6 Indian Cities Earn 5-Stars for Being Garbage Free

May 2020
6 Indian Cities Earn 5-Stars for Being Garbage Free

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has certified a total of six cities as 5-star, 65 cities as 3-star and 70 cities as 1-star under the star rating of garbage free cities for the assessment year 2019-20. The 5-star cities include Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai.

While announcing the results in New Delhi on Tuesday, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) also launched the revised protocol for the star rating of garbage free cities. The Star Rating Protocol was launched by MoHUA in January 2018 to institutionalise a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage free status, and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.

Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs and senior officials of the Ministry were also present.

Addressing the media, the Puri said, “The importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management has been brought to the forefront now due to the COVID crisis. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the present situation could have been much worse had it not been for the critical part that Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) has played in the last five years to ensure a high degree of cleanliness and sanitation in urban areas.” He further added, “Our aim is to institutionalise as well as bring consistency and transparency when it comes to solid waste management (SWM). This certification is not only an acknowledgement of the clean status of urban local bodies and strengthened SWM systems but also a mark of trust and reliability akin to universally known standards.”

The protocol has been devised in a holistic manner including components such as cleanliness of drains and water bodies, plastic waste management, managing construction & demolition waste, etc., which are critical drivers for achieving garbage free cities. While the key thrust of this protocol is on SWM, it also takes care of ensuring certain minimum standards of sanitation through a set of prerequisites defined in the framework.

Mishra added, “To ensure that the Protocol has a SMART framework, we developed a three-stage assessment process. In the first stage, ULBs populate their progress data on the portal along with supporting documents within a particular timeframe. The second stage involves a desktop assessment by a third-party agency selected and appointed by MoHUA. Claims of cities that clear the desktop assessment are then verified through independent field level observations.”

In the recent phase of star rating assessment, 1,435 cities had applied. During the assessments, 11.9 million citizen feedbacks and over 1 million geo-tagged pictures were collected and 5,175 solid waste processing plants were visited by 1,210 field assessors. While 698 cities cleared the desktop assessment, 141 cities have been certified with star rating during field assessment. The low number of certifications signifies the rigorous and robust certification mechanism of the protocol.

Additionally, in the light of the COVID crisis, MoHUA has issued detailed guidelines to all states and cities on special cleaning of public places and collection and disposal of bio-medical waste from quarantined households. MoHUA, in the first week of April, also revised its hugely popular citizen grievance redressal platform, Swacchata App in order to enable citizens to get their COVID-related issues also redressed by their respective urban local bodies. Touching upon the aspect of safety and well-being of sanitation workers, Puri added, “MoHUA has also issued an advisory in this regard which touches upon the aspect of provision of personal protective equipments (PPE)s, health-check-ups and payment of regular wages to sanitation workers. I am happy to see that the services of sanitation workers are being duly recognised by authorities and citizens alike. Cities have also undertaken several other innovations to tackle COVID – some cities have been making use of drones for the sanitisation of public areas while others have been making extensive use of fire tenders for the same.”

He added, “My ministry is aware of the adverse impact in terms of financial stress during lockdown. A special micro-credit facility for the street vendors to facilitate easy access is being launched to support nearly 5 million vendors. Similarly, to mitigate the hardships of urban migrants be it workers in manufacturing industries, etc., Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (AHRC)s is being launched.”

Since its launch in 2014, SBM-U has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. Today, 4,324 ULBs have been declared open defecation free (ODF) (4,204 certified ODF), 1,306 cities certified ODF+ and 489 cities certified ODF++. Moreover, 6.6 million individual household toilets and over 600,000 community and public toilets have been constructed or are under construction. In the area of solid waste management, 96 per cent of wards have 100 per cent door-to door collection while 65 per cent of the total waste generated is being processed.

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