Delhi was rated as the 24th dirtiest city in the world with the filthy waters of the Yamuna and its unhealthy surrounding being cited as one of the chief factors. Mayor Arti Mehra, however, was not convinced.
“We will write to the magazine and ascertain what criteria they have based their report on and then determine its authenticity,’’ said Mehra.
“Delhi has a massive population, with millions living in slums and unauthorised areas. The task of sanitising such areas is a mammoth task. We are dealing with huge zones here and it takes time.” Although admitting that certain areas needed improvement, Mehra asserted that large areas of the city, especially central and south Delhi, were quite clean.
The Forbes report, dated February 22, 2008, consults Mercer’s Health and Sanitation Rankings, 2007. As part of their Quality of Life report, 2007, Mercer ranks cities based on levels of air pollution, waste management, water potability, hospital supplies, medical services and the presence of infectious diseases.
Delhi scored a depressing 46.6 on the health and sanitation index while the most polluted city, Baku in Azerbaijan, scored 27.6.
“I don’t listen to Forbes, I listen to the public, and the feedback is that sanitation levels have improved considerably in the past few months,’’ Mehra said. She reiterated that rigorous measures were being taken to ensure that Delhi became a zero garbage zone. These measures included door-to-door collection of garbage in order to eliminate dhalaos, night sweeping and door-to-door segregation of garbage. New sanitary landfill sites are also being started.
MCD standing committee chairman Vijender Gupta said that the problem was largely due to a “multiplicity of authority” in the matter. “While drainage maintenance is under MCD, sewerage is under Delhi Jal Board (DJB),” said Gupta. “Our drains our mainly rainwater drains and the contamination of water in them is largely a failure on the part of DJB.”
Speaking on ways that MCD could help control the spread of water-borne diseases, Gupta suggested that the civic agency consider the distribution of chlorine to disinfect water and also launch public awareness campaigns.
Meanwhile, Congress councillors held that the BJP had been unsuccessful in cleaning up the city despite huge amounts of money spent.
Source: The Times of India