Effective Solid Waste management in Haldwani

A solid waste management system in Haldwani, state of Uttrakhand in India, started off as a project for change by Neeraj Joshi. Neeraj attended the ICLD international training programme Decentralization and Good Governance with a Gender Perspective in 2012-2013. Now it is the only one project sanctioned in Uttrakhand by the government of India.

Neeraj Joshi finalized the plan within his training and now the system is really close to being in place in Uttrakhand.

What has happened between you started the project and until it is realized in 2016?
– Since 2012 we have done a lot of short term activities like an awareness campaign among citizen, school children and other stake holders. At the same time a pilot project started in early 2013 with door to door collection of waste in six wards, which in reality includes 6 000 families.

Now Neeraj´s plan for Solid Waste Management is ready to be implemented. The government of India has sanctioned 348 million rupees and released 174 million rupees. For the project four hectares of forest land was required for compost plant and other activities. After the sanction of the land, a tender process started in April 2015. The project will be a public-private-partnership model and the project will completed in October 2016.

One offspring to the project is the underground waste bin system in Haldwani, an inspiration Neeraj picked up while taking part of the programme in Sweden. He saw the system where waste is placed in easy accessible containers above ground, and then transported underground, and was thrilled. As a trained agent for change, Neeraj instantly added this possibility to his project plan.

– It is now linked with my project of SWM, Clean Haldwani and Green Haldwani. The Municipal Corporation has installed six underground waste bins, each of a capacity of three cubic meters in six spots. Now these spots of Haldwani are looking clean and nice!

Have you experienced any positive results that you did not foresee when starting the programme?
– Yes definitely. Before the ITP Training my project only aimed for Haldwani City, but when I went to Sweden and saw the Malmö Recycling plant in which 14 municipalities were linked, I took a discussion with my administrator and sent a revised DPR for a cluster approach in which five nearby towns are included and the compost plant will be in Haldwani. Now it is the only one project sanctioned in Uttrakhand by government of India.

The Minister of Urban Development suggested in a meeting of mayors that the Swedish underground waste management system, which Haldwani now has introduced, should also be introduced in every municipality in Uttrakhand.

– Appreciation is always a booster for me and after ITP training I have organized several meetings with schools, businessmen, communities, hospitals and hotel associations.

Can you say anything special about the gender perspective of your project?
– After the ICLD training I really got my eyes on the gender perspective in all occasions. In every meeting of the Haldwani Municipal Corporation I now see how many women are taking part in raising their issue and I motivate them to raise their issue without hesitation. Now I always see the role of gender in every scheme, programme and issue.

There are 33000 families in Haldwani. Especially women are engaged in disposal of house waste. To implement the programme through awareness, we have appointed 25 women as community mobilizers. In the Municipal Corporation there are 12 women and 28 men out of 40 councilors, and the women can really make difference in this project.

Neeraj Joshi thinks the quite long duration of the training programme, 18 months, is essential for sustainable learning. It takes time to adjust to a new environment and to build a relationship with the mentor and the other participants. And the sharing of knowledge through interaction, group discussions, presentations and study visits also takes time.

“On the occasion of inauguration of National Sanitation Campaign, Mrs Indira Hyradesh, Finance Minister of Uttrakhand in India, said to the public: Neeraj went to Sweden and what he learnt there he introduced in Haldwani. And now we all support one of the best management system for Clean Haldwani – Green Haldwani.”

It´s been a while since you took the training. Are you still in touch with any of the other participants?
– Yes, I am still in touch with most of the other participants through e-mail and Facebook. We continue to give each other appreciation. That encourages me to work on!

What are your most important abilities as a change agent, Neeraj?
– My most important abilities as a change agent are my efforts of full dedication to prepare DPR and implement the project. I have convinced people of Haldwani, our employees, administrators, mayor, councilors, state government and central government. After getting energy during the course of the ICLD training, I finally presented the project of solid waste management for sanction in Government of India in March 2014. And it was sanctioned and has released first instalment! Now Haldwani City became the first city to introduce this system successfully in state of Uttrakhand and even in India.