Society

Burning of garden waste, a loss of resource

With no proper system to collect garden waste in Chennai, residents continue to burn dry leaves and twigs in whatever space available. Photo: Deepa H. Ramakrishnan   | Photo Credit: Deepa H_ Ramakrishnan

Once a week V. Kausalya, who works as a domestic help, sweeps up the dry leaves and twigs that have fallen from the 11 trees at her employer’s place in Mettukuppam, and burns them.

“If I don’t sweep away the leaves, there will be too many mosquitoes at night. Only after I burn the dry waste, does it become bearable,” she says.

With no proper system to collect garden waste in Chennai, residents continue to burn dry leaves and twigs in whatever space available. This practice is common in the expanded areas of the Chennai Corporation where there are several individual houses.

“Depending on the volume of leaves, I either compost or burn them,” says N. Muthukumar, a resident of Neelankarai.

When it comes to pruning of trees, many residents say they pay up to Rs. 2,000 to clear the branches and leaves.

“I have six trees that are pruned every six months. Last time, I paid Rs. 2,000 to the person who cut the big branches. He paid Rs. 700 to Corporation workers who cleared away the branches,” says Arun Divakaran of R.A. Puram.

Ecologist Sultan Ahmed Ismail says burning of garden waste produces a lot of smoke, dust and ash and can cause respiratory distress, especially to those with pulmonary problems. “These problems apart, they are also wasting a resource. The government must make composting mandatory,” he says.

Sources at the Chennai Corporation say, at present, green waste from roads is disposed off in landfill sites.

“The respective zonal officer can be contacted if the volume of waste to be collected is large. Ramky Enviro Engineers has separate vehicles to collect garden waste in three zones,” says the official.

The company collects around 75 tonnes of garden waste every day.

However, things are set to change soon.

The Corporation will make it mandatory for the new agency that will collect solid waste from Ambattur, Valsaravakkam, Perungudi and Sholinganallur zones to have a separate collection system and processing facility for garden waste.

“Land has been allotted in Minjur and Kuthambakkam for such facilities,” says the civic body official.


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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 11:06:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/burning-of-garden-waste-a-loss-of-resource/article6535630.ece

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