Swachh Bharat – How far it is?
The simple answer to this question is a minimum of 10 years away and that is only if the government spends at least Rs 2,00,000 crores per annum from right now. When the problem becomes colossal due to neglect, non-planned development, and non cognizance of it for longer period of time it requires a lot of time, money and perseverance to solve it. The aim of the Mission Swachh Bharat should be to spread cleanliness everywhere and encompass everything – roads, railway tracks, bus stations, railway stations, parks, beaches, shorelines, river banks, reservoirs, lakes, schools colleges, universities and all other public places. 100% Swachh Bharat can be achieved only by the strong will of the government combined with people’s participation and their strong desire to keep their country perfectly clean at all times throughout the year. Swachh Bharat will not become a reality by one day work of sweeping some streets at somewhere, 5 minute token gestures by celebrities, campaigning on TVs and newspapers, and most importantly, without proper planning, efficient mechanism, perfect execution and monitoring system developed for the entire country. It should become routine and daily exercise and become a part of our daily lives as much as our breathing and heart beat. Swachh Bharat mission requires huge network of workforce, basic infrastructure, consummate planning, tough laws and efficient monitoring at all levels. Swachh Bharat should also become ever green Bharat to make Healthy Bharat. Clean and green India = Healthy India
The key to success for Swachh Bharat lies in solving the basic problem.
The basic problem consists of 4 forms that are generated by humans and industries
- Solid waste – 30%
- Wastewater or sewerage – 30%
- Industrial waste – 20%
- Pollution of air – 20%
100 % Swachh Bharat is possible if we tackle all the above problems simultaneously. The first problem can be solved immediately; the second, third and fourth problems get solved in 10 years only if the government follows all my suggestions as given below. That means Swachh Bharat mission will be successful up to 30% within one year if solid waste management plan is implemented throughout India. Mission Swachh Bharat can be made successful up to 60% in 10 years if underground drainage systems along with sewage treatment projects are completed in all urban and rural areas. 100% Swachh Bharat is possible in the same 10 years if the government works at the break neck speed to tackle all the four forms of problem mentioned above with effective mechanism put in place.
Effective management of Solid waste and water waste is an absolute necessity to increase the quality of life. House flies thrive on solid waste that lay scattered everywhere on the roads, parks, railway tracks and on every public place. Only 20% of urban area is provided with underground drainage system. The remaining 80% urban areas and possibly 99% of rural areas do not have proper drainage system. The drainage water overflows onto roads and get stagnated in small pools making the surroundings stink and filthy and emanates foul smell unbearable for living. In India 90% of the wastewater is being discharged untreated directly into the seas, rivers, waterways, lakes and streams. This untreated sewage wastewater is causing widespread water pollution both on the surface water bodies and in the underground water. The open drainage system without sludge processing plants is damaging the environment beyond repair. This untreated wastewater carries disease causing microorganisms that can transmit diseases to humans. The open drainage and untreated sewage water is the natural habitat for mosquito breeding and proliferation. Mosquitoes can act as vectors for hosting and transmitting many disease causing pathogens. They carry pathogens internally without being affected and transmit the microorganisms to the people while sucking blood from them. The house flies act as scalars for pathogens and carry them externally on its body, in its mouth and through its vomitus to contaminate food items with pathogens. They pass on these pathogens to people either through food items or directly through physical contact on wounds or gashes. Both mosquito and house fly carry disease causing pathogens but the only difference is the former carries pathogens internally without being effected and the latter carries the pathogen externally. They are porters and transmitters of pathogens. The formidable duo of mosquitoes and house flies can transmit and cause deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, chickengunya, encephalitis, filariasis, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, anthrax, tuberculosis, etc.
According to guess estimation people are spending nearly Rs 2,00,000 crores per annum to get treatment for the diseases acquired due to unclean and unhygienic environment they live in. If the government takes strong measures and invest heavily on civic amenities to improve the sanitation to the highest level, then half of the diseases can be prevented. Hygienic environment is the best form of defence against diseases.
An efficient and continuous wastewater and solid waste management program will go a long way in improving the quality of life, preventing many diseases and checking environmental degradation.
Management of clearance, transportation and disposal of solid waste is a permanent and daily exercise whereas waste water [sewerage] management needs one time big investment for installing underground sewer pipes and establishing sludge processing plants.
80% of the expenditure cost for solid waste management will go towards manpower, 10% towards transportation and 10% towards equipment.
80% of the total expenditure cost for wastewater [sewage] management is required to be spent on laying sewer pipes and sewage treatment plants. 20% of the expenditure cost is to be spent on maintenance of sewer pipes and sewage treatment plants. That means sewage management needs huge one time investment with minimum maintenance cost thereafter.
Here are my suggestions for swachh Bharat.
