Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Suggestions for an efficient garbage system in Goa

The garbage situation in Goa has reached unbearable levels. With Goa's garbage bowl overflowing and with opposition to garbage dumping a routine protest everywhere, if some corrective action is not undertaken immediately and the whole system overhauled completely, Goa will be in for a man made disaster. To help the establishment I would like to present a few suggestions

(1) Corporations and Govt : First prove your sincerity
Have efficient corporation governance first. Without efficient governance every effort is bound to come to zero. Fix right people for every task related to garbage management. Qualified and dedicated individuals. Not commission hungry wolves who are least concerned about the end-result of every exercise and are only awaiting the next contract and the next contractor.

(2) Dont hesitate to roll heads
Seek accountability from every person who is given a task in the garbage management hierarchy. Monitor the progress on a daily basis and have daily or alternate day meetings to analyse faults and enforce corrective actions immediately. Dont wait for garbage digester tanks to crack and leak and cause rotten slurry to inundate lives thereby inviting public ire.

(3) Keep systems transparent and enforce legally binding Purchasing and Work order policies
Identify suitable suppliers of garbage disposal machinery/ garbage handling machinery. Identify proven people who have undertaken garbage management tasks with other corporations in the country and the world. Have a transparent system and award the contract to the most deserving in terms of not only price but also reputation, accountability etc. Seek indemnity bond for each transactions. Don't be gullible or rather willingly be fooled by verbal assurances. Make a payment schedule, corresponding to work done or machineries supplied. Hold back "retention fees" for performance guarantees for certain period of warranty time. Seek to know what are post warranty terms of maintenance and obtain legally binding assurances for future maintenance support.

(4)Have Composting drives like Anti-polio drives
For Wet garbage which can be composted Vermi-compost pits should be made most diligently and corporation people should be assigned for their functioning full time. Also awareness about vermi composting should be made in every village, every building society and every residential colony. Have road shows, explain benefits, take part in exhibitions. Just SHOUT!

(5)Dispose garbage for a profit
Dry garbage- paper, glass, metals, thermocole, rexine etc- can be recycled. Such segregated waste should be sold and dealers identified to pick such garbage on a regular basis. This will help self sustenance. Be transparent and keep atleast 4 dealers to deal with. Do not allow piling of disposable garbage. Make contracts with dealers with penalty terms for delay and enforce those terms. Don't honeymoon with their excuses.

(6)Identify garbage proliferators
To handle actual garbage be more forthright and determined to tackle garbage. Identify sources of garbage and devise ways of involving the people responsible for garbage proliferation in getting rid of garbage.

Thin plastic bags, sachets of gutkha and other sachets of shampoos, chips, biscuits and pet bottles are the major nuisance. All such manufacturer companies including edible oil companies, soft drink manufacturers, water bottlers, soaps and plastic manufacturers, milk bag manufacturers which distribute their products in Goa causing the most hazardous nuisance should be identified and should be made a part of garbage management

This may be easier said than done. However all companies of such products can be made to take back their garbage for a compensation towards its collection. For this system to function efficiently, the government should be the mediator wherein a government run agency takes back all such garbage from consumers after compensating them directly and then after segregating this garbage , the concerned companies should lift this garbage and it should be their concern to get rid of this menace.

Care should be taken by the government not to handle disposal of this garbage on their own and thereby levy a surcharge on products of such companies. Levying a surcharge will backfire on Goans as the companies will pass on this extra cost burden on the consumers.

(7)Urge consumers to return empty milk packets back to Goa dairy
Milk packets are another nuisance. Some households use around 3-4 packets on an average per day. Their addition to the garbage per month is around 100 packets. While Goa dairy already has a system ( although reasonably inefficient) to take back 100 empty bags of milk in return for a 1/2 litre milk bag, the other milk companies do not follow such a procedure and should be made to follow suit. Milk bags plastic is a nuisance and Goans should endeavour to return the packets back to the companies meticulously. Goans need to be educated on this.

(8) Ban plastic bags with all your heart
The root cause of majority of plastic menace are the plastic bags for fish, groceries and vegetables as well as for meats and other commodities. Such bags have been banned as a "colourable exercise" in the past. There needs to be a genuine ban and heavy fines levied on every part of that dirty plastic chain beginning with the manufacturers, distributors, handlers and even on consumers. The verdict should be loud and clear. It should be a genuine drive against plastic. Not a half hearted grumble.

There are more suggestions to give, but the above five should help rid most of the problems associated with garbage. The first thing is to instill confidence in the people that the corporations and the government is not lax about garbage anymore. But is there a will? If there is, there surely are many ways.

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