Independent assessment of mechanized street sweeping in North Delhi Municipal Corporation
Air pollution is one of the major problems of Delhi. One of the major source of this air pollution is the silt, which becomes airborne with the movement of vehicles on road. The potential control option for road dust control can be sweeping and watering of roads to prevent re-suspension of road dust (silt). Thus to control air pollution in the capital city of Delhi, the Delhi government has deployed twelve mechanical sweeping machines in North Delhi Municipal Corporation area (North DMC) under the grants from Swachh Bharat Mission, which operate in different zones of the city. These mechanical road sweepers have rotating brushes that are used to keep roads, pavements and other hard surfaces clean and free from debris. They presently operate in one shift and dump the collected silt at designated disposal sites. The machine acts like a big vacuum cleaner and has the capacity to intake large-size plastics and other waste which gets collected in a bin mounted on the top of the truck. These machines have capacity to collect 6.5 cum of road sweep in one time. These machines are mounted with GPS devices to obtain live tracking of machines and their routes, yet the effectiveness and gaps in operations are not known to the corporation.
North DMC engaged with The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) with the objective to conduct an independent assessment of mechanized street sweeping system. This audit was expected to help North DMC identify the gaps and deficiencies in the system, generate baseline data reviewing the existing practices and improve the existing mechanized street sweeping operations by establishing indicators and verification mechanisms.
The proposed aim of the assessment was to investigate and periodically evaluate the efficacy of the existing mechanized street sweeping system; and check common protocols and methodology. This audit further helped in waste minimization, resource optimization and awareness on municipality’s environmental records and regulatory compliance. It helped in timely actions to avert any risk or disaster in future. This audit started in August 2018 and continued till December 2018. This is a second of its kind audit, first being started in South Delhi Municipal Corporation and involved statistical analysis of data pertaining to various activities undertaken during the operation of mechanical sweeping machines.
With the intervention of TERI and actions of North DMC officials the average sweeping distance per shift went up from 18.2kms/shift/vehicle in August to 33.5 kms/shift/vehicle in December, giving an average sweeping of 29.4 kms/shift/vehicle in about 4.89 +- 0.09 hrs on sweeping activity per shift over the audit period.
TERI team also helped North DMC to tackle the issues by giving weekly express memos and identifying gaps and possible mitigation options.