- Solid waste management
Solid waste consists of five types
- Organic waste derived from vegetables, fruits, unused food items
- Entrails of animals at meat shops and abattoirs
- Plastic waste
- Glass, metal and debris waste
Solid waste management and its disposal can be made in 4 steps
- Segregation of solid waste at the source or generation point i.e., at homes
- Collection of solid waste from door to door and storing in separate waste metal crates
- Transportation of solid waste from waste metal crates to dumping yards
- Recycling, conversion, incineration and utilization units.
The infrastructure and work-force needed for solid waste management
Swachh Bharat means maintaining total cleanliness at all roads, railway lines, railways stations, bus stations, parks, beaches, river banks, shorelines, reservoirs, lakes and all other public places.
- Every household, shop and commercial establishment should have two separate dustbins for organic waste and plastic waste and possibly the third for E-waste.
- There are approximately 25 crore households in India. The government should appoint a health worker for 50 families for door to door collection of solid waste every day. They work for 3 hours in the morning to collect solid waste from 25 households and they work for another 3 hours in the evening to collect garbage from 25 households. Per capita waste generation in India is said to be 0.5 KGs per day. That means each health worker has to dispose of 125 KGs per day [50 households x 5 members x 0.5 KGs]. They can carry it by using small hand driven trolleys to nearby dustbins/metal crates on roadsides put up by panchayats, municipalities, corporations, sanitary departments, NHAI and other departments. There should be separate metal waste crates for organic waste and plastic waste.
- The government should appoint 47 lakh health workers, at the ratio of one worker for each KM of road, for maintenance of the entire road network in India. [The entire road network including national highways, state highways, R&B roads, District roads, and panchayats roads is 47 lakh KMs. Out of this 25 lakh KMs is paved road i.e. tar or cement, and the remaining 22 lakh KMs are gravel and metal roads]
- The government should appoint 18,000 workers at the rate of 3 workers for each KM of entire coastline of mainland, which is 6,100, for maintenance and collection of garbage. [Note-The coastline of India including Lakshadweep islands, Andaman and Island is 7517 KMs. The government should also appoint workers on the coastline of these Islands wherever human habitats are there.]
- The NREGS scheme should be integrated with the “Mission Swachh Bharat” so that Rs 40,000 crores can be utilized for this mission Swachh Bharat.
- The railways should appoint 1,15,000 workers at the rate of one worker for each KM of railway line and one worker for each platform at all its 7,172 stations.
Total expenditure cost for man power to keep the total length railway lines and stations clean is equal to 1,20,000 x 10,000 x 12 = 1440 crores per annum
The annual revenues of Railways are 1,63,450 crore. Spending 1.2 % of these revenues [1961 crore] towards cleanliness of railway tracks and stations is not a big problem.
- It should be made mandatory for all schools, colleges, universities; industries etc. to keep their entire premises clean at all times. A law should be enacted to impose monetary punishments on those do not comply cleanliness rules.
- It should be made mandatory for vehicle manufacturers to put small waste bins in all vehicles like cars, buses, vans, trucks etc.
- There should be waste bins in every coach or bogey of the train.
- It should also mandatory for all shops and commercial establishments, offices to put dust bins.
- Persons, who are caught littering or spitting on the roads, parks, beaches, bus stations, railway stations and all other public places, should be levied with penalty of Rs 100.
- Mission Swachh Bharat committees should be formed in villages, colonies, towns and cities to monitor cleanliness in schools, colleges, parks, stations, industries and all other public places.
India need 20,000 dumping yards for garbage collection, processing, recycling, conversion and energy extraction. The government should allot 10 acres from available government land for the dumping garbage. Care should be taken to see that these garbage dumping yards are at least 3 KMs away from villages, colonies and human habitations.
Total solid waste generated in entire India [both and urban rural areas] is supposed to be 18 crore tonnes. Out of this 15 crore tonnes is organic waste. This waste can be utilized in three ways
- If it is allowed to decompose and turn into nutrient-rich material by vermiculture process so that it can be supplied to farmers at nominal rate to be used in farming instead of synthetic fertilizers. Solid organic waste combined with sewage sludge, the by-product derived during sewage treatment, will produce vermicompost which increases crop yield, retains soil texture, enhances soil aeration and enriches soil for luxurious plant growth. Mission Swatch Bharat will finally lead to organic farming.
- 15 crore solid waste, 5 crore tons Sewage sludge can generate 5 crore tons of vermicompost annually to reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizers. Organic farming will reduce the usage of fungicides and pesticides to great extent.
- E-auctioning of plastic waste, which is estimated to be 3 crore tons per annum, will generate Rs 20,000 crores per annum.
