It’s no secret that the Indian megacities of Delhi and Mumbai are sitting on humongous stacks of waste, ticking like a time bomb over public health. Mumbai alone generates over 6% of the country’s waste, and almost one-third of Maharashtra. When it comes to collection and transportation of this waste, there are multiple loopholes such as vehicles not working daily, not being fully covered etc. To avoid these regular loopholes, NMMC has introduced over a hundred waste pick-up vehicles that function under a unique QR-based monitoring. The QR code records how many vehicle-linked dustbins have been emptied on a daily basis. Collected waste is then recycled and transported to other processing units.
While the internet has connected the world globally, physical connectivity continues to be a concern as the world opens up after COVID-19 enforced norms. Today, better connectivity is an important part of urban planning and development, in addition to safe environmental parameters. Urban planning allows utilitarian benefits like proximity to growth centres, and social infrastructures like schools, colleges, hospitals, workplaces, shopping areas, and other interest-based cultural activities. Additional psychological benefits considered include reduced hassles, safety, and security in the neighbourhood.
Disposal of e-waste is a global environmental and public health issue. In India, most of it is stored at households as people don’t know how to discard them. Navi Mumbai practices proper e-waste dismantling, processing, and management. Collected and processed at a designated facility, e-waste is also utilised in the beautification of the city. Just as in the case of Swachh Survekshan 2020 outside the NMMC office made of chips used in electronic devices.
Vulnerability to health issues from wastewater is a challenge in India, one that can cause untoward and undesirable harm to both human and natural domains. Taking care of sewage or wastewater is critical and involves its proper handling and treatment before use in irrigation and agricultural purposes. Navi Mumbai has seven STPs (Sewage Treatment Plants) based on SBR (Sequencing Batch Reactor) technology where waste is treated in batches before undergoing a five-step process, finally releasing clean water.
The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched back in 2014 to attain universal sanitation and the 150th Gandhi Jayanti in 2019 saw all Indian villages, districts, states, and union territories constructing over a million toilets, declaring themselves Open Defecation Free (ODF). The mission now moves towards the next level, which is ODF Plus, to focus on safe solid and liquid waste management.
Navi Mumbai has been certified with a Water Plus Rating in the Open Defecation Free (ODF++) category by the Clean Survey 2021 under the Swachh Bharat Mission. Owing to thoughtful, behind-the-scenes planning, the city has earned a total sanitation condition towards solid waste management, bettered sewerage lines, pucca cement roads and storm water drains. Apart from household toilets in the slums, exclusive she-toilets and e-toilets, community and public toilets with all basic conveniences have been well accommodated.
C&D waste consists mostly of inert and non-biodegradable material and a part of it comes to the municipal stream. These wastes being heavy and bulky often find their way into surface drains and choke them. Recycled C&D waste, by means of sorting, crushing and sieving, can be used in making concrete for building roads, block paving etc. This technology is prominently used in countries like the US, UK, Germany and Japan, and very little in India. However, a dedicated plant has now been installed in the city for the purpose of recycling.
Under the Star Rating Protocol of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA), a total of six cities were certified as five-star waste-free in 2019-20, Navi Mumbai being one of them. The star rating conditions are based on some 25 key parameters across the solid waste management spectrum, like door-to-door collection, segregation at source, waste processing, grievances redressal, segregation at city level, plastic ban, sustainability, and dumpsite remediation to name a few. These parameters have been designed for cities to assess their progress while encouraging them to move towards better ratings, thereby improving overall cleanliness and aesthetics.
While considering the adaptive reuse of abandoned or contaminated lands such ad landfill sites, the city has focused on improving quality of life for residents. Nisarg Udyan in Navi Mumbai is one of the best examples. The development took place in three broad phases – firstly an open dump yard converted into a grass layer, secondly setting up a jogging track and finally, the construction of pergolas, sitting area and an open gym. The space creates environmental awareness through its information on biodiversity under the Navi Mumbai Eco-City Project, launched with a vision to develop Navi Mumbai as India’s First Eco-City
Navi Mumbai is clean, neat and beautiful. No wonder the city makes it to the Cleanest Cities of India awards every year. This year (2021), Navi Mumbai has won the first place in the Cleanest City with a Population Between 10 to 40 Lakhs category. At the national level, the city currently stands at the fourth place. The cleanliness drive has been consistently initiated by civic authorities and supported by citizens. CIDCO and NMMC work in tandem to ensure the city remains clean throughout the year. Let’s look at the milestone achievements summing up the journey to this recognition.