Covering nearly a population of 40 crores (4,041 cities), Swachh Survekshan which is believed to be the world’s largest ever sanitation survey, declared the top 3 cleanliest cities of the country. While Indore and Bhopal regained their positions as the first and second cleanliest cities respectively for two consecutive years, Visakhapatnam’s third place is taken up by Chandigarh.
The result of the top three cities came off as a shocker to a certain portion of Vizagites who expected Visakhapatnam to up its level to either the second position or the first. The full list of the top cities will be announced on the award presentation ceremony.
Although, the city ranked first in the citizens’ feedback for assessment of the best clean city in the country with almost 1.60 lakh citizens calling up the Swachh Survekshan organisers and giving their feedback on the GVMC.
The Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs announced the launch of Swachh Survekshan-2018 which commenced on January 4th and lasted till the 10th of March. As part of the sanitation survey, a six member central observation team arrived in Visakhapatnam on 15th February. They marked the city on the basis of the six parameters of the survey which are as follows-
1. Collection and transportation of solid waste (30%)
2. Processing and disposal of waste (25%)
3. Open defecation free status (30%)
4. Information, Education and Communication (IEC)/ Behaviour Change (5%)
5. Innovation building (5%)
6. Capacity building (5%)
Even with GVMC putting a lot of efforts in campaigning about cleanliness and hygienic surroundings there maybe a few overlooks that could have possibly led to the drop of Vizag’s rank. The distribution of the two dustbins (red and green) for segregating non-biodegradable and biodegradable waste was limited to the urban residencies. The sub-urban residencies are yet to receive the dustbins and the collection of the waste disposals, from the dumpsters, are irregular. The waste collected from the city is all dumped in the sole dump yard of the city; as a result, the landfill causes three main problems like increasing the toxicity around the area, greenhouse gases and leachate.
With the increasing population of rural people in the urban sector, there still has to be proper awareness programmes conducted to educate about cleanliness and hygiene. Even with the GVMC levying fines on those who defecate in public, the practice hasn’t ceased. The practice may only come to an end with the city under proper surveillance and the strict imposition of rules.
Although the officials had plans regarding innovation and capacity building, the other factors necessary for the ranking fell short.
However, Vizagites are still rooting for the city to be among the top 5 cleanliest cities.
– Akhila Kalidindi
– Esther Shaini