Last year, Mumbai was featured as India's 10th cleanest city on the Swachh Bharat rankings, but now it has fallen to the 29th spot on the list. Surveys have found that there is no solution to the city's waste management issue and that the BMC has reportedly been over-enthusiastic in its approach to declare Mumbai open-defecation free (ODF) without adequate infrastructure like public toilets to support it.
There is a strong case for more public toilets in the city, so that we make it truly open defecation free. We see public toilets being built many times and then become inaccessible because of different reasons. A war erupts over them either because of the location or some other matter, while the public is deprived of a much-needed toilet. A concerted drive to up the numbers of this facility is the need of the hour.
BMC has also tried to segregate waste but somehow, the drive has not taken off in homes or on the roads. There is a basic lack of awareness about what constitutes dry and wet waste. How are they different?
There are dustbins in the city at several spots, denoting dry waste and wet waste. Yet, the public by and large does not know the difference. Dry and wet waste segregation is not even taking place in homes. Sometimes, when it is being segregated in homes, it gets mixed anyway when the BMC garbage trucks come in to collect it, making this an exercise in futility. Pictorial signage on public dustbins about what waste goes where will help in ensuring that the waste is placed in the proper bin.
As for Mumbai's ranking, it is no use putting the entire onus on the BMC. Citizens must feel they have a stake in this and work to keep their surroundings as clean as possible. Let us take it upon ourselves to see to it that Mumbai ranks better in the next survey. Our time starts now.
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