Smart Cities is already described by many people but a common man is still confused. Is it about hardware & software or is it about modernisation and redesign the city? This concept has relevance to the topics of mobility, energy supply, waste disposal and environmental awareness.
As our Prime Minister said, decision of smart cities will be taken not by govts but by people of the city, the local administration. We also think that people will be the key resource in building smart cities. Rejuvenating existing urban centres to become more sustainable and thriving cities require people more than hardware & software. Human to human knowledge sharing about how to utilise resources better would trigger change.
In coming days, it will be fascinating to observe how much public participation is coming through in the implementation of smart cities. However, we have observed general public is already engaged in sharing their thoughts on social media. Group of enthusiasts are trying to work together in creating a vision on how their city should look like without even thinking about legalities.
We at Extracarbon, through this blog would like to highlight the concern of solid municipal waste. On a daily basis we are working with housing complex, individuals, RWAs & corporate. We also realised a strong sense of urgency related to waste management but found most of the people copying the western countries blindly. We need to understand that our waste is different from western world. Hence, we cannot adopt their solutions.
Following is our vision for waste management in a smart city:
Solid waste management should be such that allows you to recycle your waste, sell second hand items, and make eco-friendly choices everyday that rewards you now, and in the future. Perception related to waste needs to be addressed first because waste should not be wasted. When we see waste as a resource people will definitely adopt better methods in disposing the waste. In our opinion, following are few points which smart cities should include:
1) Primary waste segregation at source: Garbage collectors should not pick-up waste from the doors if the waste is not segregated at source. It doesn’t take much time to segregate wet & dry waste but due to lack of awareness people are not in habit of segregation of waste.
2) Dry waste recycling collection centres: It is also known as material recovery facility where segregated dry waste can be further segregated, sorted & recovery more items as per quality.
3) Decentralised waste processing: De-centralization of solid-waste management is to manage the waste locally, in-situ, within the premises, or establishment such as society, institution, factory, office, municipal market etc. This way we can ensure proper segregation, treatment and disposal of the waste. Ragpickers can be brought under an organised fold through training to run such institutions. This way we can ensure jobs & solid waste management.
4) Rewards & punshiment: People should be rewarded for their participation. It not only keeps up the momentum but also ensures change of behaviour towards waste. Plenty of such examples are available worldwide where urban local bodies provided green incentives on property taxes. In case of non-compliance, citizen should be punished by not providing pick-services or challans.
5) Green Super Hero: Our efforts have changed the way people discard their recyclable waste. We have introduced them to electronic scales. Kabadiwalas have started adopting the new & genuine methods of weighing the scrap which is getting appreciation & recognition by the citizens. These kabadiwalas, whom we call “Green Super Heroes” (GSH), have not only received training from us to perform such tasks in a more organized and hygienic manner but we have also provided them unsecured loans. Such concepts can be adopted by corporate and entrepreneurship will be encouraged.
In the end, above mentioned points ensures opportunity for urbanisation where inclusivity & sustainability is covered to address the dream of our honourable PM.