Recently we all went rah-rah about how the small towns in India were getting cleaner. Indore would have been proud as it was ranked the cleanest. But now we learn that the method in which these cities were judged was flawed.
The Swachh Survekshan 2017, a survey which ranked 500 cities for their cleanliness did not truly follow the right methods to ranks these cities, due to which cities which actually followed the right practices were ranked much lower.
The Centre for Science and Environment has pointed out that the survey gives undue weightage to centralised waste management methods such as landfill and waste-to-energy plants, ignoring decentralised approaches such as waste segregation, and recycling and reuse. Evidently, cities that promoted a fairly centralised, top-down approach to waste management were given priority over those that had taken a participatory, decentralised approach. The cities which were actually amongst the toppers are following unsustainable approaches to waste management.
All the top three cities – Indore, Bhopal and Vishakhapatnam follow unsegregated method of waste management. On the other hand, cities like Panjim in Goa and Alappuzha in Kerala, which uses decentralised waste management based on household level segregation, recycling and reuse, were ranked low. Alappuzha has an impressive decentralised model lauded by several agencies: it ranks a poor 380 in the survey, while, Surat, which dumps 1,600 tonnes of unsegregated, unprocessed garbage every day in a landfill, is ranked fourth.
So how fair is really this ranking? Is this kind of politicking in such important issues right?