Experts bat for sustainable practices for mobility, waste, and water management

Kochi hosts meet on Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development under India-EU Urban Partnership Programme

Kochi hosts meet on Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development under India-EU Urban Partnership Programme

The Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) policy has become a catchword in Portugal, thanks to its efficacy in tackling garbage menace.

In this initiative that was rolled out five years ago, people pay in proportion to the waste that they generate. This in turn acts as an incentive for lessening the quantum of waste that each household produces. It encourages people to lessen consumption and to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, said Helena Lopes, Advisor of the board administration of Maiambiente, an agency which is spearheading the drive to lessen waste adhering to scientific principles in waste management.

The motto that has been adopted is, “The more you pollute, the more you pay.”

Neelabh Singh, team leader of the India-EU Urban Partnership Programme
| Photo Credit: John L. Paul

In this, waste materials such as plastic, glass, and paper are sorted at source and sent for recycling. The biodegradable waste is converted into compost and used for agriculture, while the rest of the materials, including medical waste, are sent to incinerators from which energy is produced. This tremendously lessens the environmental damage that waste and waste treatment creates, she said on the sidelines of a two-day workshop on Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development, hosted under the banner of India-EU Urban Partnership Programme that began here on Wednesday.

Smart, sustainable cities

The team leader of the partnership project, Neelabh Singh spoke of how emphasis had been laid on solid-waste management, metropolitan planning, sustainable mobility, and urban water management, for which stakeholders work in tandem with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MoHUA).

The three-year joint initiative was extended by six months owing to the pandemic and will conclude in June 2023. Kochi has been among the 10 cities with which the European Union (EU) nations have been partnering in India.

“A five-day workshop was held here in 2020 on developing smart, sustainable and resilient cities. Experts from five European countries — Denmark, Finland, France, Portugal, and Italy — are attending the ongoing workshop here. While sharing experiences of sustainable models they will also learn from projects like the Water Metro that are unique to Kochi,” Mr. Singh said.

The emphasis ought to be on capacity building — management, operation and maintenance of waste management, mobility and other projects. The need for behavioural change of end users too is important. For example, metro rail systems in the country are clean, and none spits or litters the trains and stations. The attitude of the same set of passengers changes once they venture into the road. Technical collaboration must go hand-in-hand with sustainable financing models wherein Kochi’s money is used for Kochi’s benefit, rather than seek external help, he added.

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