An Audit of Municipal Solid Waste Management System in Selected Wards of Varanasi - A Case Study
Growing population, increasing urbanization and changing lifestyles impact the municipal solid waste (MSW) generation quantities, stressing the management infrastructure and cities ability to manage waste. To understand the existing MSW management scenario, level of implementation of waste management Rules, 2016 and citizen’s engagement, an audit of MSW management system was conducted in the area of Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) between 23rd September 2019 to 01st February 2020. Audit covering 4754 citizens, spanning over 08 municipal wards found that almost every three of five residents find segregation confusing and only 24% residents’ segregate waste. About 89% population had never received any Information Education and Capacity building (IEC) on source segregation. Further, Door to door collection services were provided by VMC to only 45% of the residents, and informal collectors covered around 6% so the total coverage was around 51%, attributed to low willingness to pay user fee by residents as well as gap in infrastructure arrangement by VMC. Percentage of population practicing home composting, wrapping and disposing sanitary waste was also determined through the audit to understand implementation of regulations. Fate of recyclables, domestic hazardous waste, status of user charges, appropriateness of waste collection services and waste management infrastructure were also evaluated as a component of this audit. Audit also identified that 46% of population could still see carry bags of <50micron thickness, banned as per regulations and VMC did not had any separate mechanism for collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste, required as per the regulation. This paper provides an insight to the audit findings and provides recommendations for VMC to improve their waste management services. Such study also provides a blueprint for other urban local bodies to help them assess the status of MSW management and take necessary corrective actions. The findings are particularly relevant for cities in the developing world, which is projected to have 97% of the population growth between 2013 and 2030.