Vacant lands and waterbodies in suburbs continue to be garbage dump yards as many of the integrated solid waste management projects are yet to take off.

Though the projects were sanctioned a few years ago, several municipalities, such as Madhavaram, Kathivakkam and Ambattur struggle to implement them owing to protests from residents near the proposed site for composting.

Officials of local bodies in the western suburbs said as it was difficult for each municipality to find space for setting up compost yard, combined landfill sites were proposed. However, there was a delay in getting environmental impact clearance.

The 65-acre land to come up as a composting facility that would be shared by five local bodies — Ambattur, Poonamallee, Thiruverkadu, Valasaravakkam and Maduravoyal — was acquired in 2006.

Officials in Ambattur said even the detailed project report for the facility to compost 250 tonnes generated daily has been prepared. However, court cases and residents' protest delayed the project.

“We plan to conduct a public hearing in September after which a decision would be taken for seeking alternative site,” an official said.

Residents of Ambattur said privatisation of the garbage collection due to lack of manpower in the municipality has also failed to make an impact for the same reasons. The situation seems to be the same in many other local bodies.

Maduravoyal municipal chairman K. Shanmugham said “We can insist on source segregation only if we get space for transferring and segregating the garbage. As there are no secondary collection points, waste was being dumped in the site on Arcot Road, Valasarawakkam as the dumping at Mettukuppam burial ground was stopped due to objections from residents.”

In southern suburbs too, the local bodies' inability to implement source segregation and shortage of landfill sites have become obstacles in introducing solid waste management practices.

The proposal for a compost yard near Sholinganallur to facilitate safe disposal of garbage collected in 43 local bodies is yet to take shape, said an elected representative of Chitlapakkam town panchayat. “When the bigger local bodies struggle to find amiable solutions to this key issue, smaller local bodies are unable to come up with effective alternatives to conventional methods,” said R. Ramachandran, a resident of Kannadapalayam.

The combined landfill site, which was proposed two years ago for Tambaram, Pallavaram and Alandur municipalities at Venkatamangalam is being readied at the cost of Rs. 44.20 crore and work has been expedited to completed soon, said an official from the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department.

Officials of these local bodies expressed confidence that the mega projects would take shape in the coming months.

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