City streets littered with garbage greet early morning walkers. The stench is overpowering, the sight revolting.
The Madurai Corporation now proposes to introduce the new system of garbage removal by night. To begin with, it will be implemented in places such as bus stands, railway stations and market places where public movement is high during the day.
Presently, conservancy workers clear the garbage every morning. They transport the waste on a fleet of Corporation vehicles that head to the main garbage dump at Vellaikkal near Avaniapuram.
The idea of garbage clearance at night was mooted by a woman councillor J.N. Jeyageetha (ward 74) at a recent meeting. “In the morning, there are traffic snarls. Since the garbage collection vehicles and school buses arrive almost at the same time, the public is inconvenienced,” she said.
Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa was receptive to the councillor’s suggestion. “This is a valid point and, to begin with, we will start implementing it in certain locations,” he had said.
For a city that generates 600 tonnes of waste a day in 100 wards, the garbage disposal system assumes importance. According to City Engineer A. Mathuram, the Corporation deploys 130 garbage removal vehicles and 3,500 conservancy workers daily between 7.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.
“First, we have to change the mindset of the people about when to dispose of their household waste. We have chosen to do the night clearing work between 10 p.m. and 4 p.m. If it is successful, we will extend the practice to other parts of the city,” he told The Hindu on Wednesday. “Throwing waste in public places occurs more often in places such as Mahaboobpalayam and Arapalayam. We have installed 1,100 stainless steel dumper bins across the city. I appeal to the public to throw the waste into these bins,” the Chief Engineer said.
At the Vellaikkal waste processing unit, a private company, which has been given the contract, processes the waste and converts it into manure. The non-recyclable plastic waste is sent to a scientific refill located on-site. Welcoming the idea of clearing garbage at night, S. Kalyanasundaram of the Corporation Garbage Drivers’ Association, said the corporation drivers would extend their full cooperation to the new arrangement.
According to the Corporation engineering section, complaints of water contamination and blockage of channels have stopped ever since a strict ban on plastic was imposed.