Delhi’s Solid Waste Management Bye-Laws focus on individual accountability

By emphasisng on segregating waste and making the generator accountable, the bye-laws have taken a stride towards improving waste management scenario in Delhi

By Swati Singh Sambyal
Published: Wednesday 24 January 2018
Currently, 4,600 tonnes per day of solid waste is disposed in three dumping sites of Delhi—Okhla, Bhalswa and Ghazipur. Credit: Sadia Sohail / CSE

The Solid Waste Management Bye-Laws 2018 for the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) were notified on January 15, 2018 by the lieutenant governor (L-G). For the first time, the bye-laws have been framed under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act and not the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. All the five local bodies—NDMC, South DMC, North DMC, East DMC and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB)—shall enforce the bye-laws in their jurisdiction. The bye-laws were framed by a 16-member committee constituted by the Delhi High Court. The members of the committee include Centre for Science and Environment, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and all municipal corporations of Delhi.

State of Solid Waste Management in Delhi

The five municipal corporations, comprising over 280 wards, generate approximately 14,000 tonnes per day (TPD) of solid waste. However, we do not have a clear idea whether these are accurate figures. Per capita generation in the city ranges from 550-600 grams per day. As per the figures provided by the MCDs, over 10,500 TPD of garbage is collected. The city has a processing capacity of 6,100 TPD, thanks to its three incineration plants and two centralised composting units. Approximately 4,600 TPD is disposed in three dumping sites of Delhi—Okhla, Bhalswa and Ghazipur.

According to Arpit Bhargava, one of the petitioners at the Delhi High Court who had sought directions to municipal bodies to take steps to prevent the spread of dengue, chikungunya, and malaria, these bye-laws put the onus on waste generator and shall further push them to adopt sustainable lifestyle. The major emphasis has been given on segregating waste and making the generator accountable.

Operationalise segregation at source

Section 4 of the bye-laws emphasises generator’s responsibility to segregate at source. Every waste generator has to segregate waste into three streams: biodegradable (wet waste), non-biodegradable (dry waste) and domestic hazardous waste. These streams of waste are to be stored in colour-coded bins: green, blue and black meant for wet, dry and domestic hazardous waste respectively. Gated colonies, RWAs, hotels and restaurants need to ensure in-situ processing of wet waste as far as possible. The recyclable waste from bulk generators, commercial areas and hotels needs to be collected by authorised waste pickers or recyclers. 

Door-to-door collection and transportation of segregated solid waste

Under Section 5 of the bye-laws, MCD will provide door-to-door collection and transportation of segregated solid waste, including in slums and informal settlements by integrating informal door-to-door collection system with the municipality. Area-wise time slots for waste collection will be set and published on the website of MCDs. The MCDs will also ensure in-situ treatment of biodegradable waste, for instance, in fruit and vegetable markets, residential areas and RWAs.

Under section 6 of the bye-laws, all the secondary storage points (dhalaos) will have covered colour-coded containers for storing wet, dry and domestic hazardous waste. The MCDs shall convert the existing dhalaos into recycling centres for further segregation of dry waste. Households should be able to directly deposit or sell their recyclable waste to authorised waste dealers at these recycling centres at pre-notified rates. The MCDs will involve informal sector for managing these recycling centres. Moreover, a deposition centre will be made available in each ward for collecting domestic hazardous waste.

Decentralised or semi-decentralised systems to process waste

Under section 8 of the bye-laws, preference will be given to decentralised waste processing like biomethanation, composting, and any other method for biostabilisation of biodegradable waste so that transportation cost and environmental impacts are minimised. For waste-to-energy plants, absolute segregation of waste has been made mandatory. The MCDs need to ensure that horticultural, park and garden waste is processed in parks and gardens as far as possible. All the inert and residual waste has to be disposed in a manner prescribed under the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Brand owners held accountable

All brand owners, who are responsible for selling their products in non-biodegradable packaging material, will have to put in place a system to collect back the packaging waste generated. The bye-laws also hold the manufacturers/brand owners/marketing companies of sanitary napkins accountable for generating waste. They have to now explore the possibility of using all recyclable materials in their products and educate masses for proper wrapping and disposal of such waste.

User fees and penalty

Under section 11 of the bye-laws, user fee shall be fixed for services like garbage collection, transportation and disposal from waste generators by the MCDs. The MCDs have been asked to evolve a mechanism for collection of user charges within three months of the notification of these bye-laws. Under the bye-laws, penalty shall also be imposed for non-segregation, dumping of solid waste in vacant plots and burning it in the open.

