Sikkim is the first state of India to become Open Defecation Free (ODF). It has an exemplary waste management process that turns waste into resources. The state hosted a national workshop on Solid and Liquid Resource Management (SLRM) on 7-8 September 2018 in Gangtok which was organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) with the support of the Government of Sikkim, World Bank Group and Tata Trusts. It was attended by delegates from 25 states across India and was presided over by Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, MDWS.
The context of the workshop was set by Shri Samir Kumar, Joint Secretary, MDWS. Brochures on SLRM and a resource book on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) were launched during the event. The conference had a gathering of over 135 people, comprising principal secretaries from different states, mission directors, SBM state coordinators, private sector players and nodal agencies. The two-day workshop focussed on Ganga villages and census towns. Topics like faecal sludge management and grey and black water management among many others were discussed as part of the event. The overall focus was on the larger picture of managing solid and liquid waste in census towns and Ganga grams, case studies and state experiences on solid waste management, plastic waste management, Gobar Dhan, and capacity building and skill development for SLRM.
The delegates were taken to Lingtam Thonka village of Martam block which was recently awarded for being the cleanest village of the block. The delegates had a fruitful interaction with the officials and residents wherein they were made aware of various initiatives taken up in the field of waste management. The village has adopted many innovative ideas like the ‘Clean House of the Month Award’ which has invariably been instrumental in promoting cleanliness in the area. In order to encourage cleanliness, separate dustbins for both dry and wet waste have been fixed at various locations of the village.
Various presentations were made to discuss the success and failures of the technology and models that are being used in India to manage waste. Mr Anil Raj Rai, Mission Director, Sikkim presented the concept of ‘zero waste’ that Sikkim follows. Mr Atin Biswas from World Bank Group presented low-cost treatment technologies for grey water management at the household and community level. Various other technologies like pipe composting and vermicomposting were also discussed. In addition to this, community led approaches like the community kitchen from biogas installed by BARC was also presented in this session.
The delegates were made aware of various technologies and approaches to tackle plastic waste. Management of plastic waste at the community level and forward linkages of plastic waste in rural areas were discussed in this session. The initiative of using plastic in road construction in Andhra Pradesh was presented and detailed upon.
The session on Gobar Dhan comprised discussions on implementation at the community level, capacity building and skill development. The main idea of the session was to galvanise organic bio-agro resources. The Government of India plans to roll out 700 Gobar Dhan projects in the year 2018-19 and a strategy for the same was discussed. Ms Renjitha, Deputy Secretary, MDWS gave an overview of the scheme. The delegates representing Madhya Pradesh presented their case of successful implementation of Gobar Dhan in their state.
Shri Sasanka, BMGF spoke about faecal sludge management in census towns. He stressed upon the importance of selection of proper tools for the process and promotion of local entrepreneurs to take up desludging operations.
CEO Zila Parishad, Dharwad, Karnataka presented comparisons between attributes of products available in the market (sanitary napkin, tampon, and menstrual disc) with products that can be made out of locally availably materials (menstrual cup, cloth, cloth pad). It was seen in the comparative analysis that it is not only effective and efficient to use products made out of locally available materials in terms of availability, costs and accessibility but also environment friendly, as they are biodegradable. The audiences were made aware of the state run MHM programme ‘SHUCHI’ that has been trying to reach out to school and college going girls, women in shelter homes and dropout adolescent girls through Angawadis. The state is also planning to launch ‘SNEHA’, a programme on comprehensive awareness for MHM and Menstrual Wastes Management (MWM) across government aided schools.
Delegates from Punjab presented their liquid waste management model that converts the existing village ponds into a Waste Stabilisation Pond (WSP). The model had been made successful through utilisation of MGNREGA funds for de-silting. The WSP is one of the most suitable treatment technologies as it can easily be provided by converting existing village ponds with proper engineering details and a small investment cost.
Delegates from Himachal Pradesh presented an integrated approach of waste management wherein they have been generating funds not only from SBM-G but also from MGNREGA, 14th Finance Commission and RurBan Mission. For liquid wastes, individual two-chambered leach pits have been promoted and installed which in turn are connected through underground drain to the community based soak pit. Livelihood initiatives such as reuse of old plastic bottles to make bricks for construction, eco-san toilets, vermicomposting, and gobar gas, etc. have been quite successful in dealing with waste in an effective way.
Uttar Pradesh initiated its SLWM in Varanasi, a model derived from Vellore. Solid wastes are collected from households by tricycles. For biodegradable solid wastes, composting methods like vermicomposting, fish tank composting and dry leaf composting are being undertaken. For non-biodegradable solid wastes, segregation is done at waste segregation centres and a 3-R principle (reduce-reuse-recycle) is being followed. Liquid waste is stabilised through pond stabilisation method and the water is used for kitchen garden, plantation, and duck rearing. In addition to this, delegates from West Bengal, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand also presented their case studies on SLRM.
A group activity was organised for the delegates where they were divided into teams and asked to brainstorm on the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. Each team presented its vision and timeline to achieve the SLRM vision of India.
The vision for SLWM for rural India is that “every rural household has access to solid and liquid waste management, either at community or household level”. A strategy for SLWM has been designed and the states have been asked to tackle waste management following the mandates.