Will Mumbai Fall In Line Before BMC’s Waste Segregation Deadline?

BMC’s 2 October deadline leaves Mumbaikars scrambling to implement waste management techniques. 

Published
India
4 min read

Housing societies across Mumbai are bracing themselves as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) deadline for waste segregation approaches. From 2 October, the BMC won’t collect wet waste from housing societies and commercial complexes that generate more than 100 kg of garbage daily.

The civic body’s move to encourage waste segregation at source will not just streamline the existing waste management system in the maximum city but also reduce the burden being borne by Mumbai’s dumping grounds.

Till now, whenever the BMC workers came to collect garbage we just handed it over to them. But now we are finding out that dry and wet waste will have to be segregated and then given to them. This is a good thing because then the amount of garbage being dumped will reduce as some of it is being taken care of by us.
Asha Sheth, resident

How Does Mumbai Dispose Its Trash?

Mumbai generates over 9,000 metric tonnes of garbage daily. According to the BMC, 73 percent of this is food waste. A society of about 80 families generate approximately 100 kg of wet waste. Till now, BMC workers would collect the mixed garbage from all societies every morning and collectively dump the lot at the dumping grounds. But with the capacity of all three dumping grounds in the city – Deonar, Kanjurmarg and Mulund – already exhausted, the civic body is now encouraging Mumbaikars to segregate at source and compost their garbage.

9,000 metric tons
Amount of waste generated by Mumbai daily

While the BMC has been organising workshops across the city in a bid to educate people on waste segregation and composting, societies too are roping in experts to interact with their residents and initiate projects.

We are providing demonstrations to societies daily on different methods of composting they could implement. Till now, we have spoken to 9 societies in Borivali and three of them have already agreed to take our help and keep compost baskets in their homes.     
Anil Sutar, Asmita NGO
A volunteer from Asmita NGO demonstrates the technique of using compost basket to residents.
A volunteer from Asmita NGO demonstrates the technique of using compost basket to residents.
(Photo: The Quint)

Different Composting Techniques for Societies

Home Compost Baskets: Several organisations have come up with compact baskets that can be kept inside homes and can contain up to 4 kg of wet waste. Over a few days, the solid waste generates manure. This could cost anywhere between Rs 400-600.

Compost Pits for Societies: For societies that have many families residing in a large compound, compost pits work best. Although the residents need to initially invest anywhere between Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs, these pits can accommodate over 30 kg of garbage.

Workers from Sampoorn(e)arth treat a compost pit.  
Workers from Sampoorn(e)arth treat a compost pit.  
(Photo: The Quint)

Many societies across Mumbai already began segregating their waste since the BMC first started sending notices to Advance Locality Managements (ALM) back in 2012.

The pits we made for wet waste were initially much bigger than what was required. We had hoped that others would join in. It was a futuristic view and then we held meetings to make members aware about this. Many have joined in since we started four years ago.
Manisha Pradhan, resident
While societies have been trying to come to a consensus and implement composting methods before the 2 October deadline, not everyone is willing to shell out extra money for the cause. Some are even accusing the BMC of shirking its responsibility and are seeking funds from the civic body to build compost pits.

“Cost is one of the issues that we are facing. For so many years BMC has been handling waste management in our society but now we are suddenly scrambling to generate funds. Every organisation we spoke to for building our compost pits have quoted anywhere between Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs for the project. Collecting money from society members will take us more time,” said Shekhar Varadkar, the chairman of a society in Mumbai’s Borivali area.

While some societies are ready to spend the extra money, finding space inside their compound to build a compost pit is a huge constraint.

There’s no space to even park our vehicles, we leave them on top of a closed gutter. How will we find space to build compost pits?
Arvind Panchal, resident

To overcome space issue, Shekhar Varadkar’s society is now contemplating building their compost pits on the terrace of the apartment complex. While societies continue racing against time, not many are confident of meeting the 2 October deadline.

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