A leading environment advocacy group lauded the just-released 'Swachh Survekshan' 2018 for using improved methodology but stressed the need for cities to enhance solid waste management system for better results.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) noted that there was a clear improvement in the methodology adopted in the survey with more focus on innovation and on adoption of sustainable waste management practices.
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had released the 'Swachh Survekshan 2018' yesterday. Jharkhand has emerged as the best-performing state in terms of cleanliness, while Indore in Madhya Pradesh was adjudged the cleanest city in the country.
"There is a clear improvement in the methodology adopted by the survey – we see more focus on innovation, and on adoption of sustainable waste management practices.
"However, some of the cities that have been selected for the awards are merely visibly clean and cannot claim to have adopted sustainable practices," said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
He said the CSE had advocated categorisation of cities by population and pointed out that it is incorrect and misleading to place cities with different populations in the same category of ranking.
"This year's survey has definitely made significant improvements. However, cities must shift their focus towards creating end-to-end systems to support segregation with effective processing and disposal mechanisms.
"Only then will such ranking systems work in changing the solid waste management scenario in the country," he added.
The 'Swachh Survekshan 2018' has followed the broad population-based categories, several sub-categories have been introduced — such as the cleanest city or the fastest moving city, and cities with best solid waste management practices, highest citizen feedback, best innovation and practices, etc, CSE said.
Elaborating on the green body's forum of cities that segregate scores points, Swati Singh Sambyal, programme manager, waste management, CSE, said cities which are members of the forum that segregate have bagged several awards.
"Mysuru, for instance, a pioneer in waste management, has been ranked India's cleanest city in the 3-10 lakh population bracket. Mysuru treats close to 60 tonnes of wet waste and 90 tonnes of dry waste every day through a decentralised waste management system, and 85 per cent of the city is segregating its waste," she said.
The forum was instituted by CSE in December 2017, and now has 20 cities from 13 states as its members. The forum's 2018 conclave is scheduled to be held in Delhi on June 7, 2018.
The CSE said Indore and Bhopal, which held leading ranks in the previous Survekshan, have shown significant improvement this year in segregation at source and opting for decentralised waste management.
Greater Hyderabad has been recognised for the best solid waste management practice amongst all capital cities/UTs in the country, it said.
When it comes to cities with less than 100,000 population, Panchgani, a small hill station, has emerged as the cleanest in the west zone. The city encourages practices such as 100 per cent source segregation, collection and processing of solid waste.
Panaji, which has emerged as the best innovator in the west zone, was recognised by CSE in 2016 as one of the cleanest and most efficient cities for its waste management, it said.
"The past few years have witnessed a paradigm shift, with the key focus moving to segregation at source and processing from collecting and dumping. It has been observed that collection of segregated waste is the most critical issue in the entire management of solid waste.
"Such efforts are either restricted to a few localities or wards within a town with only a few urban local bodies that have taken up such efforts at the entire town level. Also, it is imperative for cities to create adequate infrastructure for collection and processing of segregated waste," said Bhushan.
However, Sambyal said one major anomaly in the survekshan results is that it continues to mark cities on their door-to-door collection systems.
"But some cities do not practice door-to-door, and yet are the cleanest, adopting in-situ treatment of wet waste and collection of dry waste by the local body," she said.