclude.
“Each household will be handed over colour-coded bins so that they can segregate the waste, which will be collected by the SMC for dumping,” he said.
Akbar said that bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable waste would be collected and dumped separately at the segregation sheds and the landfill site. “It will be put into different projects as per nature and quantity so that the challenge of solid waste management gets subsided,” he said.
Earlier this year, Kashmir Reader reported that SMC will set up a waste-to-energy plant at the Achan dumping site under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
“The plant will be designed, developed and managed by the consortium of Highland Automobiles Private Limited, Key Stone Energy Limited, and Astrix – at a cost of around Rs 120 crore,” an SMC official said.
“The contract stipulates that the Achan plant should generate 5-megawatt of electricity by consuming 500 metric tonnes of waste that Srinagar city produces in a single day. This electricity would be sold to J&K government at 7.5 paise per unit, a rate that is 3 paise higher than the current unit-purchasing amount. The identification of land has already been started by the bidder and creation of infrastructure would follow soon,” an official of SMC had told Kashmir Reader.
In 2016, the National Green Tribunal issued an order to the SMC to manage its waste as per the Solid Waste Management Rules which lay special emphasis on source segregation of waste.
“All hotels and restaurants have been directed to segregate biodegradable waste and set up a system of collection, but the rules are being bypassed in Srinagar and many hotels and houseboat owners dump waste directly into the water bodies,” the SMC official said.
As per official sources, only 5 per cent of the municipal waste is processed or treated. “If the solid waste management project is implemented in letter and spirit, then there will be no problem of any mismanaged garbage in the city,” the official said.