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Indore waste management is setting an example and how!

I love going back to Indore; not only because it has the best in food to offer, also because it is one of the cleanest cities in India. While piles of trash, plastic bags and strays are a common site anywhere else in India, this city has not only bagged back-to-back awards in Swachh Survekshan, it has also made ardent attempts to maintain itself. It’s obvious that this is not a result of one single person, but a combined effort of hardworking civil servants, flair in citizens to maintain their immediate premise, and a wish to be on top of every cleanliness survey, as and when it happens! All laurels and applauds will never be enough for the efficiency with which this city has managed to bring itself to the top.

While ours hearts are filled with pride, we would love to take you through the journey, and how Indore is efficiently managing tons of waste.

Just like any other city in the country, an almost 100-acre dumpsite with 1100 ton per day waste that was constantly dumped on for years together was ever growing. The Indore Municipal Corporation was trying to execute bio-remediation, sadly with no avail. Until, in May 2018, when IAS officer Mr. Asheesh Singh was appointed as the Municipal Commissioner of IMC. There was 13 lakh metric tonnes of waste already dumped on the ground, and the IMC had achieved to clear out just 2 lakh metric tonnes in the previous two years. Not only were the people living around the site getting affected, so much land was also a waste considering the ever growing, and habitable Indore.

Here’s when Mr. Asheesh’s journey to “clean and green Indore” began. Let’s read how!

The first task at hand was to stop putting in more garbage on the dumpsite, and second, to eliminate what was already accumulated. Even though the land reclamation project had begun in 2016-17, and the dumping of mixed waste was banned in low-lying areas and open dumps, there was so much to be disposed and a system to be created which not only efficiently eliminated dumpsites, but was also sustainable and affordable in the longer run. Mr. Asheesh wanted human intervention to be minimized, everything to work on auto pilot, and the monitoring to be done with the help of a software .

What he did next was exemplary. The door to door collection of waste came along with a GPS control room with 19 screens and an operator who resolved issues. Push-to-talk devices were installed in the GPS control room as well as all the vehicles.

Next came how to utilize and eliminate the already segregated Dry and Wet waste.

The wet waste started being used for compost and the production of methane. The dry waste, which was manually segregated at first, with around 700-800 rag pickers, 100% waste segregation could not be done. To achieve this, a mechanical plant was established that segregates dry waste mechanically, with the help of robotic machines. The plant has a capacity of 300 tonnes and segregates waste into 27 categories which is then resold further. There’s another plant which converts plastic to diesel at a capacity of 8 tonnes per day, all these things combined to increase the processing to a 100 percent!

It was here that Mr. Asheesh began with his idea of converting the dumping land to a cityforest and using it for plantation and other site seeing. Here’s when Bio-remediation or bio-mining begun. It is an environmentally friendly technique to separate soil and recyclables like plastic, metal, paper, cloth and other solid materials from waste, following which 13 lakh metric ton of garbage was completed.

The recyclables recovered from the biomining process were sent for recycling, recyclable polythene was sent to cement plants and also for road making. The soil recovered was used for refilling the ground on the same site where greenery is being developed. The recovered construction and demolition waste were recovered and sent to the Construction & Demolition processing facility to produce building materials. The leftover, about 15% of the waste, was sent to a secured landfill.

Image Source: Prabhat Murti Kala Kendra

This gave way to clearing the existing 13 lakh metric tonne of waste at the dumpsite. So, with the help of 17 machines, and 3 agencies, (operations handled by individual agencies), 13,00,000 metric tonnes of garbage was cleared in just 6 months. This helped reclaim around 100 acres of land, and even the overall cost spent on this entire project was less than 10 crores. Now the 10 acres of the land is being used to build a huge garden, and the other 90 acres to build a city forest.   

This is a masterstroke, where an IAS officer has lived up to his position, and genuinely brought a major change in the way garbage is dealt with in Indian cities. It’s exemplary how landfills can efficiently be transformed into clean, green patches of land, with the right effort by citizens and from those in-charge.

Indore HD calls this the Star story of the month, one that has helped achieve Indore its position and so much acclaim from all over the country. IF you have more such star stories about your city, do share them with us in the comments section below.

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