state of Swachh Bharat in Delhi by Darpan Singh

We always knew this. The Centre's cleanliness survey has only officially established Delhi's dirtiness. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) which covers the Lutyens' zone has featured in the top 15 out of the 476 municipalities assessed. But that's only three per cent of Delhi. The spic and span avenues and boulevards are largely because of the people who live in sprawling bungalows, and work in mighty installations.

It is the three municipal corporations that cover the real (about 96 per cent) Delhi. And this area stands at 397 in the country-wide survey on garbage management and open defecation. The results are not surprising. Half of Delhi lives in slums or unauthorised colonies outside of any sewerage network. For 4.5 million people, the state of seepage management (disposal of sewage from septic tanks) is horrible.

Half of Delhi's raw sewage - about 400 million gallons a day - and a large quantity of untreated toxic industrial waste flow into the near-dead Yamuna, also poisoning the fruits and vegetables grown in the floodplains.

We have adjusted ourselves to the perennial stink from open drains. Instead of draining out storm run-off, the 200-odd natural drains carry sewage. The toxic muck that is removed ahead of monsoon and dumped on roadside is a common sight.

Thousands of filthy and unhealthy dhalaos (waste collection enclosures) dot the city and are part of daily life because door-to-door trash pick-up systems cater to only a fraction (15 per cent) of the city. A homeless man defecates in the open because there is no toilet facility available for him.

The civic agencies have failed to build 1,000 toilets they promised last year.

Since municipalities are ruled by the BJP and AAP is in power in the state, a much avoidable blame game over the survey has taken off. The reality is all three - corporations, the AAP government and Centre - share the blame.

The corporations have badly failed to manage waste. They say they do not have money, and the Delhi government does not always release funds on time. There have been three strikes by Delhi sanitation workers since Prime Minister Narendra Modi famously wielded the broom and launched his Swachh Bharat Mission from the capital.

But there are systemic problems. Four of the three landfills are long overdue for closure. The Centre, which owns much of Delhi's land, has not been able to provide fresh sites to take in the daily discards of 10,000 tonnes.

Migrants live in inhuman conditions and cannot be blamed for unhygienic habits. Even the AAP leaders privately admit their Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board has failed to do its job.

We, the people at large, are equally guilty for the mess we are in. We don't mind dirtying spaces belonging to others. There is no sense of ownership of public spaces. We always look to somehow get away. As long we get garbage out of sight, we don't care. We lack good community behaviour. It's also futile depending entirely on the government. For starters, we can segregate, compost and recycle our waste at home. This will mean a cleaner city with fewer dhalaos, and garbage trucks.

A day after the survey was released on Saturday, an embarrassed Centre tried to delink the city rankings from the Swachh Bharat Mission, but did not deny the findings.

The government said the area surveyed was only 12 per cent of what is covered under Swachh Bharat Mission; and the survey had begun in January 2014, nine months before Modi fuelled hopes of a cleaner Delhi, and improved standards of cleanliness across India. Modi's mission may or may not have failed (we will wait for another report), but Delhi certainly has. And it can only get better from here. more  

A comprehensive action plan is needed to make Delhi clean and Environmentally fit, following are some key points:
1) Revising our codes and standards for clean norms to European or US standards and strictly adhering to those norms.

2) The basic thing which every developed city in world has in common is clean water and clean air. For instance Tap water of New York is cleaner than the water we get in Bisleri bottles in Delhi. So Delhi Govt. must strive to make quality of water best rather than providing subsidy on water.

3) Segregated Waste Disposal and Collection System : People must be made aware about the waste segregation, must be given proper guidance how to follow it and Municipality workers must be given training how to follow this system. Households should have 2-4 type bins for seperate kind of waste starting with seperating Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable waste. more  
Politicians are but citizens to begin with. And all citizens who vote can be considered politicans as well. more  
Lets us stop blaming politicians only. The truth is most Delhi-ites care a fig for community cleanliness, and then pontificate over Govt's failure. Central Govt came up with a noble idea but it is bound to fail if citizens don't improve. We can always make a beginning with our own streets and colonies. more  
The double standards of city management vis-a-vis, MCD and NDMC must be abolished. Besides, all elected MPs must be given official residences in DDA Flats of their constituencies and Govt bungalows thus vacated can be rented out to MNCs to increase revenue, which can be utilised to enhance services to all citizens. Till these double standards are not done away with then 96% of the city and its citizens shall continue to suffer. We need common standards of city maintenance and cleanliness. more  
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