An Environment Management Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project Sponsored by MoEF Government of India









The model of Dry Waste Management of Cuffe Parade ('A' Ward), Mumbai was followed at Matheran

Matheran Pictures -

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Matheran, a popular hill station located in the State of Maharashtra, is the smallest hill station of India with an area of about 7.25 sq. kms and local population of approx. 4,500. The annual number of tourists is approx 2,50,000. Around 63% of Matheran is Reserve Forest and the bungalow plots are largely forested. The climax forests support a variety of species of flora and are also home to a number of endangered species. This ecosystem is extremely sensitive and given the area and other factors, even small amounts of pressure on the ecology and environment have enormous pressure on it. The Supreme Court declared Matheran as eco-sensitive and the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a draft notification on 6 February 2002 declaring Matheran and surrounding areas as eco-sensitive.

Course of Action:

One of the main problems of Matheran was the disposal of solid wastes, almost entirely comprising of PET bottles and laminates, which were thrown into the forests. ICPE took up the initiative of presenting a solution to their waste management problems and decided to provide help, assistance and expertise to Matheran. Members from ICPE addressed the Municipal Councilors on Solid Waste Management and Plastics and the Environment which had a tremendous impact on them. The broad plan of action was then laid down - the representative of hotelier's association assured that all hotels would separate the plastic wastes, the Council would have separate bins for plastics and would conduct meetings with the local residents to garner their support and participation. The Council also agreed to set aside a plot where all the dry waste collected would be stored. ICPE took up the responsibility of taking it away from there. It was decided to approach the railways to transport the plastic waste to Neral in the freight trains that otherwise went back empty.

It was found that Parle products sold the most at Matheran. Figures were obtained from Parle Bisleri and they quoted that the average number of PET bottles supplied to Matheran was 20,000-25,000 per month. The weight of empty bottles was stated as 1- 1 ½ tons every month. The weight of laminates was found to be approx 500 kgs per month.

A small committee was then formed to tackle the Solid Waste Management issues of Matheran - authorities from Matheran Bachao Samiti (MBS), ICPE, MCGM and Bisleri. A series of meetings were held in the Municipal Council office of Matheran to address the Councilors, hoteliers, shop owners and the local people. ICPE made a visit to Matheran jointly with MBS, MCGM authorities and Bisleri in August 2002. It was seen that all the material that went up the hill (bottled water, packaged foodstuff etc.) was not brought down. Owing to the lack of sufficient number of garbage bins PET bottles, laminates and other dry wastes were littered along the railway tracks and all over the hill (market area, tourist points etc.). Hoteliers dumped their dry wastes in their backyards.
During the meeting with the Councilors, a broad overview was given about ICPE and its segregation projects. The model Cuffe parade project was also described. Leaflets, giving details of the segregation process and the proper disposal of plastics, were distributed. MCGM authorities provided details of vermiculture and Advanced Locality Management (ALM). It was then proposed that the Council members make a visit to Mumbai to study the segregation projects and the SWM methods of MCGM for the proper implementation of the Waste Management Project at Matheran. It was also proposed that awareness activities be conducted in the schools and among the local people for better understanding of the project. Thus Matheran cleaning project started with the help of all involved.

A review was taken in October 2002, and it was then seen that there was a remarkable improvement in the dry waste management of Matheran. The roads and market area were found to be litter free. The civic sense of the local people had improved. Dry waste was collected by the Municipal Council from all over the hill and brought to a central location. The Council had taken up a contract for the collection and storage of dry waste. However, a need was felt for a proper system of disposal of dry waste to be jointly worked out by the Municipal Council, hotel, association, shop owners and the local people with the initial help and guidance of ICPE.

Some practical measures were taken for easy handling of the dry wastes, especially the PET bottles, which are light in weight but high in volume.

Compactor Machines, which crushes the PET bottles to a thin layer of sheet, were installed by M/s. Bisleri.

M/s. Bisleri had organized their own collection system to take back crushed PET bottles to nearby centers for recycling.

ICPE organized other recyclers / traders to take back Plastics and other wastes, for recycling.

Further efforts were made for handling the wet (biodegradable) wastes for converting those to compost through vermiculture process.

The larger hotels were advised to have their own vermiculture pits, whereas the smaller hotels could send their wet wastes to some common compost bins.

In November, 2002, the Expert Committee on New and Proposed Eco Sensitive Zones, constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests visited the Eco-Sensitive Zone of Matheran. After the visit, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. (Dr.) HY Mohan Ram, stated that the hill station of Matheran was clean and free of garbage. He said that he had seen all the hill station in India, and no other hill station was as clean of garbage as Matheran.


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