Recent efforts to increase citizens’ participation and trigger behaviour change in waste segregation have proved successful. For the last few months, Municipal Corporation of Amritsar (MCA) has deployed an aggressive awareness programme in collaboration with civil society groups. Run and managed by Averda under supervision of MCA, the campaign has made encouraging progress. Eleven out of the 85 wards in the city have already achieved over 75% waste segregation at source, while 15 wards are fast catching up.
Waste segregation at source - at the household level - is the key to effective urban waste management. India’s Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, clearly state that it is the responsibility of generators to segregate waste into three categories — wet, dry and hazardous — and hand over the segregated waste to authorised waste collectors or local bodies.
“We are proud to share that with active guidance of MCA, we launched a programme on waste segregation in collaboration with NGOs, and the results are quite encouraging. In the first phase of our programme, which started in September 2020, we’ve reached out to 42128 households across 17 wards through 70 workshops. As a result, I am glad to say that 29639 households are now giving segregated waste,” informed Amit Bajpai, Director India, Averda. The global waste management firm, which is working on getting Punjab’s first waste to energy plant in Amritsar, plans to further step up its citizens outreach and behaviour change communication campaign.
“The support of MCA has been incredible and the leadership works closely with our teams, guiding them on finer nuances of the campaign. The results are there for all to see,” adds Bajpai.
Averda, in collaboration with its outreach partner Feedback Foundation, deployed a multi-layered intervention to change citizens’ behaviour. “After several workshops for waste generators, triggering sessions and door to door visits, awareness levels about safe waste management practices have improved drastically. Our mobilisation efforts have been carried out in colleges, schools, market areas, commercial areas, bulk waste generators and at individual households level,” informed Ajay Sinha of Feedback Foundation.
The agencies also worked on reducing garbage dumping hotspots by introducing innovative interventions including creating rangolis, installing dustbins in market areas, vegetables and fruit mandis. “Citizens are also being asked to download the Swachhta App so that they can register their complaints about laxity in waste collection or dumping of waste in real-time. The MCA has been responding to these complaints with alacrity,” adds Bajpai.
With the support of MCA, local community leaders have been identified in each ward who are able to facilitate better interface with citizens. Together, these measures have resulted in substantially improved civic engagement in waste disposal and management.