Taking the IT route to tackle sanitation

Waste to Energy Plant comes as a boon for the citizens of Visakhapatna; city sees significant improvement in the door-to-door garbage clearance, even as some issues are yet to be taken care of

Published - December 30, 2022 01:44 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

As part of door-to-door garbage collection, a sanitary worker collecting household wastes using CLAP vehicles at Resapuvanipalem in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday..  Photo :  V RAJU / THE HINDU

VISAKHAPATNAM, ANDHRA PRADESH, 28-12-2022. As part of door-to-door garbage collection, a sanitary worker collecting household wastes using CLAP vehicles at Resapuvanipalem in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.. Photo : V RAJU / THE HINDU | Photo Credit: V RAJU

Solid Waste Management has always been a subject of debate in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). Door-to-door garbage collection, debris clearance at public places, transporting and treating it has been top priority for the civic authorities, but still a large number of complaints keep flooding the complaint desk of the corporation.

The GVMC has recently adopted the IT route to tackle the issues pertaining to sanitation. A special cell with 24 employees was constituted at the Command & Operations Centre (COC) which remotely monitors the garbage clearance from the residential colonies, and its transfer to the dumping yard. All the garbage/sanitary vehicles were fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to track their movement. There is significant improvement in the door-to-door garbage clearance. However, there are a few issues that are yet to be taken care of.

A majority of the citizens point out to the non-clearance of dumper bins in the colonies, which is leading to sanitation issues. In some areas, the overflowing dumpbins spill wastes on to the road. Stray dogs pull out the wastes adding to the unhygienic conditions. Similarly, people also complain about non-clearance of drains in some areas.

“The door-to-door garbage collection has improved. The dumper bins arranged on the roads should, however, be cleared on time. Dumpbins in our locality including at Rajaka Veedhi and HB Colony are not cleared properly. There is a culture of organising weekly shandies in some areas of the city, including at HB Colony. Even after a couple of days after the shandy, the garbage dumps are not cleared,” said B.B. Ganesh, general secretary of Visakhapatnam Apartment Resident Welfare Association (VARWA)

GVMC Commissioner P. Raja Babu said there has been a significant improvement in the overall sanitary situation in the city after installing GPS to the garbage trucks and earmarking specified areas to the sanitation staff in the wards. Every day, the sanitary inspectors have to reach out to the COC and update once the garbage clearance was completed in the locality.

“The GVMC has a fleet of approximately 850 garbage collection vehicles and there is a need to monitor their movement constantly. With 600 CCTV cameras in the city, the staff in the COC monitor the garbage cleaning and sweeping activities during the nights,” he said.

Mr. Raja Babu said that a special taskforce team has been constituted in the GVMC which visits all the zones to check for garbage heaps, drain clearance and also underground drainage problems. If this plan works out, the number of teams is likely to be increased.

Mini-dumping yards being cleared

The Waste to Energy recycling plant set up at Kapuluppada has turned out to be a boon for the people. A number of mini-dumping yards which used to be in the midst of urban localities are being cleared now, as the corporation has to provide waste for the functioning of the energy plant. The garbage stocks in the mini-dumping yards at Arilova, Cheemalapalli in Pendurthi are being cleared and sent to the Waste to Energy plant.

Meanwhile, citizens point out that after collecting the garbage, the CLAP vehicles are dumping the wastes at the Mini-Sewage Farms (MSFs), for further transport to the dumping yard. Residents of Akkayyapalem, Anakapalli and One Town have been protesting against the temporary storage of the garbage at the MSFs. However, the GVMC officials say that these days, the garbage dumps are being cleared immediately.

C&D to be restored

The issue of unauthorised dumping of Construction & Demolition (C&D) wastes at various areas is yet to be addressed. With development abuzz and construction activities picking up pace, C&D wastes are being dumped by many builders at public places. The GVMC officials have proposed to identify a specific area in every zone and allot it for dumping of debris. Meanwhile, the C&D recycling plant is yet to be restored and is not functioning to its full potential.

Additional Commissioner V. Sanyasi Rao said that the plant has a capacity to recycle around 80 MT of C&D waste per day. As of now, due to some technical issues, only 15 MT waste is being recycled. “We are rectifying the problem,” he said.

W to E Plant

The WtoE recycling plant has been functioning to the fullest to generate 15 MW electricity for the last six months. However, on some days, the corporation is unable to provide the required amount of waste to the plant. While the required amount of solid waste is around 1,200 MT, on some occasions, the corporation is unable to meet the requirement of waste for recycling. An additional 200 MT of MSW is being procured from Nellimerla, Amudalavasa, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam to meet the shortage. “The plant requires 1,200 MT of waste to generate 15 MW of electricity. Only on some days, when the input is less, it generates around 10 MW,” the Jindal officials said.

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