S.No. Categories User Fee from each premise/ House/ Dwelling Unit/ Flat per month (in Rupees)
1. Residential dwelling units  
(i) Up to 50 sq m 50
(ii) Over 50 sq m upto 200 sq m 100
(iii) Over 200 sq m 200
2. Street vendors 100
3. Commercial establishments, shops, eating places (Dhaba/sweet shops/ coffee house etc.) 500
4. Guest houses/ Dharamshalas 2,000
5. Hostels 2,000
6. Restaurants with seating capacity of up to 50 persons 2,000
7. Restaurants with seating capacity of more than 50 persons 3,000
8. Hotels (Unstarred) 2,000
9. Hotels (Up to 3 star) 3,000
10. Hotels (Above 3 star) 5,000
11. Commercial offices, government offices, bank, insurance offices, coaching classes, educational institutes etc. 2,000
12. Clinics, dispensaries, laboratories (upto 50 beds) only non-bio medical waste 2,000
13. Clinic, dispensary, laboratories (more than 50 beds) only non-bio medical waste 4,000
14. Small and cottage industry, workshops (only non-hazardous waste) 3,000
15. Godowns, cold storages (only non-hazardous waste) 5,000
16. Marriage/ party halls, festival halls, Party Lawns, exhibition and fairs 5,000
17. Clubs, Cinema Halls, Pubs, Multiplexes and other such places 4,000
18. Any other non-commercial, commercial, religious or charitable institutions not covered in any other category 2,000
19. Other places/ activity not marked as above As decided by the Commissioner, MCD by general or special order

Refundable Cleanliness Deposit

The MCDs will take deposits from event organisers and give refund on the completion of the event after ensuring that the public place where the event was conducted was restored to a clean state and any waste that was generated has been collected and transported to the designated place.

The SWM bye-laws, thus, provides legal teeth to ensure the status of solid waste management in the capital improves. However, the MCDs need to take action on the ground and ensure that the details of the bye-laws are widely disseminated. “It is imperative to circulate the major highlights of these bye-laws in all major dailies and public hoardings to educate the masses on their role and responsibility concerning solid waste management,” says an official of the EDMC, who refused to be quoted. The East Delhi and South Delhi Municipal Corporation also plan to distribute a set of two bins, for once, to push households towards segregation. “Waste segregation has to start from the generator, and lot depends on their will to keep their city clean,” says Bhargawa.

“The MCDs, on the other hand, need to create systems to support end-to-end segregation, collection and transportation, processing and appropriate disposal of solid waste,” he further adds. It is only then that we would be able to witness a Clean Delhi. Else, this would just be a good policy with no action on the ground.

Penalty as per SWM bye-laws 2018

S.No. Rule/ Bye Laws no. Offences Applicable to Fine for every default (in Rupees)
1 Rule 4(1)(a) of SWM Rules Failure to segregate and store waste and handover segregated waste in accordance with the rules Residential 200
Marriage/Party Halls, festival halls, Party Lawns, Exhibition and fairs with area less than 5,000 sq m 10,000
Clubs, Cinema halls, Pubs, Community Halls, Multiplexes and other such places with area less than 5,000 sq m 5,000
Other non-residential entities with area less than 5000 sq.m. 500
2. Rule 4(1)(b) and (d) of SWM Rules Failure to deal with sanitary waste in accordance with the rule   Failure to deal with horticulture waste and garden waste in accordance with the rule   Residential 200
Non- residential 500
3. Rule 4(1)(c) of SWM rules Failure to deal with construction and demolition waste in accordance with the rule   Residential 1,000
  Non-residential 5,000
4. Rule 4(2) of SWM rules Open burning of solid waste Violator 5,000
5. Rule 4(4) of SWM rules Organising an event or gathering of more than one hundred person at unlicensed place without following the prescribed procedure Person(s), who has/ve organised such event or gathering or, on whose behalf such event or gathering has been organised and the event manager(s), if any, who has/ve organised such event or gathering 10,000
6. Rule 4(5) of SWM rules Street vendor failing to deal with waste in accordance with the rule Violator 200
7. Bye-Law 13(1) read the Rule 15(g) of SWM rules Littering Offender 500

Fine shall be levied only once in a month for the following violations

8. Rule 4(6) of SWM rules Failure to deal with waste in accordance with the rule Resident Welfare Association 10,000
Market Association 20,000
9. Rule 4(7) of SWM rules Failure to deal with waste in accordance with the rule Gated community 10,000
Institution 20,000
10. Rule 4(8) of SWM rules Failure to deal with waste in accordance with the rule Hotel 50,000
Restaurant 20,000
11. Rule 17(2) of SWM rules Selling or marketing of disposable products without a system of collecting back the packaging waste generated due to their production Manufacturer and/or Brand owner 1,00,000
12. Rule 17(3) of SWM rules Failure to take measure in accordance with the rule Manufacturer and/or Brand owner and/or marketing companies 50,000
13. Rule 18 of SWM rules Failure to replace fuel requirement by refuse derived fuel Industrial Unit 1,00,000

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