India’s cleanest. Indore’s secret sauce

The government’s Swachh Survekshan report for 2018 was recently released where Indore was found to be the cleanest city in India for the second time in a row. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on his visit to Indore has also congratulated the city.

Indore has come a long way since 2014 when it ranked 149. So, what changed in 3 years that propelled the city to the top position for two years straight, you might ask. The secret sauce, as it turns out, is actually quite simple. It is built around cleanliness in the city as a key objective for the municipal body and pushing for a change in consumer behaviour overall. In fact, the pride, and willingness to adjust that the people have exhibited is so remarkable that one has no doubt that this is a city that will probably cope best with upcoming requirements, be it a ban on plastics or water conservation.  Indore offers a great example in civic pride. But let’s get down to specifics too.

Waste Segregation & Collection Around The City

Indore literally trashed its old waste collection system by introducing a waste segregation cum collection system. Instead of residents throwing away their garbage into government provided bins, the segregated garbage is collected door-to-door. The dry and wet waste are segregated by people before they hand the trash over to the municipal workers, who collect the waste from their doorsteps at given times. This system has ensured that each individual keep their area (be it their house, office or a public space) clean, as the door-to-door system not only requires an individual to segregate his/her waste but also ensures that they dispose of it in a proper manner as the government no longer provides any bins.

Beating Open Defecation

Indore with the help of the NGO Basix deployed what they call the “Dabba gang”. The mission of the gang was to head out every morning and stop people from defecating out in the open and educate him or her about the importance of using public/private toilets. Moreover, the team identified 128 open defecation spots and did a survey of households to understand the needs of the community. Over 10,000 toilets were subsequently constructed. As a result of their efforts, the incidents of malaria and dengue have drastically fallen around the city.

Composting Waste

The residents of Indore are becoming more independent in their garbage disposal ways, with many localities making compost out their wet waste. One such example is of Lokmanya Nagar where over 750 families live and are into the business of making compost from terracotta pots. Currently, more than 700 composting units are working across the city of Indore.

Awareness Among Citizens

The changes in Indore did not happen overnight, people were hesitant and reluctant to change at first and that includes both the municipal workers as well as the general population. However, with strict protocols laid down for workers as well as the general population, along with the municipals constant education and provision of basic amenities, the city of Indore soon changed its ways and became a model city. The citizens of Indore are now so conscious of their ways, that a lot of them have taken to carrying a bag in their vehicles, which enables them to collect the trash they produce throughout the day and dispose of it in a proper way at the end of their day. Indore lays great emphasis on including children as a part of their cleanliness drives and have student ambassadors who make up their respective school’s cleanliness committees. Reports came in of cases where an eighth pledge was added at the end of a traditional Hindu wedding ritual, “the pledge of cleanliness” and dustbins are distributed at the end of wedding ceremonies.

New & Improved Garbage Trucks

Indore Municipal Corporation utilizes vehicles of 3.3 cubic meter capacities, whereas the rest of the country uses 1.8 cubic meter capacity vehicles.

These trucks have separate compartments for dry and wet waste and can cover up to 1000 houses as compared to the normal trucks, which can only cover about 300 homes.






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