TRASH ON TRACK

About 2 lakh tonne of garbage is dumped daily along the railway tracks in Mumbai and this official data holds a mirror to the city’s appalling culture of dumping waste in public spaces

If you are among those who carelessly dispose the packaging of your snack from the train window, stop and think again. You are contributing to around 2 lakh tonne of waste, muck and garbage that the railways is losing sleep over, due to the entailing efforts required to clean it up.

The railways in Mumbai are as important as the oxygen we breathe, due to the city’s unique network of suburbs. Railway officials have been asking commuters to work on their civic sense but the Mumbaikar just isn’t listening. In fact, officials from both the central and the western railway say that the efforts put in towards cleaning up the garbage is almost the same as running the services.

Last year, the Western Railway (WR) sent a proposal to the Railway Board in Delhi, asking permission to impose a fine of Rs 500 on a commuter littering on railway property. But the proposal is still stuck in limbo due to the logistical difficulties of the plan.

The Central Railway (CR) recently asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to deploy clean-up marshals who are empowered to impose a fine of upto Rs 100 on individuals caught littering and spitting along the railway lines. However, this plan too is under consideration.

CR chief public relations officer Sunil Udasi says, “We have been cleaning up the muck that accumulates along our lines. It is quite a task for us; when we go back to the same space where we have worked, almost half or even all of our work is undone by people who come and dump garbage there again.” He further adds that the biggest challenge is the physical effort needed to clear the garbage off the tracks (due to the nature of the current infrastructure of the railway line), “We have been trying to get the JCB cranes into small and tight spaces next to the railway line where the garbage is dumped. Then we have to make sure that there is separate electricity provided to them in order to actually work there.”

A regular traveller from Mumbai to Nagpur, Jacob Sathe

(68) says, “I am not saying the railways is not doing their work. In fact, there are a lot of machines on the station through which they try to keep the stations clean. But I feel that people have become even more uncivilised.”

REALITY CHECK
WR chief public relations officer Ravinder Bhakar says, “It takes almost all departments in the night to contribute towards picking up the garbage. We would like to appeal to Mumbaikars to do their bit, by not throwing their personal trash from a running train.”

WHAT IS MUCK?
Muck is not only garbage but also comprises human waste as many slum dwellers tend to use railway tracks for defecation. It takes both the central and western railway 5 ‘muck special trains’ every night to clean up the mess Mumbai makes.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 21, 2018 at 7:03 pm

Categories: Co-operative Housing Society   Tags:

PETS AND THE CITY

Have a pet at home? Are you aware of your civic rights and duties as a pet owner?

The joy of being a pet guardian should not be discomforting for those around you. When you make the conscious decision to welcome a four-legged friend into your home, it is essential to ensure that you abide by the rules and be a responsible citizen as well, because the luxury of having a pet also comes with the responsibility of being a good citizen.

WHAT ARE YOUR CIVIC RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS A PET OWNER?

According to the revised guidelines for pet owners by The Animal Welfare Board of India, which operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,

A pet is akin to a perennial toddler and therefore deserves the same attention throughout its life.

Pet owners are advised to ensure that their pets are not a source of nuisance to others. In doing so, they may, however, distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable, lawful and unlawful claims as to their pets being a source of nuisance; however, no amount of pressure should lead to abandonment of a pet animal. Doing so is a violation of law.

Pet owners are advised to either clean up when the pet defecates in public premises or participate in other solutions to maintain cleanliness.

For instance, you can have designated pet corners in the complex/park where pets can be trained/encouraged to relieve themselves; a corner can be designated where pet poop can be collected and composted.

Although barking is a dog’s natural way of communication, it is crucial that the barking isn’t causing a lot of noise for the neighbours.

The pet owner should make sure that their pet is clean, healthy and vaccinated.

Leashing of pets in public places is advisable; this assures passersby that they are safe and makes their walk comfortable. Leashing also ensures the safety of the pet.

