Segregation of waste at source is a much talked about subject in Gangtok at the moment. The Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) has been trying to implement it for a long time but has not reached its practical implementation yet.
Starting September, the GMC adopted some strict rules for source segregation of waste; imposing of fines towards those who do not separate their wastes at home being the foremost step.
What actually is source segregation of waste?
Source segregation is the separation of different types of solid wastes at the location where they are generated (a household or business). The number and types of categories into which wastes are divided usually depends on the collection system used.
Why is it important to segregate our wastes?
The most common reason for separating or segregating wastes at the source is for recycling. Recyclables that are segregated from other wastes are usually easier to process. Some wastes from home are often separated, so they can be composted or used as fertilizers. The process requires homeowners to separate household compostables such as food scraps and disposable diapers.
GMC’s first step towards source segregation and its result
Separate collection of household trash, recyclables and other wastes have become infamous in Gangtok. The GMC had already provided residents with two different waste bins to be filled with recyclables- green for the wet wastes and blue for the dry wastes. This step was to deliver people and the waste collectors convenience in depositing and collecting wastes on the GMC garbage trucks. However, it was noticed that most of the public, whether out of ignorance, laziness or unawareness didn’t use the bins as instructed. Many were also found to be using only one and the other fulfilled the purpose of a bucket or container where they would store water or other household items.
It is felt that for source-separated recycling programs to be successful, citizens’ participation is the most important. It is to be highly understood that source separation can reduce the undesirable effects of landfills and also resolve the problem of limited landfills space especially in the case of Gangtok.
GMC to introduce waste segregation at source on a compulsory basis
As per the GMC Commissioner, HK Chettri, September onward, the GMC will be introducing segregation of waste at source in a compulsory manner. Yellow bags will be installed in GMC garbage trucks to dispose of sanitary napkins and diapers separately, wrapped in a paper marked red.
“Apart from distributing the bins, the GMC has already initiated all required awareness with regard to waste management and segregation of waste at source,” he informed.
It is notified that for the first two weeks of September, the GMC will be considerate keeping in mind that it would take time for citizens to get used to the rules. However, afterwards, the GMC will not be collecting wastes if they aren’t segregated at the source.
The GMC is all set to impose fine as per the solid waste management action plan of the state government, therefore the Commissioner has urged everyone to separate wastes as biodegradable and non-bio degradable.
The corporation has also started generating awareness among students, workers and others in regard to waste management and collection system.
“Being a hilly terrain, Gangtok has limited land to develop landfill sites. As for the landfill site that exists, though it has been scientifically developed, non-segregation of waste has affected the machine to function to its minimum capacity”, said the Commissioner.
“It is high time for all to extend all necessary support and cooperation in managing waste in a proper manner. If wet waste and dry waste were segregated at the source itself, and collected accordingly, the same can be managed easily at the landfill and that will be more easy and helpful for us”, he added.
He also informed that the composting plant at the landfill site was not functioning because waste was not being segregated and that has been one of the major problems for GMC to manage waste.