Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State(I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs has informed that 1,789 cities have been declared ODF (Open Defecation Free) so far. Further, urban areas of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli have become ODF, which is a major achievement. Speaking at a conference on PPP model for waste to energy projects organised by CII here today, the Minister informed that Swachh Bharat Mission on 2 October 2014 is being implemented in urban areas by the Ministry with two key objectives of elimination of Open Defecation and 100% Scientific management of Municipal Solid Waste. These objectives are to be achieved by 2 October 2019, which would be a befitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, he added. The mission has attained great momentum, which is reflected in the commitment of all 4041 cities & towns to become Open Defecation Free by December 2018, much before the envisioned timeline. “The Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims to make India a clean and open defecation free nation by October 2019, needs to become a ‘Jan Andolan’ with participation from every stakeholder. We have taken up a multi-pronged strategy for making the Mission a people’s movement”, he further said.
On the Solid Waste Management front, with India generating nearly 62 lakh million tonnes per annum of MSW (Municipal Solid Waste), the Minister stated that it becomes critical to manage this waste optimally and more importantly realise the potential of this waste. Informing of the ministry’s focus in this regard, he stated that, “this is resonating in the Ministry’s emphasis on Waste to Wealth and compliance with Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. SBM is not, however, free from challenges. A large number of people still going for OD for want of toilets, a large amount of MSW is still unprocessed, 100 % segregation of MSW at source is not achieved. As of today, 23% waste generated is being processed. While processing plants with 15 Lakh million tonnes capacity are currently functional, plants with an additional 24 Lakh million tonnes capacity are in the pipeline, we clearly have a long way to go in this area.”
For Swachh Bharat Mission to be a continuing success, it is important that we look at waste as a resource and not as garbage that should be discarded at the landfill site. Overflowing landfill sites are leading to air, land and water pollution in addition to loss of valuable wealth that could have been extracted from the waste. In view of this, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has released a ready reckoner on technologies in Waste to wealth on 2nd October 2017. This compendium lays out various technology options available in converting waste to wealth resource. The compendium also has a collection of case studies from all over the country which can be effectively replicated. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Ministry has taken several initiatives along with sister Ministries and Departments to promote “Waste to Wealth” and for enabling implementation of Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016.