Municipal bodies deny receiving them
With the municipal corporations in Rajasthan failing to submit reports on compliance with the rules relating to disposing biomedical and municipal waste, the state's pollution control board has again issued directives to them.
It had issued the same directives on August 9. “The directives, issued a second time on December 12, are not a reactionary step, but a part of the larger state environmental policy drafted in 2010,” says D N Pandey, member secretary of the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). He adds that the directives are a way to remind the municipal bodies of their duties to the environment.
Accepting that responses from the municipalities are slow, Pandey says, “some work is being done but mostly it is still at the formulating stage and they are not as prompt as we would like them to be”. He adds that the current directives lay stress on sewage treatment. The directives also ask the corporations to submit a report to the SPCB within 15 days.
As per the state's annual report for 2009-2010, there are only five operational sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the state, of which three are in Jaipur. There are 10 STPs in the proposal stages and seven are under construction. There are also 11 common effluent treatment (CETPs) plants catering to approximately 1,350 industries–a majority of which are dealing in textiles.
The environmental policy 2010-2014 of the pollution board says about 56 per cent of the water sources in the state have non-potable water because of contamination—both industrial and natural. This is a cause for concern in the water-scarce state.
Meanwhile, municipal corporations and councils claim that they are unaware of such a letter from the state office. “I have personally not received any directive from the SPCB,” says Dinesh Chand Jain, head of Kota Nagar Nigam. Jagdish Madan, the chief sanitary inspector at Alwar also denied receiving the directives.
Kota has no municipal solid waste treatment facility and the biomedical waste from the city is taken to treatment facility in Sawai Madhopur, 100 km away. The situation is no better in Alwar that generates approximately 125 tonnes of municipal waste daily. The waste is dumped at a site 12 km outside the city. “There are two plants under construction and they will take five to six months to become operational,” says Madan.
Pandey insists the directives have been circulated. “Why should we lie. RTI can reveal the dispatch of the directives and issue dates,” he says.
The Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules of 1998, state that municipal corporations and councils are responsible for identifying and providing a suitable site to set up a treatment facility. The Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules of 2000 ask the urban local bodies to develop infrastructure for collection, storage, segregation, transport, processing and disposal of such waste.