The heart of the old city of Jammu extends from the Raj Bhawan to the Civil Secretariat and from Manda to Purani Mandi. The Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) identifies these areas as Wards numbered 1, 2, 9-A, 9-B and 10. The average number of households in each of these wards is 1350 as per the census 2011 and the average numbers of voters (adult population) is close to 6000. The residents are well to do by and large and the city aspires to turn smart in the near future. The consumption levels of its residents are significantly high compared to what they were a decade ago. And, equally high are the volumes of the urban waste the city produces. However, the infrastructure our Municipal Corporation has to remove and manage the ever growing heaps of garbage is shockingly inadequate.
The total number of garbage bins provided by the JMC for all of these wards stands at a pitiable thirteen! The capacity of each bin is a little more than two of the 2000 liter water tanks that each household typically has now a days. Moreover, the distribution of these bins over the entire area is grossly uneven. Therefore, most of the garbage gets piled up on the ground and the cityscape is rendered ugly.
Let us not, by the way, forget that we wish to be reckoned as a heritage city too. Take for instance, Ward 1 which covers the entire Panjtirthi area and the Tange Wali Gali . It has been allotted only three bins. With a population of over 6000, the garbage generated is expected to be much more than can be collected in three garbage bins.
What makes the matters worse is that one of the three bins provided is inside the Raj Bhawan Quarters. The result of such inadequate infrastructure is that heaps of urban waste keep lying in the various nooks and corners threatening the health of the residents and imparting an undesirable look to this city of temples.
The JMC would do well to increase the number of garbage bins allotted and also distribute them evenly in the area. The transportation wing of the JMC needs to gear up too. With one truck allocated for each ward, and two collection trips per day, the waste removal process leaves much to be desired. In most cases actually there is only one trip per day, and, rarely, is the entire garbage removed from the site.
This explains the constant stink one faces in the old neighbourhoods. Another aspect of the problem is the lack of sensitization of the public about waste segregation. Waste must be segregated at the point of generation as well as disposal, and, the JMC has to provide appropriately labeled garbage bins to the public and educate them regarding the different kinds of solid waste.
In this direction, campaigns must be started on the electronic as well as print media explaining to the people in general how waste food must not be mixed, for example, with the glass, plastics, chemicals or electronics and that the solid waste must never be thrown into the drains. This will go a long way in the overall waste management process apart from keeping our city clean, healthy and deservedly poised for the smart city status.