Meet Ashar, Emergency Response Coordinator – PETA India and Animal Welfare Officer (H), Animal Welfare Board of India – Government of India says, “Domesticated animals like dogs and cats who we bring into our homes are living, breathing, thinking, feeling individuals who have needs specific to their species and who absolutely must be considered as family members. Wild animals, on the other hand, like fish and birds are inadequate to be kept inside homes. They have needs like flying and swimming long distances that we cannot meet. Animals are not inanimate objects to be bought and sold or discarded at our whims. Because there are too many dogs and cats and not enough good homes, and since pet shops and breeders are notorious for keeping animals in horrid conditions, it is advisable that you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or the street if you have the time, patience and the resources to look after the pet.”

LEGAL EYE

The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, provides that – “The owner of pet dogs shall be responsible for the controlled breeding, immunisation, sterilisation and licensing in accordance with these rules and the law at the time being in force within a specified local area.”

Animal guardians from Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai and other municipal corporations which provide a license for keeping dogs as companion animals must obtain such a license from their ward office/dog control cell.

The same is to be renewed every year. This is important because the license also helps confirm the dog is yours in case of theft or dispute.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:01 pm

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SAVE THE RAINWATER REVOLUTION

Rainwater harvesting is our only hope in the face of impending water scarcity. A few experts offer solutions on recharging wells and installing rainwater harvesting units at home. Read on…

It’s magical when it rains after a hot summer and the earth laps it up. Nature has its way of recharging the groundwater table every monsoon. But, do we allow it free rein?

By concreting roads, pavements and open spaces, we are doing gross injustice to this natural process causing most of this precious resource to drain into the sewers. There’s abundant scope to harness the rain, recharge wells, store rainwater and use it for drinking and our daily needs. All it takes is an action plan for Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) on a war footing.

REINING IN THE RAIN

PREP BEFORE CONSTRUCTION:

If you pre-plan the RWH system before constructing your house, you can aesthetically design/camouflage/ showcase the RWH elements. The RWH unit usually requires a number of pipes, which act as collectors and direct the collected water to the harvest zone. The route needs filters, which improve the quality of water collected. Today, people are aware of the advantages of RWH systems and look forward to installing them. This, fuelled by mandatory norms by the government, has created good demand; hence, professional companies have invested into this area and are offering it as a complete solution.

MINIMAL COST:

You can lead the collected water into a harvest pit or around a borewell. It depends on the collection area, which essentially is the roof. The run off from the surrounding surface area can also be led into the same harvest pit. So, you can begin with one RWH pit, which is about two feet in diameter and 10 feet deep, filled with gravel, sand and material, which will help absorb and retain water, and then percolate down slowly into the earth. The cost of a RWH system for a medium sized house is Rs 22,000 to 25,000.

RECHARGE, RESTORE

SWIFT SOLUTIONS:

There are two ways that the authorities can work towards recharging the groundwater.

1 Clean and desilt lakes. A freshly desilted lake can recharge upto 20 litres per sq m per day. A lake like Bengaluru’s Jakkur with a 50-hectare water spread can actually recharge 10 million litres of water per day;

2 Make recharge wells and incentivise them at the household level. Recharge wells are typically three feet in diameter and 20 ft deep, lined with precast concrete rings and can pick both, rooftop rainwater and water from clean storm drains and send it to the aquifer at sometimes 10,000 litres an hour.

RWH TECHNIQUES:

Rain barrel: Connect rooftop drain pipes to a HDPE tank. Thereafter, tie a piece of cloth at the end of the pipe as a filter.

Sump tank: Rainwater filters are available in the market. Connect them to the rainwater downpipes and lead them into an existing/newly built sump tank.

Recharge wells/existing wells: Connect rooftop rainwater pipes to an existing well or a new recharge well (typically three feet in diameter and 20 feet deep).

Recharge borewells: If you have a defunct borewell, connect rooftop rainwater pipes through a filter to the defunct borewell casing and recharging the aquifer.

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