Plan comes in the aftermath of residents opposing localised compost yards, fearing stench

With Chennai Corporation’s plan to set up compost yards near residential localities and in parks facing stiff resistance from residents, the civic body proposes to install small bio-methanation plants that will power lights.

“The idea is to get residents to see how the garbage from their homes lights up streetlights in the area. This will encourage them to segregate garbage at home. We will also utilise waste from local hotels,” said an official in Chennai Corporation.

As a pilot project, two plants would be installed at the Villivakkam slaughterhouse and the garbage transfer station for Royapuram zone.

“These will be set up in about three months,” he added.

The bio-methanation plants will be fuelled with vegetable and food waste and will emit methane. The gas will be captured and used to generate power. The by-product, slurry, can be used as manure.

The plan comes in the aftermath of residents opposing localised compost yards, fearing the possibility that they may generate a stench. “In one instance, a portion of land had been earmarked in a park for a compost pit but residents were adamantly against it and even locked up the place,” the official added.

A recent survey among city residents by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) found that at least 49 per cent of those interviewed were unwilling to segregate waste.

Only 33 per cent indicated willingness to segregate their solid waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components. Twenty three per cent of the respondents perceived adverse impact on health due to improper solid waste management.

Many residents cite the lack of space as the reason for not segregating garbage. For instance, Kannan, a resident of T. Nagar, said that he did not have the space to keep two bins.

Many residents also continue to see the handling of the garbage as the duty of the Corporation.

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