The only thing the streets of Dwarka see more than cars these days is garbage.
Dustbins are seldom cleared and garbage is seldom disposed properly. Market areas in sectors 6, 10, 4, 5, 11 and 12, and residential areas under wards 135 and 136 are the worst affected, with overflowing garbage bins and trash scattered on the roads a common sight. Residents in these areas are distraught at the unhygienic conditions they are forced to live in.
"The condition here is appalling," said Vineeta Chhabra, a social worker and resident of Apna Villa Apartments, Sector 10 (Ward 136). "It is difficult to walk on the streets. The stench is unbearable. Large garbage bins have been replaced with smaller bins that do not have the capacity to collect all the waste the area generates.”
Sectors 3, 5, 6 and 23 come under the same ward and the condition there is the same. Kamal Kaul, former secretary of Philips Apartments, Sector 23, says, "Earlier they used to collect garbage every day. These days, however, they are not cleaned for days on end. Garbage collectors say there is an acute shortage of collection vehicles."
It is the same story in the sectors under Ward 135. What makes matters worse is that the areas with overflowing garbage are right next to residential pockets — in front of the gates of Om Apartments and Radhika Apartments, and at the weekly Sector 14 market.
Rakesh Godara, president of Om Apartments; SS Chowhan, president of Radhika Apartments; and K Vahid Diwan, president of Kautilya Apartments, discussed the issue with the mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Shyam Sharma, at a recent meeting.
To be fair, SDMC did launch a pilot project in Sector 23 to improve the sub-city's waste management. But residents were not happy with how it was being managed, and it eventually ended up as a failure.
"About a month back, a couple of SDMC officials told me they had designated an open plot, some 300 m from the society, as a dumping zone," said AL Gambhir, president of Shaman Apartments, Sector 23. "They said they were encouraging all societies in the vicinity to do the same, as they were short of people to collect garbage from every society. They took away the society's dustbin and assured us that the dumping zone would be cleared regularly. The reality? We are stuck with days-old rotting garbage in the dumping zone and no dustbin in our society to throw trash in. It was an epic failure."
Former president of Dwarka Forum (DF) and a resident of Sector 22, Rejimon CK, deemed the pilot project "impractical and of no use".
Dwarka Forum, in association with SDMC, has been continuously following up on the issue of garbage management in Dwarka. A Whatsapp group was formed about a month back to encourage residents to take active part in discussions by posting photographs of garbage-strewn areas. On July 5, a meeting was held between Dwarka Forum and the commissioner of SDMC, Puneet Goel, to review the condition of sanitation, in a bid to make the sub-city garbage-free.
Dwarka Forum discussed the ineffectiveness of the pilot project with the deputy commissioner at a recent meeting. The fact that all the society garbage bins from Sector 23 had been taken away without formal notice, forcing residents to dump their waste at the dumping zone 300 m from their societies was discussed and a permanent solution sought. The forum had strongly objected to the arrangement in a previous meeting with Deputy Commissioner Sanjeev Kumar on August 5, 2016, but SDMC officials had informed that it was not a permanent solution and that this was only a trial run.
"MCD had considered the pilot project after our suggestion at the meeting with the SDMC commissioner at the meeting on July 5," said Madhuri Varshney, president of Dwarka Forum. "The project tried to increase efficiency, but it was botched."
"Area councillors are responsible for garbage management and I will ask them to act immediately," said Shyam Sharma, mayor of SDMC.