There was a time when Imphal city had a vibrant Zero Garbage Campaign going on and it drew the attention of its citizens through the medium of advertisements and posters, audio-visual ads including music and street plays and it worked to some extent.
Time was when one N Gitkumar was the director of MAHUD and now he is retired but somehow seems to be engaged as a Consultant by MAHUD. It was a time when the Solid Waste Treatment Plant at Lamdeng was yet to be operational. Yet, he started the door-to-door collection of waste material in the Imphal Municipal area and hiring of casual workers to sweep the streets of Imphal. It is still going on but one fails to understand who is really monitoring the cleanliness and waste management of Imphal.
Now, it so happens that the company operating the Solid Waste Treatment Plant at Lamdeng has stopped accepting solid waste brought by private contractors and hence, the question where they will dump the waste collected has risen.
How is MAHUD planning to handle this particular episode of collecting waste and dumping them? Two companies were engaged to manage the Lamdeng waste mangement plant, including the component of producing power from waste and now they are refusing to accept waste as the government could not fulfil the conditions laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Imagine the quantity of waste material produced in Imphal and whenever there is a disruption in services, the city begins to stink.
No doubt, the energetic MAHUD minister and his director must certainly have a plan to tackle the situation. But, their lips are sealed and the people are in the dark, while the city stinks.
Every now and then, photographs and video shots of garbage piling up in various corners of Imphal city keep popping up in newspapers and various social media platform, calling attention to the authorities concerned to act upon it. We sometimes think, if the Chief Minister N Biren Singh was in charge of MAHUD he would have promptly responded. Perhaps, he has not been properly briefed about the situation.
The other day, the chief minister was seen distributing litter bins donated by some NGOs and sought cooperation from the public. Yes, there are certain rogue elements among the general public who come with packed waste and dump it either by the roadside or in the river and they must be fined. But, we must also understand the places where these anti-social elements are dumping waste.
When a certain place or stretch is found spic and clean, nobody dumps their waste material there. Rather, they would look around for places where there is already waste material piled up and dump it. This is human nature and municipal authorities must understand it by now.
When one is asked to losen up his shoes while walking into a home, they are careful of not dirtying up the rooms. Likewise, in a private hospital or clinic, one will find a cleaner perpetually doing the floors. So, one is always careful of not spilling anything or throwing tits and bits on the floor.
Municipal authorities need to wake up to the situation and the follies of human nature to tackle this problem of garbage and waste. It is absolutely a waste of time for VVIPs to roll up sleeves and lead in cleaning campaigns which actually ends up in photo sessions.