Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur—with a population of 1.45 lakh—generates around 52 metric tonnes of waste on a daily basis. Unlike other cities, instead of putting the waste into dumpyards or landfills as the conventional practice, the city is converting its waste into wealth. Today, the city’s waste to wealth economy has a turnover of Rs 20-25 lakh per month. And that’s the reason why the city has been rewarded as one of India’s best city in ‘Innovation and Best Practices’ (population 1 – 3 lakh) category in Swachh Survekshan 2018.
Since 2015, there is a mandate in the city that each household needs to give waste in segregated form – wet and dry waste. There are 447 sanitation workers that go out every morning and cover each household to collect the segregated waste so that this can be further treated. The waste collected then goes to 17 secondary segregation centers within the city where it is sorted further into various categories and is sent for recycling, composting or other kinds of processing depending on the type of waste.
Today, Ambikapur is a zero dustbin and a zero-landfill city. It has become a role model when it comes to effective waste management. The whole State of Chhattisgarh, which has been ranked third best State in India in Swachh Survekshan 2018, is in the process of following Ambikapur’s footsteps to become India’s first zero-landfill state.
Here, the wet waste is either converted into compost which we sell or used in bio-digesters to make cooking gas. The dry wastes is sorted into paper, plastic, metal, etc. at these centers and then send to the right recycling units according to the type of material at a cost price. This has led Ambikapur earning Rs 1 lakh by converting its wet waste into compost, whereas Rs 6-8 lakh from the sale of recyclable items and some amount as user charges (which the municipal corporation charged from each household for managing their waste.
The authorities have taken this whole process of collection on a dashboard system online. The reason is that it makes the monitoring of the whole activity easy and since everyone is accountable. The municipal corporation have 142 rickshaws/e-rickshaws that are equipped to collect the segregated waste–wet and dry waste. Moreover, the rickshaws are equipped with GPS trackers and all the sanitation workers have been given mobile where on daily basis they have to upload the amount of garbage collected from each house and report if any house is not following the waste management code of conduct.