BBMP aims for Water Plus ranking under Swachh Survekshan 2021

Civic body has begun coordinating with BWSSB, but officials say task is challenging

After bagging the ODF++ (open defecation free) certification, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is gunning for the Water Plus certification under Swachh Survekshan 2021.

This certification is given to cities that have achieved safe, sustainable sanitation for all by ensuring that no untreated wastewater is discharged into the open environment, apart from ensuring adequate capacity of wastewater and sewage treatment facilities.

For this, the civic body has already begun coordinating with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), but officials acknowledged the enormity of the task.

BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep told The Hindu that the Water Plus certification carries more weightage. “We have already achieved ODF++. We now want to attempt this certification, though it is a steep target,” he said.

He added that to get the Water Plus certification, the city must have 100% connection to the sewage network, apart from using the treated water to some extent. The certification, he said, focuses on water conservation and sanitation.

With this aim, the civic body hopes to improve its Swachh ranking, which has been consistently low over the past few years . Despite the ODF++ certification, the BBMP’s ranking was a low 214 last year. This time, however, Bengaluru’s ranking is expected to improve, given that the new garbage tenders are in place and segregation levels have seen some improvement.

Admitting that the Swachh Survekshan norms are stringent, Mr. Randeep said that the BBMP had been bringing in systemic changes and the situation on the ground has been improving year on year. He, however, admitted that this did not mean that there were no black spots. “There still is a lot of scope for improvement,” he said.

Citizens’ feedback is another area where the BBMP has been losing points. “We have fared very poorly in terms of citizen engagement, despite various awareness initiatives. We are yet to initiate these programmes this year due to COVID-19,” he said and added that the civic body will launch more social media campaigns this year.

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