Developing countries are still working towards better waste management. We need proper waste disposal, managing and minimising the hazardous waste, and recycling to implement this well. While many nations are working out their waste management methods, a small town in WestBengal has exhibited its ways to manage solid waste in an eco-friendly way.
Uttarpara, a small city of 10.09 square km in West Bengal is administered by a 163-year-old municipality which helped the Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project win a global award. In the C40 Mayors’ Summit held recently on December 1 in Mexico City, Uttarpara defeated its contenders Milan and Auckland.
It is a matter of pride for the entire nation to get this recognition.
Waste management has been a massive problem in the country. 31% of the population living in cities and towns generates 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per year. Of this, the civic bodies collect only 43 million tonnes. They treat 11.9 million tonnes, and dump the remaining 31 million tonnes of garbage in landfill sites, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Uttarpara city reveals waste free roadsides and marketplaces. The Municipal workers gather bio-degradable, and non-degradable solid waste from households. The waste is then carried in vans having separate chambers and dumped separately at the transfer centre. Once there, the non-degradable waste is compressed in compactor machines and dumped at sanitary landfills.
Rag pickers collect things and sell those to waste dealers. The local civic body provides them with masks, gumboots, gloves and uniform. It is mandatory to wear all the paraphernalia before sifting through garbage. They segregate the remaining bio-degradable from the non-degradable waste. The bio-degradable waste goes to the compost plant, and municipality sells the bio-manure produced through marketing agents.
The city makes 3-4 tonnes of manure daily from the 12-14 tonnes of waste gathered. However, the capacity to produce fertiliser is up to 10 tonnes per day. In the award ceremony in Mexico, Dilip Yadav the Civic Chief briefed about a plan to cover all drains across the town, as reported by Hindustan Times.
C40 group website mentions that poor sewage management and constant waste dumping into the River Ganges resulted in the extinction of several aquatic animals.
The adoption and promotion of the 3R principle of reducing, reusing and recycling have positive effects on the environment. This has reduced the dumping of waste in the city, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.