Chandigarh, a Union Territory that serves as the capital of two states – Haryana and Punjab – lays claim to many firsts, including the first planned city in India. Chandigarh was the first Indian city to ban smoking in public places on July 15, 2007. And on October 2, 2008, Chandigarh banned the use of plastic carry bags. While the city has already taken many steps to improve its waste disposal system, including removing pubic garbage bins and setting up sehaj safai kendras (SSKs), administrators have felt the need to improve the waste segregation system by segregating the waste at source. Currently, waste is collected door-to-door, as in the Shuddham model, but unlike the Shuddham model, the waste is segregated at the SSKs.
It is no wonder that the segregation of mixed waste at the SSKs is not very effective. Mixing waste at the source makes seperation difficult and precludes the recycling of much of the waste. The organic waste is processed at the Solid Waste Processing Plant (another “first”) in Dadu Majra into pellets that are used in the cement industry.
Shuddham picks up waste which has been segregated at source – at the household level – and composts the organic material and resorts the recyclables which are then sold for various uses. In the Shuddham case, almost all garbage (except hazardous materials, which are picked up separately) becomes a resource that is recycled.