Why is the city dirty

Lack of civic sense

Mumbaikars litter, spit and urinate in public. The civic administration collects fines up to Rs 10 lakh a month through clean-up marshalls, citizens are also fined for throwing garbage, dumping debris and bio-medical waste, bathing and defecating in public, feeding animals and birds in non-designated areas, washing clothes in non-designated areas, but this seems to have done little to discourage them.


With massive construction activity across the city, almost 2,700 metric tonnes (12 per cent of total waste) of debris is generated daily. Civic officials admit disposing of such waste is a major challenge as it has to be carted over long distances, which increases transportation cost making it an unviable business. Dumping grounds are averse to receiving such waste as it takes up a lot of space. Failure to ensure builders and residents who generate such waste dispose it of in the right manner has led to dirty roads and coastlines.


With an estimated 60 per cent of the city population living in slums, absence of essential services is creating huge pressure on infrastructure. Lack of basic amenities and services such as garbage and sewage disposal in slums leads to accumulation of waste that later spills onto roads.

The BMC development plan that maps land use and decides services and infrastructure has not included slums so far. While BMC collects garbage regularly from residential societies, it has failed to devise a garbage collection system for slums.

'Wet and dry segregation is such a waste of time' mentality

This has been a perennial problem. Raj Kumar Sharma, president of a Chembur-based ALM and a local activist, says, "One reason why Mumbai is dirty is no law to ensure a clean city has been successfully implemented. While rules to segregate dry and wet waste have been in effect since 2000, a majority of residential societies do not follow them on a daily basis."

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