An Audit of Mechanized Road Sweeping Operations in National Capital of India- A case Study
Air pollution has increasingly become a serious concern, predominantly because of its impact on health, agriculture and the general well-being of humans, floral and faunal population. A study in 2018 revealed, dust and construction contribute 17% and 38% of PM2.5 concentrations and 25% and 41% of PM10 concentration in Delhi during summer and winters respectively. Indicating a clear demand to reduce exhaust and non-exhaust emissions, from the city- particularly associated with roads dust. Thus, due to increasing development and requirements of clean air, limited availability of human workforce and high labor costs, mechanization of road sweeping is growing worldwide.
Thus, to oversee mechanized road sweeping (MRS) operations and identify lacunae which need to be addressed to make operations more efficient, physical audits of these MRS operations were undertaken, for all 04 urban local bodies of Delhi. These audits were designed, to collect data on time spent by MRS machines on various on-shift activities, actual kilometers of sweeping undertaken and measures to improve upon shift sweeping outputs. This was a first of its kind of audit undertaken in India to help make MRS operations more efficient and effective.
Catering to 59 MRS machines in total, these audits covered 352 shifts, since mid of 2018 till March 2020 with >90% confidence level. The audits indicate that ULBs in Delhi on an average sweep around 26.17 kms of road length per shift, with East Delhi Municipal Corporation utilizing highest of 75% of shift time on sweeping activity. The gaps in existing monitoring systems, operational inefficiencies as well as good practices of MRS operations have also been highlighted in this paper to make policy makers, city managers, consultants, technocrats, and other related stakeholders realise the importance of such audits and setup monitoring, review and verification mechanisms for continual improvement. This paper also brings forth the results of individual audits along with existing contractual mechanisms and its impact on performance, highlighting a need for having performance based contracts