NDMCs cash-for-trash fails as contractors unable to empty containers
Though inaugurated with a lot of fanfare by senior BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi as well as then union minister M Venkaiah Naidu in late 2016, several cashfor-trash kiosks installed by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) have already gone kaput. When Mail Today on Thursday visited the seven reverse vending machines (RVMs) set up in Connaught Place, it found four were inoperative. These devices, belonging to startup EcoMaxGo, were supposed to dispense money when fed glass bottles (`2), plastic bottles (`1), aluminum cans (50 paise) as well as paper cups and wrappers (20 paise).
These were touted as a great environmental solution, doling out money to people for segregating their recyclable waste from green compostable garbage.
However, the machines worth several lakh rupees present a sorry picture now with CP shopkeepers, visitors and tourists using them only as dustbins. Madhuresh Singh, innovator of the EcoMaxGo RVM, said, "The issue is with a licence that was to be given to trucks of our recycle contractor who comes from Dwarka. With that being delayed by the civic body and then Delhi traffic police, we are stuck."
A senior officer of NDMC, though, said, "The licence has been cleared from our end. We are also hopeful that the machines will become functional soon." The RVMs, which municipal officers said cost about Rs 3-6 lakh each, have insertion slots for different types of waste, sensors, display monitors giving instructions and they would dispense cash through an e-wallet called Maxpay. "It has been over one month that this machine is not functioning," said Prem, who has a small paan shop near an RVM in E Block. "It is full of trash from inside. It was probably cleaned only once since installation. A guard was appointed by the company to stand alongside the RVM 24x7 and educate people on how to use it. But I don't think the guard himself knew much." At the RVM mounted in D Block, former guard Rajender said, "These machines are now being vandalised by miscreants. Chewing gum has been stuck to the body of the machine in many places. I removed a big jhadoo (broom) from inside it sometime back. Passersby keep spitting near it and there are red stains on it." The display screens on these machines are now covered with advertisements and cardboards with "out of order" scribbled on some.
The other start-up, with its RVM brand name Zeleno, and which runs three machines in Palika Bazar, E and F Blocks, is doing brisk business. Though the kiosks do not receive glass bottles, cups or wrappers, they claim to have received 19,422 PET plastic bottles since installation in December. Delhi generates about 9,600 Metric Tonnes of waste daily.
The east, north and south Delhi municipal corporations, with population of 35-40 lakhs each, produce about 2,500-3,000 Metric Tonnes of trash respectively, per day. In comparison, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area, catering to a small population of 2.5 lakh only, is believed to produce up to 270 MT a day.