The administrator of Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) said during a recent sensitisation workshop that Dimapur city alone generates about 84 metric tonnes of waste daily, which translates to 30,660 metric tonnes a year. He also lamented that waste, especially plastic items keep piling up. But this is not surprising as Dimapur is back to old ways after the much-hyped cleanliness drive that was held ahead of the Gandhi Jayanti. Residents of the city have started littering the streets once again and dumping areas swell up with waste just hours after the DMC sanitation workers clear it in the morning. It has also been a while since the government of Nagaland had banned single-use plastic in the state but many business establishments still use it extensively, though a few have fallen in line with the directive. Government directives have no effect on the people of Dimapur, so too awareness programmes and cleanliness drives. The commercial hub of the state is in such a hapless condition. Not much improvement has been seen in terms of cleanliness since it featured in the list of India’s dirtiest cities with population ranging from one to 10 lakh, as per the Swachh Survekshan 2020 (Cleanliness Survey 2020).
Of late, Dimapur-based civil society organisations have been highlighting the grievances, including traffic issue, pothole-ridden roads and parking congestion faced by the people of the city. These issues are no doubt causing much inconvenience to the public and the state government should seriously look into it. In the meantime, it is also a known fact that much of the issues are a consequence of not holding urban local bodies election in the state since 2004. The already cash-strapped state has been deprived of central funds meant for urban welfare. Several issues, including sanitation will keep haunting urban areas, especially Dimapur till the ULBs are in place. In the meantime, people should change their mindset and co-operate with the authorities if they want a cleaner and better Dimapur. While the DMC should enhance door-to-door garbage collection, the public should play its part in keeping the city clean. People should know that waste issue won’t be effectively solved unless they practice proper segregation of waste– dry (plastics, metals, glass, paper), wet and electronics, etc. – before handing over to collectors. Unsegregated mixed waste will end up at dumpsites and landfills instead of processing and recycling plants, thus contaminating the groundwater, soil, air, and environment. Without civic sense, segregating of waste at source and scientific waste treatment plants, it will be impossible to clean the dirty face of Dimapur.