Litter fines: UP govt to bring new legislation

The Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh is all set to bring a legislation stipulating spot fines for those who litter streets or public places and impose “user fees” to be paid by waste generators like households and markets. This fee would be paid to Nagar Nigam for waste collection. A senior official said here today new legislation would be extension of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 announced by the Centre.

“The rules emphasise on keeping cities clean. No one would be allowed to spit or litter the roads. The waste generators – both domestic and institutional – will have to pay user fees to local authorities that collect garbage,” the official said. "The quantum of user fees and spot fines will have to be decided by local bodies," he said.

The Lucknow Nagar Nigam has already ordered penalty for people spitting or urinating in public places. Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma said Nagar Nigam has already avowed to keep city clean. “The state government has woken up late,” he said.

The rules say that street food vendors, housing societies, political rallies and even wedding organisers should take steps for appropriate disposal of the wastes they generate. No person should throw, burn or bury solid waste generated by him on streets, open public spaces, or in the drain, or water bodies. The rules require manufacturers or brand owners of diapers and sanitary napkins to provide pouches or wrappers for disposal of such products, and to educate the public about wrapping used diapers or napkins.

The new rules call on state urban development departments to identify suitable sites for recycling and disposing of waste. They also nudge the states to ensure that housing, commercial and institutional areas exceeding 5,000 square metres earmark a spot within their premises for segregation and storage of solid waste. Incidentally, some of these rules already exist but these are seldom enforced. One of the clause of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 says segregation of waste into bio-degradable and non-biodegradable content. This project was started in Lucknow almost three years back as pilot project in which segregated waste was collected. Slowly this project died its natural death. JNNURM solid waste disposal project was launched in 23 districts of UP. In 2011, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had even declared Kanpur as first district for waste disposal project and awarded Rs 3 lakh to the Nagar Nigam. But, this project also died a silent death.

“Rules are fine but it needs to be implemented in letter and in spirit. In UP, 9 out of 10 people spit on the roads and six out of 10 throw masala sachets on sidewalks. Can anyone ask them to dispose these sachets in dustbins,” Dr SP Pandey of Pt Govind Ballabh Institute of Studies in Rural Development, said. “This is a huge challenge for district and local authorities to implement them,” he said.

“There is a law banning smoking at public places but you can see people smoking at public places and even at bus stands and railway stations. How many of these offenders have been arrested ?” he ask

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