Using scientific methods of disposal, Panapakkam earns on an average Rs 4,200 per month from sale of waste

Accumulating garbage and the failure of the local bodies to safely dispose it are proving to be a major environmental problem. There are scientific ways of safe disposal and the option of earning revenue from waste. Town panchayats in Vellore district have shown the way in scientific solid waste management (SWM).

Following the lead taken by Sholinghur Town Panchayat in establishing a SWM centre and the first and only Liquid Waste Management Centre in the entire district in 2007, Panapakkam Town Panchayat established a SWM Centre in 2007-08 under funds from the 12th Finance Commission.

The centre carries out SWM in a systematic manner. After collecting waste from the houses and shops, the biodegradable waste is composted in seven tubs, and converted into compost after 50 days. The waste from the 2,750 households and 113 shops are collected mostly in a segregated form at the source through 12 push carts, three tricycles and one power tiller in the primary collection stage, and through one tractor and one truck in the secondary collection stage and taken to the SWM Centre, where the biodegradable waste is composted using cow dung.

A major portion of the composted waste is sold as natural manure after retaining some for own use in the garden developed in the SWM Centre itself.

Some of the wastes are converted into vermin-compost and the remaining as egg shell compost.

The non-biodegradable waste is segregated into 27 different materials such as ice cream cups, footwear, coconut shells, paper packs, glass bottles, water bottles, egg shells, paper, cassettes, tins, iron scrap, stainless steel scrap, aluminium scrap, mica, oil covers, water packets, brown hardboard, PVC plastic and original plastic and sold for recycling.

P. Sankar, Collector of Vellore, accompanied by reporters, visited the SWM Centres in Panapakkam and Sholinghur. A sum of Rs. 103 crore has been allotted to Vellore district for taking up various works under the Integrated Urban Development Mission (IUDM) in the past two years, he said.

Of this, Rs. 12.78 crore had been allotted to town panchayats alone for the purpose of implementing SWM works, which included purchase of garbage vehicles such as push carts, tricycles, tractors and trucks.

The SWM has been implemented in Panapakkam Town Panchayat at a cost of about Rs. 33 lakh, of which Rs. 8.05 lakh has been spent on purchasing one mini truck and 12 push carts. The town panchayat has earned Rs. 31,718 through sale of waste during 2012-13.

This included about Rs. 26,500 from sale of non-biodegradable waste alone.

In 2013-14, the town panchayat has earned Rs. 12,719 from sale of waste during the months of April, May and June, averaging Rs. 4,239 per month.

Objective achieved

“More than making profits out of this venture, the project has achieved the objective of safe disposal of the waste, which is far more important,” the Collector said.

S.M. Malayaman Thirumudigari, Assistant Director of Town Panchayats, Vellore Region, said that 1100 kg of garbage per day is generated in the Panapakkam Town Panchayat.

The work of collecting the garbage, segregating and composting the waste is done with the help of 10 employees of the town panchayat and 22 members of a women’s self-help group engaged by the local body.

Ganesh, Executive Officer of the town panchayat said the local body paid a salary of Rs. 59,000 per month to the SHG members.

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