International lessons for Swachh Bharat

We are literally drowning in filth. India generates close to 60 million tonnes of garbage every day and of this, around 45 to 50 million tonnes is untreated as of now. The metros themselves generate 10 million tonnes of waste daily. The projections are more worrying by 2040 - urban India alone would be generating close to 170 million tonnes of garbage - daily.

Garbage is a problem that developed countries have solved to an extent, and developing countries are seeking to solve it. Some have come up with enterprising solutions for a stubborn problem that you cannot simply wish away.

The Swacch Bharat campaign can take a few leafs out of these books - surely there is no harm in copying a successful model.

1) Malang, Indonesia, hit on an ingenious solution, when it allowed people to trade garbage for medical services and medicines. Such a project had a social spinoff too. It targeted both waste and poverty. Low-income households were encouraged to recycle their trash, the incentive being that they will be able to self-finance their health micro-insurance.

Basically, clinics there take trash from people and sell it to recyclers. The money collected is then spent on giving people basic health insurance.

Do Delhi's blooming mohalla clinics ring any bells? But we need a policy, not to mention synergy between the state and central government, which are more often than not at each other’s throats.

2) Sweden is perhaps the world leader in trash management. Puns apart, the model is so successful that Sweden has literally run out of trash. No wonder even the corners of picture postcards appear squeaky clean. The reality is that Sweden is actually asking other countries for their trash just to keep its network of recycling plants running.

We need a policy, not to mention synergy between the state and central government, to clean up our act.

About half a percentage of Sweden’s household waste goes into landfills. The rest is recycled - rubber, plastic, bio-waste, metals, computer waste etc, the list is endless. A good indicator would be that 30-odd waste management plants in Sweden produce heat for over 8 lakh households and electricity for over 2.5 lakh houses.

3) Closer to home, Singapore has shown the way. Here even the local dump is an eco-park with lush green trails and migratory birds. Singapore recycles over 98 per cent of its waste through recycling and power generation. Only about 2 per cent ends up in landfills.

4) Colombia has got many problems - social, political, economic but not of waste. The several municipalities produce over 30,000 tonnes of solid waste daily, with the main cities contributing to around one third of trash. To tackle the issue the country promotes a recycling initiative. It gives incentives for recycling besides running awareness campaigns.

One of the initiatives is a reverse vending machine which is located in public places like malls. It encourages the process of recycling plastic bottles via automated machines that receive trash and the user receives a coupon - it may be a restaurant coupon or movie tickets and even shopping coupons. The bottles are sent to recycling plants.

Even countries much lower down the development ladder have shown that when it comes to waste management innovation is the name of the game.

5) An amusement park for slum children in Kampala, Uganda, is built entirely by waste. Waste generated by villagers was collected and then refashioned to make swings and life-size board games. Uganda aims to have more such parks in the future. more  

View all 52 comments Below 52 comments
Yes any of the System if copied then will make Indian Environment really clear. more  
Two type of offenders for public spaces nisuse. 1. Serious type, he actually could not find one, when he is in urgent need. 2. Careless, he uses public spaces, even if there is one in near about area. more  
The first step is to provide enough dustbins at the right place, of sufficient size and time based removal of garbage. Once these are are there, 90% of people will use the bin, and we need to just focus on 10%. Today, 75% of people dump garbage as there is no specific place for dumping. more  
Basically we all know seriously to keep our demises clean and untidy.( inside houses) We spent lot of money also. So only just a mind set to do same clean atmosphere out side house also to be encouraged. SYSTEM FOLLOWED BY Indonesia is good for us to follow more  
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