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Is clean India only about picking up a broom and sweeping the garbage away into the landfills? The municipal sewage management includes segregation at source, collection, transportation, treatment, and scientific disposal. When we see our Prime Minister and other VIPs picking up a broom and sweeping dirt off the streets, is just the tip of the problem. Especially when there is no mechanism in place to dispose off that dirt/garbage. After segregation of waste and its collection, whatever is left after recycling and resource recovery is disposed off scientifically. While the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules 2000 and Solid Waste Rules 2016 specify collection of segregated waste at source, most municipalities and municipal corporations make only “secondary” collection of waste that is unsegregated in community bins. The focus of Swachh Bharat Mission should be on reduction of waste at first/originating place and segregation of waste into dry, wet, recyclables etc and this would involve people’s participation. Community bins that serves as temporary sites to dump waste/garbage from where it is taken to permanent dumping sites either inside the cities or the outskirts. At these sites, mistakenly called as ‘landfills’ when they are actually garbage hills, garbage is stacked for days, months and years. These serve as huge public health hazard, which is reflected in lower life expectancy of the people living around the area. Fires are quite common at these places especially in summer months, given the combustible nature of methane produced from the waste including inflammable material like rubber, plastic, paper, clothes, cables and garden waste. We must run campaigns on reduction of waste and their segregation and proper scientific disposal and save our children from its toxic effects.

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