“The zenith of civilization can only be gauged how clean the cities and towns are. Every citizen has a fundamental as well as human right to clean and hygienic environment. Every citizen, at the same time, has a fundamental duty to maintain the cleanliness in and around his abode. There are more persons indulging in littering, dumping of garbage at public places vis-à-vis the persons employed to clean up the mess. We must keep and maintain the dignity of the workers employed to clean the cities and towns”.

This was the observation made by Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia while delivering the guidelines to the Uttarakhand government in the landmark case of Sainath Seva Mandal v. State of Uttarakhand and Ors which was pronounced on March 16, 2017.

According to the news report, Uttarakhand currently generates about 3,000 metric tons of solid waste per day, of which approximately 50% is lifted and disposed through unscientific methods. According to a Centre’s report, 74% village households in Uttarakhand lack sites for garbage disposal; 60% of urban local bodies have no proper waste disposal sites and mechanism.

The Society, through the PIL, had brought to the notice of the court that the municipal waste generated in Kashipur city is being dumped directly in Dhela river near the Sai temple situated on Moradabad Road in Kashipur town

Court issued the following guidelines:-

  1. All the Officers of the municipal corporations, municipal bodies, Nagar Panchayats, Panchayati Raj Institutions shall ensure that no garbage, rubbish, filth etc. is deposited by any person in any street or public place.
  2. All the streets, public premises such as parks etc. shall be surface cleaned on daily basis, including on Sundays and Public holidays by Municipal Corporations, Nagar Panchayats, Municipal Councils and Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  3. All the local bodies of the State are directed to ensure that the Sweepers, throughout the State, do not burn leaves collected from street sweeping and with a further direction to store them separately and handover the same to the waste collectors or agency authorised by the local body.
  4. All the workers deployed for cleaning the streets and removal of garbage including bio-degradable medical waste should be provided with necessary equipments including uniforms, shoes, gloves and other implements etc. for winters and summers separately and also proper uniforms which have reflectors and be provided with ID cards also.
  5. All the streets and roads falling within the municipal areas, municipal corporation/Panchayati Raj institutions should be surface cleaned in the morning.
  6. The State Government is directed to take decision on all the proposals sent to it by the Municipal Bodies for managing the Solid Waste in their territorial jurisdiction within four weeks from today.
  7. The Municipal Corporation/Municipal bodies, throughout the State, may consider to provide two dustbins (for collection of dry and wet bio-medical waste), free-of-cost, to all the households in the Municipal area, depending on their financial health.
  8. The Nagar Nigam, Dehradun and Nagar Nigam, Haridwar are directed to complete the tender process relating to solid waste management, if not already completed, within eight weeks from today and thereafter to implement the Solid Waste Management Scheme.
  9. There shall be a general direction to all the Waste Generators, throughout the State of Uttarakhand, not to litter i.e. throw or dispose of any waste such as paper, water bottles, liquor bottles, soft drink canes, tetra packs, fruit peel, wrappers, etc., or burn or bury waste on streets, open public spaces, drains, waste bodies and to segregate the waste at source. The local bodies must also consider imposing heavy fine on the violators of the order.
  10. The local authorities and Village Panchayats are further directed to set up material recovery facilities or secondary storage facilities with sufficient space for sorting of recyclable materials.
  11. The local authorities and Gram Panchayats are directed to ensure safe storage and transportation of the domestic hazardous waste to the hazardous waste disposal facility.

(Hari-Kamal Foundation has launched “Let’s Talk Waste”, a campaign on solid waste management in Dehrdaun. The campaign is launched at addressing the major issues related to waste management. You can read about the campaign here.)