‘Improper handling of urban solid waste to blame’

The improper handling of urban solid waste by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is resulting in pollution of atmosphere, surface and groundwater, apart from posing a threat of fire hazard and spread of diseases, a study by Geo-Engineering Department of Andhra University has revealed.

The clogged water drains have become breeding ground for disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes, making citizens vulnerable to diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya, among others.

Further, the drains and rivulets have been converted into open sewerage channels, and these unlined sewage channels are leading to pollution of groundwater and accelerating the spread of communicable diseases.

The solid waste that is not segregated is dumped in a landfill that is well within the city limits. While the regulations are clear that landfill waste disposal sites must not be near water bodies, solid waste being collected from all the six zones in the city is disposed at Kapulauppada landfill site on the beach road.

A team, headed by Head of Geo-Engineering and Centre for Remote Sensing, Andhra University, P. Jagadeeswara Rao, undertook a study of 545 square kilometre area for identifying scientifically suitable alternative landfill sites for Municipal Solid Waste Management with the help of geospatial technology.

The suggested landfill s ites include Kotta Talarivanipalem, Pydivada Agraharam, Mindivanipalem, Ramayogi Agraharam, Yedurivanipalem, Denduru, and Manthripalem.

GVMC Commissioner M.V. Satyanarayana told The Hindu that an alternative site for solid waste disposal was under consideration at Anandapuram and a 800-acre plot had been identified.

Projects like conversion of garbage into energy are in experimental stages in other municipal corporations, including Madurai. The GVMC, on its part, was taking several measures for effective solid waste management to transform the city into a healthy city, he said.

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