People need to make the change


Goa's landscape resembles an open garbage bin in some places, but the state has achieved a modicum of success in a few key areas of solid waste management (SWM) and workable models need extension on a bigger canvas.
Garbage managers cite lack of political will among elected representatives from the higher level to the lower rung of local self-governing bodies, and people themselves, as the main reason for the non-integration of pilot projects into a solid waste management system.
A few successes notched up by the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) and other garbage solution providers are good enough for replication in other towns and villagers, sources said.
The CCP pioneered the segregation of mainly wet and dry garbage in the city in 2003. A few villages, such as Parra, Merces, Varca and Benaulim and others were among the few bodies which followed up the model on a small scale. CCP also had another feather in its cap of baling non-recyclable waste and sending it to cement factories. In October 2011, CCP commenced the four-bin segregation of plastic, paper, glass and metals, and other wastes. Private initiatives also helped set up more than 2000 composting units, big or small in individual homes and housing colonies.
But these initiatives have covered up only a small part of Goa. "There is no sense in just creating models unless we scale them up at a higher level," says Parag Rangnekar, programme officer of the mineral foundation of Goa (MFG). The foundation tasted success in a SWM project in the Virdi ward of Sanquelim and is looking to extend it further.
Initiatives launched by a few waste management experts have shown the way ahead. Earlier, in many villages, the waste management programme was typified by open dumping at familiar sites. "There was not an inch of designated space for waste management, and only dumping was happening some years ago," Pradip Sarmokadam, a researcher and solution provider in waste management, said.
After his firm took up systematic garbage management in a ward of Penha de Franca, the Goa housing board offered 1000sq m of its land for replication of the success of the pilot project to other wards. "It was successful because local panch member Umesh Phadte went to each household persuading the residents to cooperate in segregation," Sarmokadam said.
The pilot projects or successful models are not extended for various reasons. "Lack of motivation among panch members is a standard reason," says a garbage management expert.
Again, the local self governing bodies are not equipped with mechanisms to implement the solid waste management programmes. A few basic requirements of paying wages to workers and collecting fees from residents for services under SWM are niggling problems. "The panchayat staff is saddled with their own set of duties or is unwilling to cooperate," a source said.
The village of Penha de Franca is the high-end locale for the prestigious secretariat and assembly complexes and urbanized areas of Porvorim. But the success of the pilot project has not been extended to other areas due to lack of an organizational set-up to oversee the launch of the scheme.
"There is a need for a nodal agency with laboratory facilities and an organized set-up to help panchayats launch SWM progammes," Sarmokadam said.
The garbage management committees at the panchayat level have been chosen to monitor SWM programmes at the village level. "But in most cases, these panels are only on paper and go into hibernation after they are elected," a former sarpanch said.
Several villages show enthusiasm in setting up systems in their areas. In Verna, a few meetings were held to launch a SWM programme. "There were 1,600 villagers at the third meeting. The project report was submitted but nothing happened after that," says a source.
The directorate of panchayats had offered financial assistance to panchayats for scientific treatment of waste, but there were few takers for the scheme, sources said.
Concludes Patricia Pinto, co-opted CCP councillor for waste management, "The people should cooperate if they want to see a change, and for that, they have to be part of the change," she said. [TOI]