The Chennai Corporation, in several wards, has begun fining residents who litter roads. Officials have also issued notices to residents and shopkeepers who pollute neighbourhoods habitually.

“I collected Rs. 500 each from residents who threw garbage on the road. Some residents and shopkeepers opposed the move,” said a conservancy inspector in Shenoy Nagar. Junior engineers of wards have also been directed to collect a fine of Rs. 2,000 from residents who dump debris on roads.

Jeyam (name changed on request), who collects garbage from households on a tricycle and deposits them in the common bin, said, while imposing fines is a good move, it is not always easy to track offenders. “Sometimes, people dump trash such as dried branches of coconut trees near the common bin and it is hard to trace it back. But, I collect trash from residential streets and once you build a rapport, most residents are very co-operative,” he said. 

M. Manimegalai, a sweeper with the Chennai Corporation, who starts her day at 6.30 a.m. and works till 1.30 p.m. on designated streets, said her role ended with sweeping and accumulating waste such as dried leaves by the roadside.

“Some people continue to dump waste even after we have cleaned the streets. We cannot monitor them round-the-clock,” she said.

She is pleased with the Corporation’s decision to impose fines on shops that litter the streets. “If we see shops dumping waste on the roads, we can now complain. But, ever since a notification by the Corporation last week, most shops on the stretch I work have been using bins,” she said. 

(With inputs from Asha Sridhar)

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