Horticulture waste left unattended across the city has become a major problem with residents, particularly when civic agencies are busy passing the buck. Neither the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), nor the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is bothered with its disposal or management.
Such waste is either set on fire, left to decompose naturally or mixed with wet waste — and sometimes it is simply seen strewn across the streets. This amounts to utter mismanagement of waste that can become an important resource, feel residents.
Shameera Ashroff, general secretary of the Association of Neighbourhood Ladies Get-Together (ANHLGT), explains the gravity of the situation: “It seems horticulture waste is nobody’s business. Trucks that collect domestic garbage refuse to dispose of them. Most societies end up burning such waste or just dumping it on the roadsides — which is illegal. Such heaps make an ideal habitat for snakes, thus posing a grave danger in residential areas. On the other hand, burning it or dumping it on the roadside is an environmental hazard. There are plenty of solutions, really! But people must be willing to work on them.”
Composting is the best way to manage such waste, feels TC Batra, secretary of Dream Apartments, Sector 22. He stresses, “It indeed is the best way to manage horticulture waste. Civic agencies should think about it more seriously. The DDA and SDMC were supposed to take up composting in neighbourhood parks, but nothing has happened so far. They must initiate a separate mechanism to dispose, segregate and process waste. RWAs and other social organisations are always there to lend a hand.”
When City Spidey contacted the SDMC for its views, an official said on condition of anonymity, “We are only responsible for lifting waste from dustbins — not even from roads or from the area around dustbins. The horticulture waste from trees is the DDA’s responsibility.” A DDA official retorted, saying, “Keeping the city clean is the SDMC's responsibility. Whatever lies at dumping sites, in front of societies or on the roads will have to be managed by them.”
Leader of the house, SDMC, Subhash Arya, however, responded more positively, saying, “We have taken up the matter more seriously. And we have started a pilot project for composting such waste. We have brought two machines that can segregate waste, crush it and then dump it in a pit. We will need more such machines in future to be able to properly manage horticulture waste across the zone.”