The Swachh Survekshan Sanitation Survey was ranked 11th this year, located at Charkhi Dadri, 110 km south of New Delhi, Haryana. This was a big jump compared to its position in 2019, last year it was ranked 850.
The city, which was once filled with garbage piles around every street-corner and landfill overflowing with poisonous waste, is now setting high standards for cleanliness and happiness.
The municipal authority of Charkhi Dadri along with Ashoka University scholars took several measures to make public spaces in the city clean. From house-to-house awareness campaigns and deployment of GPS-enabled auto tippers to administration of training sessions for garbage collection and social security for sanitation workers, she left no stone unturned.
City President of Charkhi Dadri, Sanjay Chapariya, says, “We are living in a time when the importance of a clean environment as well as efficient garbage disposal system cannot be adequately emphasized. The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic has not only established the prominence of personal hygiene among citizens, but has also motivated us to work even harder in relation to their surroundings.”
Mahatma Gandhi himself said, “Cleanliness is more important than freedom“. On Gandhiji’s 2014 150th birthday, the Modi government launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate open defecation and launch the solid waste management ‘Swachh Bharat Andolan‘.
The Clean Survey Survey was launched after two years to monitor the performance of the mission. Charkhi Dadri was ranked 11th among 4,242 cities in India in a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development and conducted annually by the Quality Council of India.
Wave of change together
When the city council of Charkhi Dadri saw the fatal effects of poor sanitation and unscientific waste management in the city, it decided to step forward and work towards improving the landscape.
Council members reached out to students who were part of the Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associates Program (CMGGAP) to conduct preliminary research and create an action plan to promote sanitation in the city.
CMGGAP, which was established in 2016 by the Government of Haryana and Ashoka University, is successfully running with youth in association with various district administrations of the state to promote the public service of the state and government.
When Akshay Joshi, who currently works as an advisor with the Directorate of Urban Local Bodies, Haryana, was called to work with the civic body in Charkhi Dadri in 2019, there was no limit to his excitement.
Akshay says, “I and a few other student volunteers started by assessing the need for the money and resources needed to make people aware of how to isolate and keep public spaces organized. We have outlined the capabilities required for garbage collection and disposal in the region. “
The basic structure of the plan centred around three components – awareness, speedy waste collection and disposal, and empowerment of sanitation workers. As soon as the proposal was finalized, Sanjay and his team in the municipal council were in a hurry to act. He made his debut in September last year. Jan Ashirwad Yatra during Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Sufficient capital was obtained from.
It is always necessary to sensitize residents about the best waste management practices to create collective impact. Therefore, the council started a door-to-door campaign to spread awareness and encourage them and asked them to dump different garbage and garbage only at fixed points.
Sanjay says, “We got a lot of support from the CM office to run the campaign. The residents also supported us. The result of positive responses inspired us to move forward.”
When it came to implementing systematic means to collect solid waste, the council focused on installing dustbins around every other street corner. It avoided instances of individuals throwing garbage on the streets or sidewalks. In a span of about eight months, they were successful in installing more than 5,000 bins across the city.
In addition, the council purchased 20 e-rickshaws and used 24 already existing auto tippers to collect waste regularly from homes and commercial establishments.
Akshay explains, “The thing that worked the most was to put GPS in all the garbage transport vehicles. Not only in terms of route mapping, but also in monitoring the efficiency of waste collection. Each tipper had two built-in bins – one for dry waste and another for wet waste. Within a few months, door-to-door collections in the city increased from 60 percent to 100 percent. “
While implementing the initiatives, one of the major hurdles of the Municipal Council was regarding disposal of waste properly. This was due to lack of recycling units and resource recovery facilities in the area.
Empowering the lives of sanitation workers
According to the Intercontinental Journal of Human Resource Research Review, 2014, there are about 1.2 million sanitation workers in India. And most of them are from economically poor background, where even basic facilities like healthcare are not available.
However, Charkhi Dadri did not ignore the quality of life of his sanitation workers (sanitation workers).
Sanjay explains, “We made several efforts to ensure the comfort of our cleaning staff. They were trained to use protective equipment and gather to handle waste. Care was also taken to deposit his salary on time and the extra care he received under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana.
Arun Kumar, a sanitation worker working with the city’s municipality, explains,
“We usually work eight hours a day and our salaries accumulate on time compared to a few years ago. The council has also started distributing masks, gloves, soap and protective uniforms. I am personally very happy about these initiatives. ”
Today, Charkhi Dadri has become an example for many other cities in India. It has been shown that systematic planning and execution can go a long way to maintain good sanitation. The city is gearing up to finish first in the Clean Survey Survey next year, but it also aims to address its challenges related to waste extraction by establishing more waste processing and material recovery facilities (MRF).