Soon Delhiites who do not consign wet and dry waste to separate bins will be fined Rs 200, while commercial establishments will be penalised Rs 10,000 for the same neglect.
People who dispose of sanitary napkins in regular dustbins will also be fined Rs 200, and street vendors who do not have waste containers for the trash they generate will be docked too.
These penalties are part of Delhi government’s recently notified Solid Waste Management Bye-Laws that the city’s five urban local bodies — the three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board — are required to implement.
The city has been forced to take these steps because of the alarming growth of municipal waste at a time when the three sanitary landfills at Okhla, Bhalswa and Ghazipur are almost a decade beyond their capacity exhaustion. Collection of fines is likely to begin from the end of March.
“People do not understand the impact of a small negligence like separating dry and wet waste,” said a north corporation official. “It results in the generation of around 9,000 tonnes of unsegregated waste. It is difficult to segregate the waste once it leaves the household and so much of it goes to the landfills.”
The five local bodies have tried pilot projects in different localities to encourage people to segregate waste, but these have brought negligible change. “Unless we penalise people, the situation will not improve,” asserted a civic official.
Paper, plastics, metal, glass, rubber, thermocol, fabric, leather, wood, etc. are categorised as dry waste, while vegetable waste, fruit peels, tea leaves, eggshells, cooked food, etc, constitute wet waste.
Prioritising the segregation agenda, the state government formed an advisory board for monitoring and implementing solid waste management rules last year.
In the wake of the deteriorating pollution levels in the city, the government also formulated a policy under which the civic bodies, in addition to penalising non-segregation at source, would focus on minimising waste generation, recycling, waste collection from unauthorised colonies, increased participation of the informal sector (waste pickers) in waste management, improvement of enforcement and compliance with existing laws.
Of special concern were the street hawkers and vendors, who generate waste throughout the day and dump it on the roadside because there is no vigilance and monitoring of this. The over 1,600 unauthorised colonies have no waste management system in place due to underdevelopment.
Though the bye-laws now make offences punishable through fines, an official said that awareness campaigns would also be started to encourage people to change their habits.