Indore's cleanliness and Kerala's garbagetext_fields
The city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh has won the award of the cleanest city in the nation for the sixth time in a row. The 'Swachh Survekshan Awards 2022' was announced on Saturday. There are hardly any open trash cans in Indore, which has a population of 35 lakh. Among the states, Madhya Pradesh stood first, followed by the states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Surat in Gujarat and Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra took second and third place among the cities. House-to-house waste collection, street cleanliness, public toilets, urban beautification, waste disposal in commercial and residential areas, rainwater drainage systems, daily sweeping systems in residential areas, the absence of open dustbins, and the redressal of citizens' complaints were the chief criteria applied among the 4354 city administrations for the cleanliness award.
The commercial and industrial hub of Kerala, Kochi, is ranked 298th among cities with a population of 1 lakh to 10 lakhs. Thiruvananthapuram was ranked 305. The towns in the state lag considerably behind all other cities. In assessment of all cities, Thiruvananthapuram was ranked 2735, Kozhikode 3192, and Kochi was placed 2593. No city from Kerala has come among the top 100. The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Development conducted the ranking. Kochi's relatively low rating has been attributed to inadequate waste collection and unhygienic conditions in streets and public toilets. This marker may help identify how Thiruvananthapuram, which used to be among the cleanest cities, and Kochi, which the state has promoted as a model city, are falling behind when it comes to basic civic services and attention to sanitation maintenance. Despite objections regarding the ranking standards, there are other cities besides Kochi where there are cleanliness deficiencies. The cleanliness of the streets and the footpaths typically make a poor appearance that comes to sight once you leave the buildings. A prime example is throwing garbage in public areas. The responsibility of the government and local self-governing bodies, however, is much more crucial. For instance, other than occasionally raiding businesses and seizing plastic carry bags, local bodies fail to fulfil their obligations under the Central Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. According to this regulation, local bodies are given the responsibility and authority to ensure that plastic of specified microns alone is used within the legal parameters and to establish a system for waste management and recycling. The waste producers are responsible only for delivering the waste properly to the agencies and for paying the required fees. In addition to this, the law specifically addresses the manufacturers of specified plastic goods in handling waste. But, the authorities generally adopt the easy approach of accusing individuals and small business owners without actually discharging their part of the obligations. Further, cleanliness improvement initiatives cannot be confined to financial investments (capex), and sustained mechanisms of different stages are required to keep them stable. Ample resources must be made available, including staff, vehicles, fuel, upkeep, equipment replacement, and maintenance cost(OPEX). If one asks who should take corrective first, the state or the people, the answer is the state should act first. For the impact, as a case in point, take the railway stations, where thanks to the government providing funds, infrastructure, and administrative services, the floor at the stations is typically better than that of a bus stop.
Although of late the Green Army has been successful in collecting solid waste like plastic in many local bodies, it is not present throughout the entire state. Additionally, there should be proper strategies for the collection and management of organic wastes like food and slaughter waste. This should be funded by proportionate taxes or if necessary even through the cancellation of non-essential construction projects. Even if no other development is made, this is a fundamental area of action that the government sector should address, something that people cannot achieve on their own. Ultimately, improved sanitation ratings will result from implementation of an integrated policy of waste collection and processing, and the machinery in place to manage them on a sustained basis, with citizens' co-operation and compliance.