Every day, about one lakh people visit this sprawling market complex that spans 300 acres. However, they have little choice but to carefully navigate vegetable-waste strewn roads

Koyambedu market — the source of health giving vegetables for the city — may well showcase what’s wrong with our city when it comes to how we treat organic waste that can be easily recycled. The market generates some 150 tonnes of organic waste every day that gets mixed and dumped with the plastic and inert material at dumpyards. And, not all the waste generated every day is cleared, littering the market with eyesores and leading to foul smell.

Every day, about one lakh people visit this sprawling market complex that sprawls 300 acres. However, they have little choice but to carefully navigate vegetable-waste strewn roads.

Traders said that only 70-80 per cent of the garbage generated by over 3,000 shops is cleared. The rest of it gathers and rots, sometimes for days. S. Chandran, a wholesale merchant, said that there was a dire shortage of garbage bins. Traders had been instructed to dump garbage in the service lane but rather than the sales area but could not do so due to encroachments, he said. “Unauthorised hawkers are also major culprits when it comes to dumping garbage,” he added.

Many of the traders alleged that Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, the private agency engaged for solid waste management, did not have enough workers on the ground. However, sources with the agency denied the allegation and said that nearly 230 workers collected garbage and cleaned the road in two shifts of 12 hours each. “The shortage of manpower is only felt during the rainy season when workers have to clear stagnant rainwater along with regular garbage,” an official added. He also alleged that bins had been provided two years ago but were not put to use.

Attempts to reduce the burden of waste have not really succeeded. A bio-methanation plant that would generate 2,500 units of electricity from 30 tonnes of vegetable waste is lying unused due to damages to the equipment. Similarly, an acre of land near the flower market was assigned for a compost yard but the project did not take off.

Sources in the Market Management Committee said the proposal to create compost yard was yet to take off due to opposition from a section of traders about the stench. Currently, all the garbage is now being taken to Perungudi dumpyard.

The MMC is scrutinising the proposal submitted by Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited and once it is implemented, the volume of garbage sent to Corporation’s dump yard would be reduced by at least 40 per cent.

Trash statistics

5,000 tonnes of waste are generated in Chennai every day

1) Biodegradable waste - 47%

a) Green waste - 32%

b) Food waste - 8%

c) Wood - 7%

2) Inert material - 34 %

3) Plastic waste - 6.98 %

4) Rags - 3.1 %

5) Miscellaneous waste - 8.02%

My Chennai My Right, an inititative by The Hindu

Send us pictures of extreme instances of garbage affecting normal life in Chennai.

We would also like to hear about what you are doing to manage waste

Email us at myright@thehindu.co.in

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