- By using the entire solid waste, that is being generated annually, 1 MW capacity thermal plants can be set up at each of the 20,000 dumping yards. 3.7 KGs of organic waste will produce 1000 watts electricity
15 crores tons of annual solid garbage = 15,000,00,00,000 KGs which can generate 4000,00,00,000 units of electricity per year = Rs 12,000 crore worth electricity at the rate of Rs 3 per unit [Note – 1 Unit of electricity = 1000 watts = 1 KW; 1000 KWs = 1 MW]
The sanitary workers are real heroes of the nation who do yeoman service to the mankind. Without them the life will become miserable and untenable.
- The government should provide 12 dresses per year [one dress per month] to each health worker.
- The government should provide full reimbursement to the these health workers for getting free health care services at corporate hospitals on par with the central government employees.
- They should be given 50% concessions on railway tickets on all trains and all classes.
- They should be given house loans at the rate of 4% interest per annum.
- They should be given 1% reservations irrespective of their caste in educational institutions and in all state and central government jobs.
- They should be given exemption from paying property tax and water cess for one house
The cost of solid waste management – 1
There are approximately 25 crore households in India. There should be a sanitary employee for every 50 households for collection of solid waste daily. That means 50 lakh clean workers are needed for entire country.
The needed workforce for solid waste management
- Garbage collection from households = 50 lakh workers
- Garbage collection from both sideways of roads = 47 lakh workers
- Garbage collection on the entire coastline = 0.18 lakh workers
Total workforce needed = 97.18 lakh workers
Total monthly salary of this work force = 97.18 x 10,000 = Rs 9,718 crores
Total salary per year = 9,718 x 12 = Rs 1,16,616 crore
Total cost of transporting the garbage from garbage
metal crates to dumping yards = Rs 18,000 crores
Cost of the clothes provided to workers one dress/month
Each dress costing Rs 1000 x 12 x 97.18 Lakh workers = Rs 11,661 crore
Total cost for solid waste [garbage] management/year = Rs 1,46,277 crores
- Wastewater or Sewage management
Wastewater management is as important as Solid waste management. The untreated sewage damages more than the solid waste. The open sewage system is causing pollution to both surface water and underground water. 50% of diseases are caused due to the polluted water.
Swachh Bharat mission should make the wastewater management as its top priority. Only 20% of urban area is provided with underground drainage system. The remaining 80% urban areas and possibly 99% of rural areas do not have proper drainage system.
Swachh Bharat shall not be deemed complete without providing underground drainage system and sewage treatment plants for all cities, towns and villages covering 25 crore household in India.
Laying underground sewer lines and establishing sewage treatment plants for all cities, towns and villages needs huge investment and cannot be completed within short time. It needs long term plan with budgetary support each year. It needs at least 10,00,000 crores to execute this massive underground drainage system covering all households.
If the government earmarks 1,00,000 lakh crores every year this project will be completed in 10 years. That means Swachh Bharat is 10 years away.
The government can increase the corporate tax from present 25% level to 30% level for the period of 10 years or till the drainage system for the entire country is completed. The revenues accrued from the additional 5% should be utilized for mission Swachh Bharat.
The sewage contains nearly 99% of water and 1% contains sediment. Human generated sewage is the result of washing utensils, clothes, vegetables, fruits and sewage comes from showers, baths and flushing toilets. This wastewater contains the sediments of soaps, detergents, shampoos and organic matter from food items. The sludge processing plants can generate reusable water which can be used to irrigate lands and for watering trees in parks and on sideways of roads. This treated drainage water can also be supplied to factories like power plants to be used in the generations of steam.
In India 45,00,000,00,00,000 litres [45 lakh crore litres] of waste water, excluding industrial wastewater which is also the same quantity] is being generated by people every year that is equal to 1600 tmcft of water which can irrigate 10000 x 1600 = 1,60,000,00 acres of land. If all this wastewater is treated in sludge processing plants the net recycled water that can be extracted is 44,55,000,00,00,00 litres of water which can be fit for usage for agriculture. 44.45 Crore litres of water is equal to 1573 tmcft of water which can irrigate 10,000 x 1573 = 1,57,30,000 acres of land.
Construction of dams and canals to irrigate 1.5 crore acres of land require 3 lakh crores of investment at the cost of submerging 5 lakhs acres of land, displacing lakhs of people from their habitations, destroying their livelihood, and at the cost of huge environmental disaster. So investing on underground drainage system for laying sewer pipes and sludge process plants is tantamount to investing on agriculture sector as well as health care sector. It also generates huge employment.
These are suggestions for clean India. Clean India should also be green India. The clean India and green India will lead to healthy India.
I will come back with suggestions for clean India soon.
VIJAYA KRUSHNA VARMA
Mobile – 7702812169
Download and read other papers written by Varma by clicking on the links given below
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