Chennai residents resist waste management facility in their areas


Fearing health issues, they want them shifted

Elangovan E.V. filed a complaint with the Chennai Corporation about public health issues caused by a decentralised waste management facility in a residential area of Kilpauk on December 30, 2019.

“Corporation officials closed the complaint without taking any remedial measures. The problem still persists, and the stench particularly is unbearable. We have to keep the windows and doors closed. We request the senior officials to please help,” he said.

Residents in the area have started protesting, demanding that the facility be shifted to another area, away from residential buildings. They have registered a complaint online with the Corporation, for a second time, and are awaiting an official response before Pongal.

Corporation officials have told the residents that they spent so much money on developing the facility and that it cannot be shut.

“There have been instances of health issues like fever and vomiting after the commissioning of the plant,” said Kamala Kumar, another resident.

Unit closed

V. Rajagopal, a resident of Officers’ Colony, Mogappair, said residents had stopped decentralised processing at their park, and no structure was erected after their protest. “They have closed it now,” he said.

Several residents’ associations have been opposing these plants, causing a delay in the implementation of decentralised waste management projects across the city.

Following decentralisation of waste management and a reduction in manpower of the Corporation, yet another problem — dumping of waste on vacant plots has increased, leading to public health issues.

Mugalivakkam resident K.S. Kannan said residents had started carrying waste in their vehicles and are dumping it on vacant plots at night. “Many areas do not have bins. There is no door-to-door collection. Bins have been removed. So residents dump waste on vacant plots in residential areas. It is a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes. The Corporation has warned that they will impose a fine of ₹500 on those found dumping waste in vacant plots. But there is no third eye to identify the culprits. The problem continues,” he said.

Starting April, the Corporation will directly collecting waste only from four zones — Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru.Vi.Ka Nagar and Anna Nagar. The private sector is set to play a dominant role in conservancy operations.

In addition to Corporation officials, private players, who have been empanelled for wet and dry waste management in decentralised facilities, have been unable to contribute to the reduction of waste dumped in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur.

Role of private sector

“It is only the early days. The role of private players in waste management has been promoted in the last one year and it slowly started becoming a movement. There needs to be a sustained effort, highlighting the problems caused by dumping of waste in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur. The public needs to be taught about all aspects of the project to reduce dumping in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur,” said Kern Agrawal of Carbon Loops, which has been empanelled by the Corporation for waste processing.

“We implemented the zero waste concept for a hotel chain on January 1. We pick up waste from residents in Manapakkam and compost the waste in Loyola College. We also take the city’s waste to Uthiramerur and compost it,” said Mr. Agrawal.

Corporation officials said many innovations in decentralised waste management and private sector participation would be promoted in six months. “Start-ups will revolutionise waste management in 2020. Residents’ cooperation is the key,” said an official.

This year, civic agencies are planning to strengthen the movement to rope in more private companies, who are expected to adopt appropriate technology to segregate waste and use it for industries as inputs. Other stakeholders, including ragpickers, will also be able to contribute significantly to the new system of waste management.

The Corporation has also launched solid waste collection involving private participation in more areas . Civic officials said they would make the system offer “job security” for conservancy workers to control workers’ protests.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 2:10:53 AM |

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