A 3-member delegation from Albacete, Spain, visited the bustling hill station city of Gangtok in Sikkim, India, from 18th to 20th May 2022. The delegation included,
- Mr Carlos Manuel Rubio Caravaca, Technical Manager at Valoriza Environmental Services and Waste Management
- Mr Juan Carlos Sánchez Tébar, Technical Manager for Health Environment at Municipality of Albacete
- Mr Angel Manuel Prieto Sotos, General Manager at Business Innovation Center of Albacete (Municipality of Albacete)
Accompanied by Mr Ashish Verma, Urban Development Manager, IURC Asia & Australasia, the delegation overcame the various weather challenges of reaching this city nestled within higher Himalayan peaks to exchange best practices and knowledge in solid waste management. During the visit, the delegation was exposed to the various solid waste management practices in the city of Gangtok, the key challenges they are facing with regards to sources segregation, collection efficiency and capacity of municipal staff, local NGOs and citizens. In the meeting with Gangtok’s Hon. Mayor, Hon. Municipal Commissioner, elected councillors and technical staff, discussions were held on potential solutions such as plastic waste management, use of clean fuels, at-source waste reduction, improvement of drainage systems, adaptation to newer technologies as well as the feasibility of adapting suitable solutions for the city.
The two cities signed a letter of intent as an indication of their cooperation, established through the IURC programme. In a brainstorming session with the core team of the programme, the urban cooperation action was finalised where it was decided to focus on supporting the implementation of Information Education Communication (IEC) activities on waste management in a selected neighbourhood and school.
Through the cooperation project, the concerned team will identify the selected target groups such as representatives from specific neighbourhoods and schools in the city to deliver focused training program on source segregation, disposal and other best practices. These target groups will act as flag bearers and will be responsible to educate the larger public on the same issues so that a larger outreach of the pilot activity may be ensured for the benefit of citizens. Through this support project, the concerned team from Gangtok Municipal Corporation will try and instil the culture of adopting certain best practices regarding waste management at the level of municipal activities so that a positive outcome could be demonstrated by the end of the support project. Following activities will be performed:
- Organization and delivery of a training programme on Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities for the selected target groups in the city
- Documentation of approach, methodology and results to replicate the relevant Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities on a city-wide scale by GMC
The cities had a lot to exchange from its best practices on collection, transfer and disposal of solid waste and this exchange visit gave them an opportunity to physically meet each other and gain a hands-on experience of the issues that Gangtok is facing and discuss potential solutions which can be implemented in a phased manner. Looking forward to the exchange visit of Gangtok to Albacete in the month of September 2022, which can further enhance the learning between these urban peers.