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Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban

  • 01 Apr 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, Garbage Free Cities (GFC)-Star rating, Union Budget 2023-24.

For Mains: Status of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, Issues Related to Waste Management in India.

Why in News?

The Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs recently said that Swachhata has become a foundational tenet in not just every govt scheme but also in the way of life of citizens.

  • The Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM-U) was the first large-scale programme to instil the principle of Jan Bhagidari.
  • Also, ‘Swachhotsav - 2023: Rally for Garbage Free Cities’ was held in New Delhi as part of India’s celebration of the International Day of Zero Waste 2023.

What is International Day of Zero Waste?

  • The International Day of Zero Waste, observed for the first time on 30 March 2023 and is jointly facilitated by UNEP and UN-Habitat.
    • It aims to raise awareness of the importance of zero waste and responsible consumption and production practices and urban waste management contributing to achieving sustainable development.
  • The day calls on rethinking our practices and for embracing a circular economy as a key for addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution, and putting the planet, and humanity, on a path to health and prosperity.

What is the Status of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban?

  • Achievements:
    • Open Defecation Free (ODF):
    • Waste Processing:
      • Waste Processing in India has gone up by over 4 times from 17% in 2014 to 75% in 2023, aided through 100% door-to-door waste collection in 97% wards and source segregation of waste being practised by citizens across almost 90% wards in all ULBs in the country.
    • Garbage Free Cities:
      • The Garbage Free Cities (GFC)-Star rating protocol launched in January 2018 has increased from only 56 cities in the first year to 445 cities till date, with an ambitious target of having at least 1,000 3-star GFC by October 2024.
        • The 2023-24 budget has reinforced India's commitment to building a circular economy through an enhanced focus on scientific management of dry and wet waste.
    • Women in Spotlight:
      • Rally for Garbage Free Cities:
        • The Rally for Garbage Free Cities is a women-led Jan Andolan, where lakhs of citizens have taken on the responsibility of cleaning their streets, neighbourhoods, and parks.
      • ‘Stories of Change' Compendium:
        • The 'Stories of Change' Compendium captures some of the amazing on-ground successes of more than 300 women Self-Help Group members who have travelled across cities to learn various waste management models.
        • 4 lakh women are directly engaged in sanitation and waste management as an enterprise in urban India, providing dignity and livelihood opportunities for women.
  • Challenges:
    • Lack of Waste Management Infrastructure: India has a shortage of infrastructure and resources to manage waste effectively. Many cities lack adequate landfill sites, waste processing facilities, and waste collection systems.
      • For example - the Ghazipur landfill in Delhi, which has exceeded its capacity causing air and water pollution and posing a health hazard to nearby residents.
    • Unsustainable Packaging: The popularity of online retail and food delivery apps, though restricted to big cities, is contributing to the rise in plastic waste.
      • E-commerce companies too have come under fire for excess use of plastic packaging.
      • Also, there are usually no disposal instructions included with packaged products.
    • Lack of Data Collection Mechanism: India lacks time series data or panel data in connection with solid or liquid waste.
      • So it is very difficult for the waste planners of the country to analyse the economy of waste management.

Way Forward

  • City Composting Centers: Composting centres can be established in cities to reuse organic waste, which will enhance soil carbon content and eliminate the need for chemical fertilisers.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility: There is a need to devise the mechanism for Extended Producer Responsibility in India to ensure that product manufacturers are made financially responsible for various parts of the life cycle of their products.
    • It includes take-back, recycling and final disposal at the end of their useful life, in a way promoting circular economy.
  • Behavioural Change Towards Waste and Waste-Pickers: Waste is often viewed as useless, and waste collectors are often isolated. There is a need to change this perception and look at proper waste management.
    • Also, ULBs should reward waste pickers by providing incentives and spreading awareness to the public regarding their social inclusion.
    • The inclusion of waste pickers is crucial not only for their own health and livelihoods, but for the economies of municipalities as well.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. As per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in India, which one of the following statements is correct? (2019)

(a) Waste generator has to segregate waste into five categories.
(b) The Rules are applicable to notified urban local bodies, notified towns and all industrial townships only
(c) The Rules provide for exact and elaborate criteria for the identification of sites for landfills and waste processing facilities.
(d) It is mandatory on the part of the waste generator that the waste generated in one district cannot be moved to another district.

Ans: (c)

Source: PIB

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