Nagaland like most other States has poor understanding of the dire effects of waste on environment and health. The modern waste generation and accumulation has brought in a number of new and complex problems that can no longer be dealt with by the traditional waste management methods. One of the factors for this is the lack of study of the prevailing Waste management system, which also takes into account the different aspects involved in this process, viz., waste production, collection, transport, recycling, treatment and disposal. Added to it is the ongoing practice of the time versed traditions of waste disposal like sweeping the waste away and letting the rain water wash it downstream etc, has made the situation more complex.
Dimapur, the largest city as well as the commercial capital of Nagaland, with a plain terrain, having connectivity by road, rail and air links with many parts of the country is the main business hub in Nagaland. The city accommodate to not only her indigenous population but to those who come to engage in business from outside. This presents a myriad of issues and the problem of how to manage the remnants from these activities. It is an uphill task for any urban local body and the greater task on how to operate an effective and sustainable Waste Management System on the heels of rampant urbanization and development.
In this state of affairs, the Dimapur Municipal Council, whose ambit and jurisdiction covers a population of 122,834 and an area of 18.13 sq. km respectively has been playing host to as well as managing the resultant waste problems. as a result they started various initiatives since July 2017 so as to tackle the waste management issues under the banner of “A Better Dimapur,” a mindset change that will transform the city for the better and to inculcate civic sense among the citizens through community participation.
An assessment was carried out on the current waste management system in the municipal area to evaluate the collection system; waste generated; its composition and characterization and impact of waste on water and air. However, owing to lack of adequate instruments, the assessment of the impact of waste on water and air could not be accurately ascertained. The impact assessment has been made based on reports and studies undertaken on the subject.
A more holistic approach to waste management is required if an effective waste management system is to be put in place. For that, the first step is to conduct an in-depth assessment of the current waste management system. Thus bioremediation process has been initiated on the existing dumpsite to mitigate the impact of waste on the surrounding areas. The data for waste generated per day was estimated at 100 metric tonnes per day in 2018.
As the common practice is to take an estimate of the overall waste generated or utilise a weigh bridge to measure such collections, no measures or systems have yet been introduced or implemented where the nature, type and characteristics of wastes are taken as the key basis for a comprehensive Waste Management Strategy/Policy. Hence, with the objective to usher in a strategic and sustainable Waste Management System, the Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC), in collaboration with Living For Environment (LiFE) conducted an in-depth Waste Assessment Exercise/Analysis for 24 days, stretched over a 30 day period, i.e., 12th February to 13th March, 2019. The assessment gives a detailed report of the quantity of waste generated, its composition, potential value of waste and limitations of the current system and it is expected that the report would help in facilitating a more sustainable waste management system by strengthening the existing system.
Photo courtesy: DMC